For some collectors, there is nothing like the allure of coins or
metal recovered from shipwrecks.
Such pieces are assets not for the designs or rarity of the coins
but for what happened to them after they were minted. In rare cases,
as for a highlight from Daniel Frank Sedwick LLC’s Oct. 29 auction, a
piece combines such material with further meaning.
A large silver medal from Great Britain honors the salvage of the
Nuestra Señora de la Limpia y Pura Concepción, a Spanish
treasure ship that wrecked in 1641, northeast of Hispaniola. This
piece was struck in 1687 from metal salvors recovered from the wreck’s
cargo, making it a relic medal.
The Concepción was one of the most significant Spanish wrecks
of all time, serving the Spanish with a loss of more than 100 tons of
silver and gold treasure, according to the auction house.
The Concepción was already compromised when it got caught in
a storm on the way to Europe, becoming grounded on a reef in an area
that became known as the Silver Shoals. Most of the sailors eventually
drowned or starved, but the admiral and some of the officers escaped
The wreck was lost until New England’s William Phips (or Phipps)
found it in 1687 and recovered tons of silver and some gold, to the
delight of his English backers (Phips was knighted for his efforts).
King James II and his wife, Mary, the queen, appear on the obverse
of this medal designed by engraver George Bower. A salvage scene is on
The 66.84-gram medal is toned About Uncirculated, according to the
firm, and was once in the Virgil Brand Collection.
It has an estimate of $1,500 to $2,250.