For a time the Dutch ruled the seas, their merchant vessels sailing
far and wide in the name of the kingdom.
A silver medal in Nomos Ag’s Oct. 7 auction in Zurich recalls the
sailing dominance of the Dutch and a shipwreck from that time period.
The medal is part of a broad collection of European medals from 1513
to 1788 offered in the auction.
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The medal measures 70 millimeters (about 2.75 inches) and weighs
117.19 grams, nearly 4 troy ounces. The work by an unknown engraver
celebrates the recovery of a sunken treasure ship near Westkapelle by
a team led by Marcellus van der Goes. Westkapelle is a small city in
the municipality of Veere on the island Walcheren, in the province of Zeeland.
The obverse is dated 1660 and bears an inscription translating to
“Marcel van der Goes gives honor and glory solely to God.”
Two salvage boats appear on either side of a wrecked ship; on board
the boats, crewmen use a special apparatus to raise up items within
the wreck. Beyond the foreground ship scene is a view of the city of
Westkapelle. According to Nomos, the merchant ship had sunk some years
earlier “under the command of the very appropriately named Captain Waterdrinker.”
The reverse features an inscription of 14 lines, translating to “A
memorial of how, by an admirable art, surpassing the inventions of
past centuries, under the auspices of the Deputy Councillors of
Zeeland and under the direction of Marcellus van der Goes, a great
quantity of coined and bullion silver, many precious stones and many
cannon were raised up near Walcheren, from a vessel lost, destroyed
and sunk in the sands, and then returned to their proper owners.”
The inscription appears within an olive wreath entwined with the
names and arms of the eight directors of the project.
The medal is “nicely toned and very rare,” with “some minor marks,”
but is otherwise Extremely Fine, according to the firm.
The medal has an estimate of 3,750 Swiss francs (about $3,843 U.S.).
To learn about the sale, visit the firm’s website.