Gold bar from 1622 wreck highlights Sedwick sale
- Published: Apr 3, 2012, 8 PM
Striking a fortune — whether finding a treasure long buried at sea or merely winning a mega jackpot — is the stuff of dreamers, but the tale of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and the man who found the ship and its riches is legendary.
A gold bar recovered from the 1622 Spanish galleon Atocha by Mel Fisher and his salvors highlights Daniel Frank Sedwick’s April 10 and 11 Treasure and World Coin auction No. 11.
The complete Colombian gold bar, weighing 1,061 grams, with the markings of the Sargosa foundry and Pecarta assayer, is one of the highlights from the auction. The .8959 fine gold bar measures approximately 10.75 inches long and 0.5 inch deep, and bears no fewer than 10 tax stamps from the Atocha, as well as the clear markings for the mine and assayer.
The gold was mined at Zaragoza, Colombia, on the shores of the Rio Nechi in the province of Antioquia. Zaragoza “was one of the most prolific gold mines in the early 1600s, producing some 20 million pesos of gold from 1590 to 1645, and was represented by a caja real (royal treasury office) since 1582,” according to the sale catalog.
One end of the bar shows marks from chiseling and scooping where the assayer removed pieces of gold for testing. “Overall the bar is remarkably straight and even, very attractive and impressive,” states the lot description. It is accompanied by the photo certificate issued by Fisher and Treasure Salvors Inc. The bar has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.
The auction offers 1,524 lots of Spanish colonial and shipwreck coins and other treasure items, as well as ancient and world coins. The auction is also highlighted by the Jorge Ortiz Murias Collection of Colombian colonial minor coins in 100 lots, built over some 20 years of collecting.
Some additional highlights:
Mexico, Mexico City, 1714-J gold 8-escudo cob, Royal dies, from the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet, 27.1 grams, clearly struck from Royal dies “but also evidently struck by hand,” on a typical cob planchet with truncated legends due to planchet thickness and a trace of doubling on the shield side, “a unique hybrid of high importance,” Lot 3, fully Mint State, “choice full shield and crown and cross and date.”
Lima, Peru, 1712-M gold 8-escudo cob, 26.9 grams, from the 1715 Plate Fleet, Lot 21, “two bold dates, good full pillars-and-waves with very slight doubling, bold full cross-lions-castles, nicely orange-toned” Extremely Fine+ “with minor flat spots in legends only.”
United States of America, 1854-D Indian Head gold $3 coin, Lot 196, Professional Coin Grading Service EF-45 (old green tag).
Atocha, 1622 Potosi silver ingot, 90 pounds, 7.36 troy ounces, fineness 2380/2400, two or three faint tax stamps, two small V’s for silvermaster de Vreder, 13.5 inches long, 5.25 inches wide and 3.5 inches deep, “with original Fisher certificate,” Lot 212, “some very light surface corrosion.”
Bolivia, Potosi, original die for Pillars side of 1725-Y silver 8-real cob, Louis I, “unique and highly important,” 1,226 grams, 2.25 inches square and 2.5 inches tall, “never before have we offered a cob die, let alone one for a Louis I Royal!” and “virtually no other dies of this period exist outside of museums for comparison,” depth of detail appears “shallow” with some surface corrosion, “undoubtedly this is the normal result of a life of striking coins,” “the rest of the die appears very old and well used too, with the hammer end somewhat blunted from use and the tapering sides (squarish-octagonal in cross-section) well patinated,” Lot 806.
Colombia, Bogota, 1769-JV Pillar silver 1-real coin, one-year issue, 3.4 grams, “one of only five different Colombian pillar issues confirmed to exist,” formerly in the collections of Emilio Ortiz and Jorge Ortiz Murias, “pair of letters, P and H, either punched or engraved into the fields to the sides of the crown above the shield,” Lot 1083, “very lightly toned,” “solid” Extremely Fine.
Colombia, Bogota, Lazareto Leper Colony, 1901 brass 2.5-centavo piece, Krause-Mishler L1 (Standard Catalog of World Coins by Chester Krause and Clifford Mishler), “this denomination by far the rarest in the series, with only about 12 known,” Lot 1147, “Bold XF with crude rims (as made), tiny spots of toning. ...”
Suriname (Dutch Guyana), 1679 uniface copper 4 duit, four leaves, KM-5, mainland issue under the governorship of John Hensius, Lot 1363, Very Fine “but typically crude, darkly toned.” ¦
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