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The SS Gairsoppa and the Great Silver Treasure

May 16, 2017 in Books, Coins, Collecting, Education, History, News, Numismatica, Numismatics, Opinion, Precious Metals, Ship Wrecks, Silver, Silver Coins, Treasure, Treasure Hunting, World Coins

By: Dennis Tucker News.CoinUpdate.com (Coin Update News)

In his richly illustrated new book The SS Gairsoppa and the Great Silver Treasure, Q. David Bowers explores the cultural scene and political and military developments that led up to the Second World War. Bowers, one of America’s preeminent historians, starts with the aftermath of the world conflict of 1914 to 1918. He colorfully describes the fabric of life in the United States and international events through the 1920s and 1930s. Then: the eruption of fresh hostilities in 1939 and immersion in a new global war. Ultimately Bowers’s focus is the 1941 maritime loss of a massive shipment of silver,… Full article at the source>

Source: News.CoinUpdate.com (Coin Update News)

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The Doomed Spanish Treasure Fleet of 1715

August 22, 2015 in Ancient Coins, Antique Coins, Blogs, Coins, Education, Gold, Gold Coins, History, News, Numismatica, Numismatics, Rare Coins, Ship Wrecks, Silver, Silver Coins, Spanish Coins, Treasure, Treasure Hunting, World Coins

By: Libertycoin Liberty Coin and Currency Blog

IMAGE_ 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, LLC-2

With a slight breeze riffling the water, twelve ships set sail from Havana. Eleven were bound for Spain, loaded with gold and silver. Among them were the flagship Capitana and Urca de Lima. The twelfth ship was the Griffon, a French merchant vessel that had been detained in port. Afraid that word would leak of the treasure they were carrying—making the Spanish fleet easy prey for pirates—the Spaniards brought the Griffon with them.

It was a calm and sunny day on July 24th, 1715. The fleet sailed for the Gulf Stream, avoiding Florida’s coastal reefs. Five days on, the weather turned. Full article at the source>

Source: Liberty Coin and Currency Blog

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How To Collect Type One Double Eagles

September 16, 2014 in Antique Coins, Blogs, Coins, Collecting, Education, Gold, Gold Coins, Gold Eagles, Numismatica, Numismatics, Rare Coins, Ship Wrecks, USA Coins

By Doug Winter RareGoldCoins.com (Douglas Winter Numismatics)

Type One double eagles have become the single most popular area of collecting in the rare date United States gold coin market. With the discovery of over 10,000 high grade, formerly rare issues in the S.S. Central America, S.S. Brother Jonathan, and S.S. Republic shipwrecks, Type Ones have received tremendous publicity in both the numismatic and non-numismatic press. This is clearly a design type which is destined to remain popular with a number of future Full article at the source>

Source:: RareGoldCoins.com (Douglas Winter Numismatics)

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Spain Lays Out Silver Won from U.S. Treasure-Hunters

June 14, 2014 in Antique Coins, Archaeology, Coins, Museums, News, Numismatica, Numismatics, Precious Metals, Rare Coins, Ship Wrecks, Silver, Silver Coins, Spain Coins, Treasure, Treasure Hunting, World Coins

By: Naharnet Newsdesk. June 13th, 2014. (http://www.naharnet.com/)

Spain has proudly put on show tens of thousands of silver coins from a 19th-century shipwreck that it won back in court from U.S. treasure hunters.

The country’s soon-to-be king, Felipe, and future queen Letizia on Thursday launched the exhibition in central Madrid celebrating the return of the sunken treasure to Spain.

They viewed treasures and documents that tell the story of how British warships blew up the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, sending its precious cargo to the bottom of the sea.

The highlight of the show, in the basement of Madrid’s recently reopened National Archaeological Museum, is a glass case containing heaps of more than 30,000 tarnished silver coins.

The cargo came to Spain in 2012 after a five-year legal battle with Odyssey, the U.S. company that hauled it up two centuries after it sank.

Full article at the source>

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Recovery of shipwreck gold “beyond expectations”

June 5, 2014 in Antique Coins, Coins, Gold, Gold Bullion, Gold Coins, News, Numismatica, Numismatics, Precious Metals, Rare Coins, Ship Wrecks, Treasure, Treasure Hunting, World Coins

By: Kathy Lynn Gray. June 5th, 2014. The Columbus Dispatch (http://www.dispatch.com/)

Gold and other valuables from outside the hull of the SS Central America have been retrieved, and a crew has begun bringing up nuggets, ingots and coins from inside the shipwreck, the recovery company reported yesterday. 

“Early-recovery results are well beyond our expectations,” CEO Greg Stemm told shareholders at Odyssey Marine Exploration’s annual meeting in Tampa, Fla. “Nearly every day of seafloor operations produces new discoveries and recoveries of gold in a dazzling array of different forms.”

The ship sank off the coast of South Carolina during a hurricane in 1857, taking 428 people to their deaths and leaving millions of dollars worth of personal and commercial gold on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Full article at the source>

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Silver coin found off Nassau County could be evidence of missing Spanish treasure ship

June 2, 2014 in Antique Coins, Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, History, News, Numismatica, Numismatics, Precious Metals, Ship Wrecks, Silver, Silver Coins, Spain Coins, World Coins

One silver coin does not a shipwreck make.

 

By Dan Scanlan Sun, Jun 1, 2014 (http://members.jacksonville.com)

But the recent discovery of that coin off Amelia Island could mean Doug Pope and Amelia Research and Recovery are one step closer to finding the Spanish galleon San Miguel, which Pope believes sank in August 1715 off Nassau County.

The silver reale’s recovery came as the group and its $3 million research and recovery vessel, Polly-L, searched in unusually clear water, Pope said.

“It is the right time frame and right nationality and we are trying to pick up the trail of the ship. … We are pretty positive that it is here,” he said.

Pirates as well as the Spanish, who mined gold in South America and shipped it home in vast armadas, are part of the history of Nassau County. So “who knows what’s down there” in the waters offshore, Amelia Island Museum of History Executive Director Phyllis Davis said. “We are always excited when there might be some new discovery and this was the path from Spain to South America and it is very, very possible that it is down there,” Davis said. “I know they will be very careful how they excavate it.”

Full article at the source>

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First Finders of Famous S.S. Central America Treasure Accuse Odyssey Marine of Trespassing, Ask Federal Marshals to Seize Recovered “Ship of Gold” Items

May 16, 2014 in Antique Coins, Coins, Gold, Gold Bullion, Gold Coins, History, News, Precious Metals, Press Releases, Ship Wrecks, Treasure, Treasure Hunting

For immediate release
May 16, 2014

News media contacts:

Mike Lorz. on behalf of Columbus-America Discovery Group
Office: (614) 443-1877  Cell: (614) 395-3884

Donn Pearlman, on behalf of Columbus-America Discovery Group
Phone: 702-868-5777

First Finders of Famous S.S. Central America Treasure Accuse Odyssey Marine of Trespassing, Ask Federal
Marshals to Seize Recovered “Ship of Gold” Items

(Norfolk, Virginia) — Federal court motions claiming misappropriation and trespass were filed on Thursday, May 15, 2014, against a Florida salvage company by the Ohio-based group that first discovered and recovered Gold Rush-era sunken treasure from the S.S. Central America, the fabled “Ship of Gold” that sank in 1857.

Columbus-America Discovery Group (CADG) claims that Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. is in violation of the law.  CADG is asking that U.S. Marshals immediately seize all the treasure recently salvaged by Odyssey from the Central America.  The recovered items currently are in Charleston, South Carolina, according to the court motions.

The S.S. Central America, a 278-foot long sidewheel steamer, was sailing from Panama to New York City with tons of California Gold Rush-era coins and ingots when it sank in a hurricane on September 15, 1857.  There were 447 passengers and 101 crew members; 425 of them died when the ship sank.

In addition to the human tragedy, the loss of the expected gold in New York led to the financial “Panic of 1857” that resulted in the closings of some banks and factories. A 1992 Life Magazine cover story proclaimed the recovered gold, “The greatest treasure ever found.”

During a scientific expedition in 1987, CADG originally located the wreck site in the Atlantic Ocean about 160 nautical miles off the coast of South Carolina and subsequently recovered thousands of gold coins and hundreds of gold ingots.  CADG claims it still has the exclusive rights to that site and any retrieved gold and artifacts.  CADG wants the federal court to reassert the company’s protected rights to any additional treasure found at the site.

The motions filed Thursday with the United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk, Virginia, ask that federal marshals seize the latest items and any future items recovered by Odyssey and turn them over to CADG.  The items are believed to still be on board the vessel OSV Odyssey Explorer now docked in Charleston, South Carolina, according to CADG’s court filings.

“Columbus-America Discovery Group, which has done several previously impossible feats in the deep ocean and has been sued and challenged continuously for more than 20 years, is still fighting for its right to the deep ocean shipwreck site of the SS Central America,” said Milt Butterworth, CADG President.

“We are asking the court to uphold our permanent injunction, and allow CADG to fulfill its original purpose:  to conduct multi-disciplinary research and develop sophisticated deep-ocean technology, and to locate, explore, and recover the remains of the S.S. Central America.,” Butterworth stated.

One of the court motions states: “On or about April 14th an expedition aboard the OSV ODYSSEY EXPLORER…intruded into the injuncted sea area without the Court’s knowledge and permission….”

The motion also states: “In order to protect its Court awarded rights and its maritime lien interest in any gold or artifacts recovered from the wreck of the S.S. CENTRAL AMERICA, it is imperative that CADG be authorized by the Court to have the U.S. Marshal execute a warrant in rem against these same artifacts….”

CADG claims that Recovery Limited Partnership and its contract-salvor Odyssey Marine Exploration “and any person aiding, abetting and/or assisting the violation of the rights and protections of CADG are interlopers, have engaged in acts of conversion, misappropriation of tangible and intellectual property rights, trespass, violation of CADG’s injunctive, possessor, salvage and other rights, and have violated the permanent injunction.”
###

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Gold Recovered During First Reconnaissance Dive Indicates SS Central America Has Not Been Disturbed Since 1991

May 5, 2014 in Antique Coins, Coins, Collecting, Gold, Gold Coins, Gold Eagles, History, News, Numismatica, Numismatics, Precious Metals, Press Releases, Ship Wrecks, Treasure, Treasure Hunting, USA Coins

May 5, 2014. From Oddysey Marine Exploration. (http://ir.odysseymarine.com)

Expedition to Conduct Pre-Disturbance Survey, Archaeological Excavation, Scientific Experiments and Recover Remaining Gold Now Underway

TAMPA, Fla., May 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMEX), a pioneer in the field of deep-ocean exploration, recovered nearly 1,000 ounces of gold during the first reconnaissance dive to the SS Central America shipwreck site on April 15,2014.

Recovered gold included five gold ingots and two $20 Double Eagle coins (one 1857 minted in San Francisco and one 1850 minted in Philadelphia). The gold ingots were stamped with assayer’s marks and weights that range from 96.5 to 313.5 troy ounces.

The two-hour reconnaissance dive was conducted during the transit of Odyssey’s research vessel, the Odyssey Explorer, from the United Kingdom to Charleston, South Carolina, to mobilize for the project, which is being conducted under contract with the receiver of Recovery Limited Partnership (RLP). RLP director of operations Craig Mullen and RLP chief scientist/historian Bob Evans accompanied the Odyssey team for the dive operation. Mr. Evans previously served as chief scientist, historian and later as curator for the initial Central America recovery operations conducted between 1988 and 1991.

During the dive, Odyssey’s ROV ZEUS flew over the shipwreck to assess the current condition of the site. Gold ingots and other artifacts were clearly visible on the surface of the site during the dive and no excavation was required for their removal. Given the reconnaissance purpose of the dive, only five gold ingots, two gold coins, a bottle, a piece of pottery, a sample of the shipwreck’s wooden structure, and an element of a scientific experiment that was left at the site more than 20 years ago were recovered. The positions of the recovered artifacts were documented for archaeological purposes and will be noted in the detailed site plan that is being created. The archaeological excavation of the site will be undertaken once the pre-disturbance survey provides detailed documentation of the site.

“This dive confirms for me that the site has not been disturbed since 1991, when I was last there,” said Bob Evans chief scientist/historian for RLP.

RLP director of operations Craig Mullen added, “The skill exhibited and results achieved during the initial reconnaissance dive reinforces our belief that the Odyssey team was the absolute best choice for this project. In addition to the cargo recovery operation, we plan to collect deep-ocean biological samples for Dr. Timothy Shank, a deep-ocean biologist and head of the Molecular Ecology and Evolution Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Our objective is to document and provide Dr. Shank with samples of species that have returned to the site since previous operations ended. Odyssey’s documentation capabilities will contribute significantly to scientific understanding of deep-ocean biological processes. This continues a history of supporting scientific research at the site.”

Odyssey was selected for the project by Ira Owen Kane, the court-appointed receiver who represents Recovery Limited Partnership (RLP) and Columbus Exploration LLC (CE). The contract has been approved by the Common Pleas Court of Franklin County, Ohio, which has given Mr. Kane responsibility with overseeing the recovery project.

The archaeological excavation, valuable cargo recovery and ship-board conservation will be conducted and underwritten by Odyssey on behalf of RLP. In return, Odyssey will receive 80% of recovery proceeds until a fixed mobilization fee and a negotiated day rate are paid. Thereafter, Odyssey will receive 45% of the recovery proceeds.

About the SS Central America

The SS Central America was an 85-meter (280-foot) wooden-hulled, copper-sheathed, three-masted side-wheel steamship launched in 1853 as the SS George Law. Operating during the California Gold Rush era, the ship was in continuous service on the Atlantic leg of the Panama Route between New York and San Francisco, making 43 round trips between New York and Panama. The Central America was caught in a hurricane and sank 160 miles off the coast of South Carolina on September 12, 1857. When she was lost, the SS Central America was carrying a large consignment of gold for commercial parties, mainly in the form of ingots and freshly minted U.S. $20 Double Eagle coins. Because of the large quantity of gold lost with the ship, public confidence in the economy was shaken, which contributed to the Panic of 1857.

The Columbus-America Discovery Group, acting as agent for RLP, confirmed the location of the Central America shipwreck site in September 1988 at a depth of 2,200 meters (7,200 feet). Recovery operations were conducted over a four-year period (1988-1991) and a large quantity of commercial gold was recovered from approximately 5% of the shipwreck site during more than 1,000 hours of bottom time.

Odyssey Marine Exploration has been awarded the exclusive contract to conduct an archaeological excavation and recover the remaining valuable cargo from the SS Central America shipwreck.

About RLP

Recovery Limited Partnership (RLP) was organized in 1985 as an Ohio limited partnership to finance the SS Central America project. Columbus-American Discovery Group LLC (CADG), as agent for RLP, initiated an admiralty action in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia to establish ownership of the shipwreck and all of its contents. After more than a decade of litigation, the court ruled that CADG owned 92.5% of the recovered gold.

Ira Owen Kane was appointed as the receiver for Recovery Limited Partnership and Columbus Exploration LLC by the Common Pleas Court of Franklin County, Ohio. At the direction of the court, the goal of the receiver is to preserve and operate the business of RLP and Columbus Exploration for the benefit of the investors and their creditors, and to do so by initiating the operations necessary to recover valuable cargo and cultural heritage items that remain on the SS Central America shipwreck site.

About Odyssey Marine Exploration

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMEX) is engaged in deep-ocean exploration using innovative methods and state of-the-art technology for shipwreck projects and mineral exploration. For additional details, please visit www.odysseymarine.com. The company also maintains a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/OdysseyMarine and a Twitter feed @OdysseyMarine. For additional details on Odyssey Marine Exploration, please visit www.odysseymarine.com.

Forward Looking Information

Odyssey Marine Exploration believes the information set forth in this Press Release may include “forward looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934. Certain factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are set forth in “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 17, 2014. The financial and operating projections as well as estimates of mining assets are based solely on the assumptions developed by Odyssey that it believes are reasonable based upon information available to Odyssey as of the date of this release. All projections and estimates are subject to material uncertainties, and should not be viewed as a prediction or an assurance of actual future performance. The validity and accuracy of Odyssey’s projections will depend upon unpredictable future events, many of which are beyond Odyssey’s control and, accordingly, no assurance can be given that Odyssey’s assumptions will prove true or that its projected results will be achieved.

CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACT:
         Liz Shows
         Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
         (813) 876-1776 x 2335
         lshows@odysseymarine.com
         

         INVESTOR RELATIONS CONTACT:
         Ron Both
         Liolios Group, Inc.
         (949) 574-3860

         OMEX@liolios.com
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Silver bullion from sunken WWII ship makes it to the Mint at last

October 1, 2013 in Ancient Coins, Archaeology, British Coins, Coins, Commemorative, News, Ship Wrecks, Silver, Silver Coins, The Royal Mint, Treasure, Treasure Hunting, UK Coins, World Coins

Coins commemorating 1941 sinking of SS Gairsoppa are part of 100-tonne haul recovered from North Atlantic

By: Maev Kennedy  theguardian.com

Commemorative silver coins are being struck from shipwrecked bullion that arrived at the Royal Mint more than 70 years late, after a German torpedo sent the ship carrying it to the bottom of the North Atlantic during the second world war.

The coins, intended for collectors, are made from part of a haul of almost 100 tonnes of silver recovered from a wreck lying three miles down, deeper than the Titanic. The silver is valued at up to £150m, the largest quantity of precious metal ever recovered from such a depth.

The coins show the doomed ship SS Gairsoppa, which sank on 17 February 1941 off the Irish coast after it was hit by a single German torpedo fired by U-boat U-101 weighed down by 7,000 tonnes of cargo including thousands of tons of pig iron.

Full article at source>

 

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Divers find unexpected treasures among coins in shipwreck off Dominican Republic

September 15, 2013 in Antique Coins, Archaeology, Coins, History, News, Numismatica, Numismatics, Press Releases, Rare Coins, Ship Wrecks, Silver, Silver Coins, Treasure, Treasure Hunting

TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — A Florida based treasure hunting firm has discovered a 450-year-old ship that wrecked off the Dominican coast. Among its valuable cargo — the single largest cache of 16th century pewter tableware ever discovered. The ship was also carrying extremely rare Spanish silver coins from the late 1400’s through the mid 1500’s and several gold artifacts. This unprecedented find of 16th century pewter will re-write history books, as many of the maker’s marks stamped into the fine pewter have never been seen before. While the value of the gold and silver recovered is easily determined, surprisingly, experts place the value of this four and a half century old pewter collection into the millions. The collection includes plates, platters, porringers, salts and flagons in an array of sizes and styles.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130912/FL79114)

Divers from Anchor Research and Salvage (a Global Marine Exploration, Inc. company) working with the Punta Cana Foundation painstakingly excavated the wreck site under contract with the Underwater Cultural Heritage division of the Dominican Minister of Culture.

Anchor Research and Salvage has recently completed surveying operations on their southwestern coastal lease area off theDominican Republic, revealing numerous previously undiscovered shipwrecks. Noted shipwreck archaeologist and author SirRobert F. Marx estimates that there is several billion dollars of submerged treasures in the southern coastal area alone, and ten times that amount waiting in Global Marine Exploration’s future target areas. Investigation and recovery operations in theDominican Republic continue.

CEO Robert Pritchett said, “Sample artifacts from these newly discovered wreck sites indicate that we may have found an entire fleet of early Galleons that wrecked on their way back to Spain carrying the riches of the new world.” Pritchett also mentions that negotiations are well underway for GME and its companies to provide artifact rescue and excavation services in other countries as well. “GME’s unique business model opens up a new age for cost-effective and archaeologically sensitive shipwreck exploration. Other countries are seeing how well we document and record the archaeological evidence in the Dominican Republic, and we are in talks with other nations in the Caribbean and beyond,” said Pritchett.

More info available at www.gmexploration.com

Contact Robert H. Pritchett – bpb1313@gmail.com

SOURCE Global Marine Exploration, Inc.

RELATED LINKS
http://www.gmexploration.com

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Underwater Explorer Team Seeks More Pirate Treasure Near Sunken Ship

September 9, 2013 in Ancient Coins, Antique Coins, Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, History, News, Numismatica, Numismatics, Precious Metals, Rare Coins, Ship Wrecks, Treasure, Treasure Hunting

By Alexis Shaw via WORLD NEWS (http://abcnews.go.com)

Undersea explorer Barry Clifford is diving back into the water after he and his team uncovered an unexplored trove of buried treasure that he said may lead to the discovery of more than 400,000 gold coins.

Clifford and his team located a sunken pirate ship, Whydah, off the coast of Cape Cod nearly 30 years ago. The Whydah was a slave ship that was captured by notorious pirate captain “Black Sam” Bellamy in February 1717, just two months before it sank on April 26, 1717.

Since discovering the Whydah — the only documented pirate ship — in the 1980s, Clifford and his team have worked to bring thousands of treasures discovered on the ship to the surface, he told ABCNews.com.

“There’s just a tremendous amount of material on board the vessel,” he said.

Full article and video at the source>

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Family finds $300,000 of gold treasure off coast of Florida

September 4, 2013 in Ancient Coins, Antique Coins, Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, News, Precious Metals, Rare Coins, Ship Wrecks, Treasure, Treasure Hunting, World Coins

A Florida treasure-hunting family struck it rich over the weekend when they discovered an estimated $300,000 worth of gold coins and chains off the coast of Fort Pierce.

“This is like the end of a dream” Rick Schmitt who found the sunken treasure with his family and fellow diver Dale Zeak told the Sun-Sentinel.com

Schmitt and wife Lisa along with their grown children Hillary and Eric uncovered the treasure 150 yards offshore which includes 64 feet of thin gold chains, five gold coins and a gold ring.

Full Article and video at source>

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Sunken treasure reminds investors about value

July 29, 2013 in Gold, History, Investing, News, Precious Metals, Ship Wrecks, Silver, Treasure, Treasure Hunting

Eric McWhinnie, Wall St. Cheat Sheet  July 27, 2013 (http://www.usatoday.com)

It’s been a brutal year for precious metals. Despite logging 12 consecutive annual gains, gold and silver are among the worst performing assets this year. Many analysts have lowered price targets, and proclaimed once again that the great bull market is dead. However, precious metals are still highly sought after, even at three miles below the ocean’s surface.

Odyssey Marine Exploration, a world leader in deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, recently announced it recovered more than 61 tons of silver bullion from the North Atlantic this month. The haul consists of 1,574 silver ingots, weighing around 1,100 ounces each, or almost 1.8 million troy ounces in total. The treasure sets a new record for the deepest and largest precious metal recovery from a shipwreck.

Full article at source>

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Gold! $250K in centuries-old coins found

July 15, 2013 in Antique Coins, Archaeology, Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, News, Numismatica, Numismatics, Rare Coins, Ship Wrecks, Spain Coins, Treasure, Treasure Hunting

By Leslie Holland. July 15, 2013 (http://www.cnn.com)

(CNN) — “Constantly searching for a needle in a haystack” is what Brent Brisben says he does for a living, and on days like Saturday, the payoff makes the work worthwhile.

Brisben owns the 1715 Treasure Fleet Queen’s Jewels salvage company. This weekend, he and his crew of three found quite a few “needles” in their oceanic “haystack” — 48 gold coins that date back 300 years, to be exact.

The coins, called escudos, were part of the treasure aboard a fleet of 11 Spanish galleons wrecked by a hurricane off the Florida coast on July 31, 1715. It was this famous shipwreck that gave this part of Florida its nickname, The Treasure Coast.

Full article at source>

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Cargo of gold and whiskey fuels legend of the Westmoreland, famous shipwreck discovered by diver from Grand Rapids

November 14, 2012 in Gold, Gold Coins, Ship Wrecks, Treasure

By Garret Ellison (http://www.mlive.com) Nov 14, 2012

MANITOU PASSAGE, MI — After 18 hours spent battling a blizzard on Lake Michigan, the fate of the Westmoreland was sealed less than three miles from safety.

At 10 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1854, rising water in the bilge finally extinguished the fire in the boiler, leaving the cargo-laden steamer powerless and thrown to the mercy of heavy, icy seas off a then-remote stretch of Lake Michigan coastline.

Half the souls on board the Westmoreland would soon perish in the deep, frigid waters of Platte Bay. The other half would spread the legend of a ship reputed to be carrying $100,000 in gold coins in her safe, and 280 barrels of whiskey in her hold, sparking more than a century of treasure hunters that would search in vain for the wreck.

Search in vain, that is, until 155 years after the sinking, when a diver and shipwreck sleuth from Grand Rapids would find what others could not; the wreck of the Westmoreland sitting upright on the lake bed, 200 feet under the surface of a bay where summer vacationers frolic in the shadow of the Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore.

“It is probably one of the most well-preserved shipwrecks from the 1850s on the planet,” said Ross Richardson, who found the wreck on July 7, 2010.

“It’s in amazing condition.”

Full Article>

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