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After 350 years, sea gives up lost jewels of Spanish shipwreck


robinjojo
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The Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of Wonders) is a well known salvage going back decades, yielding coins, jewelry and other artifacts . 

Some recent items have been recovered as detailed in this article from today's Observer. through the Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/jul/31/after-350-years-sea-gives-up-lost-jewels-of-spanish-shipwreck

 

Here's one of the coins salvaged from the Maravillas.

Potos,i 8 reales "cob", 1652 E, transitional type.

674743336_D-CameraPotosi8realescob1652transitionalsheildreverse6-16-20.jpg.0abb5923c8ddc46723539d7f8fbf37c1.jpg

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Yes, indeed, the coral die-off is happening around the world, destroying reefs and the life dependent on them.  The Great Barrier Reef is a prime example of the sad and ecologically devastating trend. 

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29 minutes ago, Spaniard said:

Yes I was reading about this earlier this morning..Great finds but so sad about the dead coral reef 😔...

Yes. Here's a quote, from the above article, which is rather alarming, to me.

“The sea bottom is barren,” said Allen. “The colourful coral that divers remembered from the 70s is gone, poisoned by ocean acidification and choked by metres of shifting sand. It’s painfully sad. Still lying on those dead grey reefs, though, are sparkling finds.”

Here's my oldest Spanish colonial coin, an 8 reales cob coin, often called a "Piece Of Eight".

image.jpeg.330ee5b3d17b9d2f53a44baee4e405a6.jpeg

Spain. Philip II. Silver 8 Reales "Piece Of Eight". 1589 AD To 1591 AD. Potosi Mint (In What Is Now Bolivia). Assayer RL. 37.7 mm. 27.20 grams. Paoletti 97. Sedwick P13. KM 5.1.

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37 minutes ago, robinjojo said:

Yes, indeed, the coral die-off is happening around the world, destroying reefs and the life dependent on them.  The Great Barrier Reef is a prime example of the sad and ecologically devastating trend. 

Yes. Equally devastating, seems to be the over-fishing, and the trawling of the ocean bottom, which seems to be going on. I have read, from multiple sources, that all of the fish of the world, particularly the fish that humans like to eat, have decreased to 10% in number, compared to what they were, not long ago. In other words, the number of fish in the ocean, that humans like to eat, has decreased by 90%, in the past 50 years or so. Humans, with their increased population, and with their improved fishing technology, seem to be eating the fish of the oceans, to extinction. Perhaps, in the near future, there will be nothing left in the oceans, except jellyfish.

Edited by sand
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Posted (edited)

An interesting aspect of the Maravillas (1656) salvage is that it includes coins that were salvaged from a previous wreck, the Capitana (1654), so some of the coins recovered from the Maravillas have actually been salvaged twice, but which ones would be hard, if not impossible to say.

Here's Daniel Sedwick's account of the Maravillas:

Maravillas, sunk in 1656 off Grand Bahama Island

As the almiranta (“admiral’s ship,” or rear guard) of the homebound Spanish fleet in January of 1656, the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas was officially filled with over five million pesos of treasure (and probably much more in contraband, as was usually the case). That treasure included much of the silver salvaged from the South Seas Fleet’s Capitana of 1654 that wrecked on Chanduy Reef off Ecuador (see above). The ill-fated treasure sank once again when the Maravillas unexpectedly ran into shallow water and was subsequently rammed by one of the other ships of its fleet, forcing the captain to try to ground the Maravillas on a nearby reef on Little Bahama Bank off Grand Bahama Island. In the ensuing chaos, exacerbated by strong winds, most of the 650 people on board the ship died in the night, and the wreckage scattered. Spanish salvagers soon recovered almost half a million pesos of treasure quickly, followed by more recoveries over the next several decades, yet with over half of the official cargo still unfound.

The first re-discovery of the Maravillas in the 20th century was by Robert Marx and his company Seafinders in 1972, whose finds were featured in an auction by Schulman in New York in 1974. Included among the coins in this sale were some previously unknown Cartagena silver cobs of 1655 and countermarked Potosí coinage of 1649-1651 and 1652 Transitionals, in addition to many Mexican silver cobs and a few Bogotá cob 2 escudos. The second big salvage effort on the Maravillas was by Herbert Humphreys and his company Marex in the late 1980s and early 1990s, resulting in two big sales by Christie’s (London) in 1992 and 1993, featuring many Bogotá cob 2 escudos, in addition to more Mexico and Potosí silver cobs and several important artifacts. The most recent sale of Maravillas finds, presumably from one of the many salvage efforts from the 1970s and 1980s, took place in California in 2005, again with a good quantity of Bogotá cob 2 escudos. The wreck area is still being searched today, but officially the Bahamian government has not granted any leases on the site since the early 1990s. It is possible the bulk of the treasure is still to be found!

 

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15 minutes ago, robinjojo said:

Yes, indeed, the coral die-off is happening around the world, destroying reefs and the life dependent on them.  The Great Barrier Reef is a prime example of the sad and ecologically devastating trend. 

Actually, the most recent data suggests that the GBR is doing surprisingly well. According to a 2020-2021 survey by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, all areas of the reef showed a moderate to high increase in hard coral cover, some up to 39%. As for bleaching, none of the 127 reefs surveyed showed high or medium damage; 60% showed no bleaching at all and the remaining 40% showed only low levels of bleaching.

"Over the 35 years of monitoring by AIMS, the reefs of the GBR have shown an ability to recover after disturbances." 

"In periods free from acute disturbances, most GBR coral reefs demonstrate resilience through the ability to begin recovery."

Here is the survey, for those interested:

Long-Term Monitoring Program - Annual Summary Report of Coral Reef Condition 2020/21 | AIMS

 

So while it's important to continue the conservational efforts, neither is the case as dire and irreversible as many would have you believe. Nature, as it turns out, is surprisingly resilient. 🙂

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, robinjojo said:

The Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of Wonders) is a well known salvage going back decades, yielding coins, jewelry and other artifacts . 

Some recent items have been recovered as detailed in this article from today's Observer. through the Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/jul/31/after-350-years-sea-gives-up-lost-jewels-of-spanish-shipwreck

 

Here's one of the coins salvaged from the Maravillas.

Potos,i 8 reales "cob", 1652 E, transitional type.

674743336_D-CameraPotosi8realescob1652transitionalsheildreverse6-16-20.jpg.0abb5923c8ddc46723539d7f8fbf37c1.jpg

That's so cool! Thanks for sharing.

Someday I would love to add an 8-reale shipwreck cob to my collection.

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40 minutes ago, sand said:

 

Yes. Here's a quote, from the above article, which is rather alarming, to me.

“The sea bottom is barren,” said Allen. “The colourful coral that divers remembered from the 70s is gone, poisoned by ocean acidification and choked by metres of shifting sand. It’s painfully sad. Still lying on those dead grey reefs, though, are sparkling finds.”

Here's my oldest Spanish colonial coin, an 8 reales cob coin, often called a "Piece Of Eight".

image.jpeg.330ee5b3d17b9d2f53a44baee4e405a6.jpeg

Spain. Philip II. Silver 8 Reales "Piece Of Eight". 1589 AD To 1591 AD. Potosi Mint (In What Is Now Bolivia). Assayer RL. 37.7 mm. 27.20 grams. Paoletti 97. Sedwick P13. KM 5.1.

That's a beautiful cob, with great centering and a clear strike for this crude type.  I also like the toning, original and unaltered.

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Very cool! Thanks for sharing this. For my latest birthday my dad gave me some sunken treasure:

20220617_190243.jpg.99b691fc0d55b6193a57bb51e0ad8e99.jpg20220617_190252.jpg.7c66df5cfe06ec1206fac2c9d7f95d3e.jpg

From the El Cazador, Bound for New Orleans (1784)

MEXICO, Colonial. Carlos III. King of Spain, 1759-1788. AR 8 Reales (38mm, 12h). Ciudad de México (Mexico City) mint; Francisco de la Pena and Francisco Arance Cobos, assayers. Dated 1783 Mo FF. Grove 1340; KM 106.2. Fine, toned. In an NGC Shpwreck Certification holder marked Genuine. From the wreck of the El Cazador.

 

In early 1784, the El Cazador (“The Hunter”) set sail from Veracruz to New Orleans. The economy of the then-Spanish colony of Louisiana was in such a poor state that the colonialists were on the brink of revolution. Hard currency was desperately needed, and the El Cazador, loaded with Spanish silver coins struck at the Mexico City mint, was launched to resolve the situation. The ship never arrived, for reasons that are unclear. Spanish attempts to locate and retrieve the treasure failed, and in June 1784 the ship was officially declared as lost at sea.

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Over the years there have been lots of counterstamped Potosi 8 reales on the market, both at auctions and through price lists.  The prime source of these coins was from the salvage of the Capitana over the past few decades.  Generally these coins come without certificates and vary in condition.

This is one of those cobs, with a revaluation counterstamp valuing these coins to seven and a half reales.  This was done to the old shield type cobs, prior to the start of the new pillars and waves design for Potosi. The surfaces are very lightly corroded, which suggests saltwater exposure, so this could be a coin from the Capitana, but then it could be from the Maravillas or another wreck.  I'd say the odds are for the Capitana.

The date is a full one, but hard to see due to the flash.  The five in the date is modern in style, as opposed to the Spanish style, which resembles a sickle.

Potos,i 8 reales, 1651 E, modern style 5 in date, counterstamp crowned F.

KM c 19.3 (counterstamp); KM 19b (coin).

26.7 grams

900978013_D-CameraPotosi8reales1651Emodernstyle5counterstampF26.7gkmc19.3(cs)km19b(coin)7-31-22.jpg.1f374c1254b2ea3ba000ce63d3bd448a.jpg

Here's the counterstamp, very boldly struck.

89956639_D-CameraPotosi8reales1651Ecounterstamp7-31-22.jpg.8894183c6b6b94190e1b15a9f10f153b.jpg

 

Maybe I should start a thread on hammer struck Spanish mainland and colonial coinage.  I've got a ton to photograph.

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