I've mentioned the "Atocha" ship wreck before, now a bit more of the story.
The Atocha, or, more formally, The Nuestra Señora de Atocha, was a Spanish gallon that along with her sister ship, The Santa Margurita, sunk in a hurricane below the Florida Keys in 1622. She was approximately 90 feet in length, carried 300 passengers and crew, cows,pigs, personal belongings.... and over 350 million in gold and jewels, what we call "Treasure".
I have been involved , in a way, since my birth. My father, like me, was born in Redondo Beach, California, as was Mel Fisher. They were friends.
No that seems like an easy intro for me, Given Mel and his wife Deo searched for over 35 years to find the Atocha. But that was lost on me until 1980 when I had two clients who were heavily invested in Mel Fishers "Treasure Hunt" (See National Geographic's Mel fisher stories). These clients had some concerns about the serious amount of money they'd invested, and also had coins and artifacts they wanted jewelry mounted around.
So, I was enlisted, so to speak, to go to Key West, create a relationship with the Fishers and dig into the operating practices.
More about that in a later post, but it's good stuff for all concerned.
I wound up, both diving briefly, and more often working in and with the museum in documenting restoration procedures and the metal art work of the era.
Soooo. more to come.
The piece shown here is made upof some of the finest coins ("Reales") to come off the wreck, these are from the frist recovery dive, thus the earliest coins to be shown,
The center is an eight Reales, the next two, 4 reales, then two reales and the last 3 are 1 reales.
They are framed in hand fabricated 18 k gold with platinum frames around the coins (barely visible), It's 3 dimensional, meaning the round shape you see on the front is the same on the back (think donut). These were from various mints around the new world.
The photo is taken on a copper ingot off the wreck, this would have been alloyed in Europe to create cannons for the ships.