Sunken Spanish colonial gold treasure coins discovered during 300th anniversary of fleet’s demise to be offered for the first time
More than 200 sunken treasure gold coins from the legendary Spanish 1715 Plate Fleet, recovered during last year’s 300th anniversary of the Atlantic Ocean hurricane that sank 11 of the fleet’s 12 ships, are now coming into the numismatic marketplace for the first time along with coins found on previous expeditions.
The discovery of the latest trove by the historic shipwreck recovery company, 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels, LLC, occurred on July 31, 2015, exactly 300 years to the day of the fleet’s sinking. The treasure was found in only six feet of water just a hundred feet from the shore in Vero Beach, Florida, and this amazing find generated international headlines.
The coins range in denomination from one escudo to eight escudos. They were struck in Colombia, Mexico and Peru and are dated in the era between 1692 and 1715 during the reigns of the Spanish kings Charles II and Philip V.
“These historic treasure fleet gold pieces have been examined, authenticated and graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (www.NGCcoin.com). All but five are Mint State, and one recovered treasure coin is graded NGC MS 66,” said John Albanese of Bedminster, New Jersey, the dealer who brokered the deal to acquire the never-before offered coins.
Highlights include a 1712 Peru 8 escudos of Philip V, graded NGC MS 64; a 1711 Peru LM 2 escudos of Philip V Peru, NGC MS 66; and a 1699 Colombia 2 escudos of Charles II, NGC MS 64, that was discovered by 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels inside a recovered bronze cannon.
Blanchard and Company (www.BlanchardGold.com) and Monaco Rare Coins (www.MonacoRareCoins.com) are the primary dealerships that will be selling the coins.
“In addition to the 224 coins discovered in 2015 by 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels, there are 71 shipwreck coins from the 1715 Fleet found during their two earlier underwater expeditions in 2010 and 2013 that now will also be available to collectors for the first time. There even are coins they discovered inside a ship’s cannon!,” explained Albanese.
“The combined estimated market value of the 295 treasure coins is more than $1 million,” said Albanese.
1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels is a group of Florida-based shipwreck salvagers who have focused their attention since 2010 on the exploration and recovery of the famous Spanish treasure fleets convoy.
“Our goal is to bring the amazing story of the 1715 Plate Fleet to the public. We hope the recovery of these incredibly rare artifacts will help educate people about Spanish colonization of the New World and life on the high seas in 1715,” stated Brent Brisben, 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels Co-Founder and Operations Manager.
“The discovery of gold and silver coins in sunken cannon in 2010 was an amazing recovery. For decades, treasure hunters have told tales of treasure hidden inside of cannons, but our recovery was the first time the tale was ever validated. We recovered a 3½ foot bronze rail gun, the first bronze rail/swivel cannon ever recovered from the 1715 Fleet. We discovered 50 gold and 40 silver coins in the breech of the cannon,” explained Brisben.
Brisben’s great-great-great grandfather, Daniel Beaver, died in another famous shipwreck, the fabled “ship of gold,” the SS Central America, that sank off the South Carolina coast in a hurricane in September 1857 while carrying tons of California Gold Rush coins and gold bars to New York City.
NGC has created special insert labels for the 1715 Fleet coins, including a special designation for the coins recovered from the cannon.
“Coinage of the 1715 Fleet offers up rare riches, providing researchers a unique opportunity to study the trade and transport of the day and gives collectors the chance to acquire a high-grade example of a coin from the golden shipwreck treasure of lore. A quantity of uncirculated Spanish gold coins such as this simply does not exist outside of a shipwreck discovery,” stated NGC Chairman Mark Salzberg.
“NGC worked directly with the recovery group to not only preserve the important provenance of these coins, but also the story of their individual recovery. For the first time, specific dive missions and finds are referenced on the NGC certification label,” said Salzberg.
In addition to the NGC encapsulation, each coin will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Brisben, along with the original, numbered archeological tag that was used by the expedition crew to denote each item as it was discovered and recovered. The unique tag number is indicated on the certificate of authenticity for each coin.
The fabled 1715 Fleet convoy of 12 ships loaded with New World treasure set sail from Havana, Cuba to Spain on July 24, 1715. In the early morning hours of July 31 a fierce hurricane sank all the ships except one off the eastern coast of Florida. More than a thousand people were killed in the storm and resulting shipwrecks.
On July 31, 2015, the 300th anniversary of that historic day, 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels recovered 350 gold coins, including nine extremely rare Royals. Some of the coins were given by the company to its crew-members and subcontractors as their share of the recoveries, and all the large Royals presentation pieces were privately sold earlier this year to anonymous collectors for an average of $275,000 a piece.
“We have owned the exclusive salvage rights to the 1715 Fleet since 2010. We have never previously sold a single gold coin from our recoveries,” said Brisben. “The story of the fleet is an amazing tale which really provides the fascination with these coins.”
NGC-Certified 1715 Fleet Shipwreck Gold Coins Currently Available on eBay