Archive | May, 2016

A Better Idea Than the Stock Market: Two Important Atocha Pieces in Treasure Auction #19

16 May
Stock price declining

My Stock Portfolio!

A year ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 18,200-18,300. Where is it today? It’s been inching back up from the cellar and hovers in the mid-17,000s. Despite the spin my stock broker tries to put on things, I know my portfolio looks pretty sad. Fortunately, I practice something called diversification. That means I own coins and artifacts in addition to stocks and bonds. How much more pleasure I derive from looking at my collections from time to time (and more important, adding to them) than I ever could by watching the stock market fluctuate!


Lot 289, Sedwick Treasure Auction #19

We have two important investment opportunities in our upcoming auction that will enhance any portfolio, two magnificent gold artifacts from the Atocha with equally important pedigrees. First is Lot 289, a gold disk with a cut edge weighing in at a generous 1438 grams and 19.75 fineness. It was originally for sale with Christie’s Auctions in June 1988 (Lot 81) which was the main Atocha auction for artifact and coin sales. Given today’s spot gold prices, this disc melts for $48,500, so the current bid of $45,000 is actually UNDER MELT VALUE! You can’t ask for a better investment than that. Our sales estimate is between $50,000 and $75,000 which surely seems reasonable.


Lot 1673, Sedwick Treasure Auction #19

The other is Lot 1673, a complete gold “wedding” chain, uncleaned with shells attached. It has been appraised for $200,000 in 1999 by James Sinclair, an archeologist for the Atocha material. It comes with another important piece of history, a certificate with original signatures of all the important people associated with the Atocha, including Mel Fisher. Shipwreck gold chains are considered an early form of tax evasion with the owner being exempt from paying the typical king’s fifth on gold and silver coins and bars. Our sales estimate is between $100,000 and $200,000 and this is a very special piece that comes around once in a lifetime. It’s never been for sale before. If you have the disposable income to consider bidding on Lot 1673, you should ask yourself whether you would rather have your money invested in stocks or in an irreplaceable piece of shipwreck history that is well recognized throughout the world. Imagine owning something that may otherwise be housed in a museum.


So, if you love collecting shipwreck coins and artifacts—and recognize them as a better investment than the stock market–either one of the pieces I’ve mentioned is well worth your consideration. Get your bid in today because we go live on Wednesday. Happy bidding! 


The SS Central America: One Hundred and Sixty Years of Woe

12 May


Lot 239, Treasure Auction #19

Lot 239, Sedwick Treasure Auction #19

Rarely does one random event lead to so much mayhem as the wreck of the SS Central America when it sank in a hurricane in 1857. It reminds me of something that Eppie Lederer (aka Ann Landers) once said when someone asked her whether she fabricated any of the letters in her advice column: “I can’t make this stuff up.” The story of the aftermath of the wreck of the SS Central America is rife with sorrow, greed, adventure, and downright bizarreness.

There are many great articles and books about the fate of the SS Central America and its re-discovery by Tommy Thompson and his group of investors called the Columbus America Discovery Group over 100 years later, but in a nutshell, the ship was laden with gold from the California gold rush years and uncirculated gold coins from the San Francisco mint when it sailed into a hurricane off the coast of Carolinas on September 9, 1857. The ship sank, taking with it an estimated $50,000,000 in today’s money and no hope of recovery. Many people drown although some were rescued. This significant monetary loss became a factor in the so-called Panic of 1857 that shook public confidence in the economy. Fast forward to September of 1988, when an engineer from the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, named Tommy Thompson had an idea where the SS Central America could be located and subsequently found the wreck thanks to technology not previously available. He and his crew were able to bring up an estimated $100-150 million of recovered gold. After that, the story takes a twist for the crazy when Thompson failed to pay investors and fled to an abandoned mansion in Vero Beach, Florida with his girlfriend, Alison Antekeier. They were finally caught holed up in a Hilton hotel in Boca Raton, Florida in January of 2015 and are now in prison. What was in the hotel room? Lots of strange, that’s what:

  • 43 cellphones and 12 computers
  • A trash bag full of prescription medication
  • Registration papers for a trust in Belize
  • Money wrappers in $10,000 amounts
  • An expired US Treasury check for $216,939
  • And an award-winning idea for hiding money, lunch boxes containing cash


So, if you want to own an extremely interesting piece of history, now is your opportunity! We have 3 coins from the wreck in our upcoming Treasure Auction #19, and one of them can be yours. We can’t often offer you both a beautiful coin and a really interesting story to go with it.

Lot 240, Treasure Auction #19

Lot 240, Sedwick Treasure Auction #19

Lot 243, Treasure Auction #19

Lot 243, Sedwick Treasure Auction #19


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