Tag Archives: shipwreck

Shipwreck silver ingots and gold coins highlight Sedwick’s Treasure Auction

15 Mar

A massive 83 troy-pound, 7.52 troy-ounce silver bar recovered from the shipwreck of the Atocha and estimated at $35,000-up is just one of many treasures to appear in Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC’s Treasure, World, U.S. Coin and Paper Money Auction 21. The online live auction will be held May 3-4 at www.auction.sedwickcoins.com. Lots can be previewed on the site in the first week of April.

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An 83 troy-pound, 7.52 troy-ounce silver bar from the Atocha

The large silver bar comes from one of the richest Spanish treasure galleons lost at sea, the Atocha, which sank in 1622 west of Key West, Florida. One month after sinking, a hurricane scattered the wreck, preventing the Spanish authorities from recovering its treasure. However, modern salvage operations conducted by Mel Fisher in the 1970s uncovered approximately 1,000 silver ingots and over 100,000 shield-type cobs. Coins from the Atocha will be offered in the Sedwick auction as well.

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A gold and red-coral rosary recovered from the Atocha, photo credit to Carol Tedesco, Key West, FL

Another treasure find from the Atocha appearing in the auction is a gold and red-coral rosary. The rosary was featured in the June 1976 issue of National Geographic Magazine and is pedigreed to a 1988 Christie’s auction. The rosary is estimated at $25,000-up.

Other top lots include:

  • A 1713 Mexico gold 8 escudo from the 1715 Fleet, graded NGC MS 66, estimated at $15,000-up

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    An MS 66 1713 Mexico gold 8 escudos from the 1715 Fleet

  • An NGC-graded denomination set of gold Lima escudos dated 1710 recovered from the 1715 Fleet, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000 total
  • A Bogota gold 1 escudo recovered from the 1715 Fleet and famously placed in a Salvation Army red kettle during the 2016 holiday season, estimated at $2,000 to $3,000
  • An 1837 Cuzco gold 8 escudos, graded NGC MS 64 and tied for finest known, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000

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    An MS 64 1837 Cuzco gold 8 escudos

  • A 35 troy-pound, 1.81 troy-ounce silver bar from the Maravillas shipwreck of 1656, estimated at $10,000 to $15,000
  • Four silver bars recovered from the “Tumbaga Wreck” (ca. 1528)
  • Over 200 Central American coins pedigreed to the Richard Stuart Collection
  • An 1882 $20 Gold Certificate, graded PCGS UNC 65 – Repaired Edge Tear, estimated $8,000 to $12,000

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    A PCGS Gem New 65 Apparent – Repaired Edge Tear at Top Right 1882 $20 Gold Certificate

  • Around 200 lots of U.S. and world bank notes
  • More than 30 lots of natural gold nuggets

Bidders can register for the auction at www.auction.sedwickcoins.com in early April. The printed catalog will also be available early April at www.sedwickcoins.com. For more details, please contact Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC at office@sedwickcoins.com.

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Sunken luxury: the loss of the SS Andrea Doria

3 Jan

The SS Andrea Doria name invokes tragedy now, but at the time of construction, she represented the hopes of Italian recovery after World War II. Construction began in 1950 with the ship launching in June 16, 1951. In terms of size, she was 697 feet long with a 90 feet beam and had a total tonnage of 29,100 tons. When fully furnished, she represented a source of Italian pride by being one of the finest ships on the Atlantic Ocean at the time. Even her namesake, the 16th-century Genoese admiral Andrea Doria, invokes a sense of Italian maritime power.

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The SS Andrea Doria at sea.

During her three years of service from 1953 to 1956, she had many transatlantic voyages and became popular with passengers for her luxury accommodations and quick speed. Passengers had every form of entertainment at their disposal, from movie to swimming pools, orchestras to modern artworks and mosaics. A lot of money and wealth went into the Andrea Doria, both in terms of construction and her passengers.

On the night of July 25, 1956, the Andrea Doria was on the final leg of a voyage, destined for New York City the following day. Travelling through heavy fog, the bridge officers noted a radar blip ahead. Despite taking evasive maneuvers, the distance between the two ships was too little for any meaningful actions. Out of the fog, the bow of the MS Stockholm, a Swedish American Line passenger liner, plowed into the Andrea Doria’s starboard side, leaving a gaping hole. However, safety measures kept the Andrea Doria afloat for 11 hours, long enough for the survivors to evacuate. All together, 46 people died aboard the Andrea Doria while 6 crew members of the Stockholm were killed, most during the collision itself.

The below newsreel shows images of the doomed ship in the early hours of July 26, 1956. Divers descended upon the wreck just a day after its sinking to find it lying on its starboard side at a depth of about 250 feet, far too deep for recreational diving.

Divers descended upon the wreck just a day after its sinking to find it lying on its starboard side at a depth of about 250 feet, far too deep for recreational diving. Since then, through advances in diving equipment, technical divers are able to reach the wreck.

In 1981, adventurer Peter Gimbel, his wife Elga and a salvage team uncovered the Bank of Rome safe held onboard the ship. When the safe was opened in 1984, thousands of American $1 silver certificates, hundreds of Italian bank notes as well as American Express checks were found, still preserved despite decades of submersion. The Gimbels carefully preserved and encased the banknotes in protective Lucite holders before offering them on the numismatic market. Many silver certificates and Italian lira have since been graded by PCGS Currency according to shipwreck grading standards.

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An example of a Andrea Doria recovered $1 silver certificate.

As the leading shipwreck coin and artifact dealer, Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC has a number of $1 silver certificates recovered from the SS Andrea Doria for sale. All notes are graded “A” by PCGS Currency, meaning they are almost entirely intact (despite 30 years of saltwater immersion), with prices dependent upon the eye appeal of the note. They come in a blue case along with a DVD of their recovery by the Gimbels and their crew. To view these notes, please click on the picture below and navigate to the Andrea Doria listing:

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Today, heavy currents, silt clouds and the depth still make the Andrea Doria a difficult wreck to dive, earning it the nickname “the Mount Everest of wreck diving.” Regardless, the allure of the ship’s luxury and artifacts still on board bring divers back again and again. For many, a dive to the SS Andrea Doria will never happen. By buying these silver certificates, anyone can own a piece of history from a ship that launched with so much promise only to become a modern tragedy.

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