$1 mil­lion in gold coins from 1715 ship­wreck on mar­ket

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

A New Or­leans in­vest­ment firm has be­gun mar­ket­ing gold coins from a 300-year-old ship­wreck dis­cov­ered off Florida’s coast. Blan­chard and Co is one of two deal­ers of­fer­ing the coins from an area where 11 trea­sure-laden ships of a Span­ish fleet were smashed onto reefs by a hur­ri­cane on July 31, 1715. The other dealer is Cal­i­for­nia-based Monaco Rare Coins.

John Al­banese, a New Jersey-based coin ex­pert who bro­kered the sales, said in an in­ter­view Fri­day that most of the 295 coins be­ing of­fered were found by divers ex­plor­ing the area last year on the 300th an­niver­sary of the dis­as­ter. Al­banese said a few are from ear­lier ex­pe­di­tions in 2010 and 2013. He said the com­bined mar­ket value of the coins is more than $1 mil­lion. The coins vary in de­nom­i­na­tion, size and shape. “They were very crudely made. They were hand­made,” said Al­banese, who added that the coins’ worth at the time they were made was based on their weight. A Blan­chard news re­lease says the coins were struck in Colom­bia, Mex­ico and Peru. They were dated be­tween 1692 and 1715. Most are from a dis­cov­ery made in 6 feet of water about 100 feet off the coast of Vero Beach, Florida.

Al­banese said the coins sold quickly once they were avail­able at the whole­sale level. Craig Bau­dot, an ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent at Blan­chard, said his com­pany be­gan mar­ket­ing the coins over the past two weeks. He said the coins are mar­keted at prices rang­ing from about $2,000 to $9,000. He said in­ter­est has been high at the re­tail level as well. “You’re deal­ing with some­thing that’s over 300 years old,” Bau­dot said. “Ev­ery­body dreams about walk­ing down the beach and find­ing trea­sure.” Ships of the 1715 fleet were head­ing to Spain from Ha­vana when they en­coun­tered the hur­ri­cane near what is now Vero Beach. Some 1,000 peo­ple died in the mar­itime dis­as­ter. — AP

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