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December 2021 – Treasure of the Month

Ballastones End

Our Treasure of the Month for December (a month known for gift giving) may very well have been under someone’s Christmas tree at one time. This unusual item is a ballast stone from the 1715 Fleet that has been made into a pair of bookends. The idea for this unique item, according to the prior owner, is the Real Eight Company. We have no way of verifying that but given the Real Eight Company’s propensity for creative marketing (they had their own line of replica jewelry) it would not be surprising.

ballastones wooden view

Ballast served a necessary purpose on early sailing ships. The weight of the ballast provided stability. A variety of materials have been used as ballast over the years. Some common ballast employed in the past includes (but is not limited to) stones, gravel, sand, iron and lead. Most of the ballast found on the wreck sites of the 1715 Fleet were rounded stones. Fleet Society Director Emeritus Ernie Richards recently wrote an article about these ballast stones which we have reproduced here with his permission:

So, it would appear that even the lowly ballast stone can rise to the level of a treasure. What better way to display your 1715 Fleet library than to have these ballast stone book ends keeping your books properly aligned. They not only serve a purpose but are a part of Fleet history, albeit a humble one.

Ballastones side view

We would like to thank Ernie Richards for allowing us to reprint his article on ballast stones. The article was originally contained in a booklet published by Ernie in 2018 entitled Shipwreck “Arti – Facts”: From The Spanish Treasure Fleets – 2, which is part of a five set series.

Ballastones Article Cover

For more information on how to obtain the entire series, contact Ernie Richards at

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