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From The Fleet Society Archives — June 22, 1965

Our archives contain hundreds of vintage magazines and publications. Many of these periodicals are currently under review as we categorize and document them. One such digest that I recently came across was “The Gold Bug Annual”, which was published by the Gold Bug Publishing Company out of Alamo, California. There is not too much to be found regarding this publication or how long it was produced. Our research did uncover that Gold Bug Publishing was still around in 2010 producing maps. “The Gold Bug Annual” was a collection of stories, articles, and maps from the first 11 issues of “The Gold Bug Treasure Hunters Monthly Magazine” published between October 1964 and December 1965. A story in the “Annual” caught my eye. It was about a discovery made by the Real Eight Company and Treasure Salvors, Inc. in June of 1965 near Sebastian, Florida. It was reported that the two teams using separate salvage vessels, the “Derelict” and the “Dee-Gee”, recovered numerous “silver bullion cakes” weighing between sixty and seventy pounds apiece”. Interestingly, this information sounded familiar. So we cross-referenced it to other archival material in our possession and discovered that the same information was reported in a journal kept by Real Eight member Lou Ullian. In his journal, there is an entry on June 22, 1965, which says “10 – Large silver discs over 2’ in diameter approx. wgt. 50 to 70 # each”

In the succeeding days, there were many more of these “cakes” found by the two crews. However, much to the chagrin of all they were not silver but rather copper. Known as “bell metal” Bell metal is a hard alloy consisting primarily of copper with a smaller percentage of tin used for making bells and related instruments. These “cakes” were quite the sensation when they were recovered.

Most of these copper discs are part of the State of Florida Collection in Tallahassee.

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