On March 17, 1961, this letter was sent to Kip WagnerKip Wagner (1906 – 1972) was instrumental in the formation of the team that later became the Real Eight Company and one of the greatest salvage groups that ever explored the 1715 Fleet wrecks. He ... from Mendel L. Peterson of the Smithsonian Institution. Wagner had sent a group of coins to Peterson of the Smithsonian Institution. Mendel Peterson was an underwater archaeologist and curator at the Smithsonian Institution. He was considered to be a pioneer in the area of underwater archaeology. One of his specialties was numismatics which explains why Wagner chose to send him some coins that he had recovered from one of the 1715 Fleet wreck sites.
The letter is interesting as it sets forth one of the earliest opinions as to the value of some of the coins sent to him for review. All of the pieces were silver eight reales. In today’s market, these coins (30 in all) would be valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. In 1961 all 30 could be had for a little over $500.00.