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From the Fleet Society Archives — Summer, 1955

Here are some articles from The Fort Pierce News-Tribune that we found very interesting. Those who are familiar with Kip Wagner’s epic Pieces of Eight published in 1966 recall that in Chapter 7 he relates the early efforts of his team (later known as the Real Eight Company) to salvage a wreck off of the Fort Pierce Inlet in 1960. At that location, they found pie-shaped wedges of silver and named the wreck the “Wedge Wreck”. It appears, however, that Kip Wagner and his men were not the first to explore this wreck and recover those iconic pie-shaped wedges. It just so happens that the site was previously visited five years earlier by Jack Carr, an electric company lineman, Silas Thomas of Fort Pierce, a boat captain, and Jack Delle, a Vero Beach high school student.

In the summer of 1955, these three recovered several silver wedges from the Fort Pierce wreck site (the same one explored by Kip Wagner five years later). The newspaper articles (below) detail the story of the Thomas-Carr expedition. In one article Jack Carr is seen comparing a recovered silver wedge to a silver dollar. The wedge was described as being 6” x 4” x 2” and weighing two pounds and eight ounces (an interesting point that will be discussed later).

Apparently, there were several silver wedges recovered as can be proven by referring to the “Parkway Hotel” agreement (below) signed by Jack Carr on August 10, 1955. The agreement (made with world-renowned treasure hunter and diver Art McKee) transferred ownership of a silver wedge to Art McKee for “$1,000.00 and other consideration”. The tracing of the wedge is considerably smaller than the one featured with him in the News–Tribune article thereby establishing that more than one silver wedge was found.

As a final footnote, it does appear that the wedge pictured with Jack Carr in the 1955 article may have resurfaced in 1960. We cannot prove it for sure but we have some pretty good circumstantial evidence as demonstrated in the agreement below signed by Jack Delle (the Vero Beach high school student) and Art McKee on December 12, 1960. In this agreement, Jack Delle agrees to allow Art McKee to display his silver wedge at Art’s museum (McKee’s Museum of Sunken Treasure) or elsewhere for a period of 90 days. Art McKee was also given the option to buy the wedge if he so desired before the expiration of the 90-day period. Note that the agreement states that the silver wedge in question “weighs approximately 2 ½ pounds”. The Carr wedge was reported to have weighed “ two pounds and eight ounces”. So, is it the same silver wedge? If so, how did Jack Delle end up with it? Was he the one that found it? The newspaper accounts say that Carr found it. Did he take credit for the find? Possibly another wedge of nearly exact proportions could have been found. We can only speculate. But nevertheless, circumstantially, an argument could be made that they are one and the same.

Incidentally, we know that Art McKee did not exercise his option to buy and returned the wedge to Jack Delle on March 25, 1961 as evidenced by the executed receipt, below.

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