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Iconic Gold Coin to be Auctioned Tomorrow

One of the most significant coins ever associated with the 1715 Fleet will be offered for sale tomorrow in Treasure Auction 35 sponsored by Daniel Frank Sedwick LLC. Identified as Lot #40 in their auction catalog this coin is very likely recognizable to those who have been students of 1715 Fleet-related history and lore. In January 1965, National Geographic devoted a large section of its monthly magazine to the 1715 Fleet and in particular, Kip Wagner and the Real Eight Company. Those familiar with the salvaging history of the 1715 Fleet recognize the Real Eight Company as the group responsible for recovering the bulk of Fleet treasure in the 1960s. The coin featured in Lot #40 was pictured prominently in the aforementioned National Geographic. Kip Wagner is shown holding the coin at the beginning of the article. This picture of Wagner is also found in the book Pieces of Eight. For a complete story behind this legendary coin, we have included the description found in the auction catalog published by Daniel Frank Sedwick LLC.

MEXICO, Mexico City, gold cob 8 escudos, (1714) J, Royal dies, NGC MS 64 (1715 Fleet Shipwreck Label), ex-Kip Wagner (stated on label), Pieces of Eight and National Geographic Plate. S-M30; Cal-unl; KM-unl. 26.98 grams. After the Real Eight Company started finding gold on the 1715 Fleet in the early 1960s, Kip Wagner got the idea to present an article in National Geographic and publish a book, with the same photos in both, and naturally he wanted to show off coins he had saved for himself as the best. Between Kip’s thumbs and forefingers these you can see two Mexican 8 escudos, one shield-side out and the other cross-side out, the present coin being the former. What he probably did not know is that this coin has a reason for being so pretty: It is struck from the same dies as the elegant Royals (galanos) of that year. One could speculate that this piece on a smaller (but still round) and less even flan was a test strike (like some others known, some of which are roundish and some of which are not), but its perfect centering and nearly undoubled impression make for uniformly sharp central details, not just the full shield and cross but also the oMJ and denomination VIII. What tells you it is a Royal is the presence of quatrefoil ornaments above and below the oMJ and VIII as well as “daggers” in the dimples of the tressure around the cross. The peripheries, however, including the date, are flat and beveled like a typical cob of this period. With light toning over ample luster, combined with its unique and important pedigree, this coin should be considered one of the top trophies of the 1715 Fleet. From the 1715 Fleet, plated on page 1 in the article “Drowned Galleons Yield Spanish Gold” in the January 1965 issue of National Geographic and on photo plate opposite page 129 in Pieces of Eight, by Kip Wagner (1st ed., 1966), with copies of both publications as well as a certificate and Frank Sedwick invoices and letter of provenance from 1990, also pedigreed to the Superior auction of May 1990 (lot 6565), there described as “from the estate of Kip Wagner.”

Link to Auction Lot 40 MEXICO, Mexico City, gold cob 8 escudos, (1714) J, Royal dies, NGC MS 64 (1715 Fleet Shipwreck Label:

Link to verify certification number:

NOTE: This coin realized $90,000.00 ($75,000.00 plus $15,000.00 Buyers fee) at auction on May 8, 2024. A phenomenal price!

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