Karl H. Goodpaster was a conservator for the Real Eight Company. In the 1960’s he developed a presentation that included a slide show. What follows is that presentation including his slides which have been digitally enhanced and reformatted for greater clarity. Along with the photographs is the actual written presentation that Mr. Goodpaster wrote. The flavor of his presentation is summed up in this tidbit from his notes: “I will attempt to show you in this presentation a cross section of artifacts that have been recovered from the clutches of the sea and some idea of the value, both historical and intrinsic, placed on these items.” A copy of his actual type written notes and comments follow these photographs. We have attempted to remain as true as possible to the original text but some grammatical changes were necessary.
Biography of Karl H. Goodpaster
Like many of the Real Eight people, Karl Worked For NASA (safety engineer in the Launch Support division) and hunted for treasure in his off hours. While we do not know much about Karl’s official role with Real Eight, we do know that he devised their coin-cleaning techniques and also did some early marketing and promotion.
When the first finds were made on the 1715 Fleet, the salvagers had little idea as to how to clean and preserve the coins and artifacts, but Karl came along With a proprietary technique and chemical formula. While we do not know what his formula was exactly, we can tell you that the coins in his estate demonstrate some skill, as almost all of them show a lovely “gunmetal” toning, kind of a chrome color, dark but shiny at the same time, that is rarely seen but highly sought today. It appears Karl also had the “pick of the litter” in terms of quality of coins to start with, as every coin in his estate is full weight (or nearly so) and uncorroded, with a preponderance of visible mint marks, assayers, denominations and even partial dates, not to mention interesting planchet shapes. Perhaps he acquired an entire chest and cleaned it all himself. Whatever the situation, the fact is that fresh offerings of choice coins with early Real Eight connections like this do not come around often any more, and the popularity for such coins has skyrocketed in recent years.
Mr. Goodpaster’s documents also reveal his role in early marketing and promotion, as he went to New York to check out Stack’s and Schulman (the latter of whom eventually held one of the most important 1715 Fleet auctions of all time) and some private dealers, most of whom told him that nobody cared about cobs at that time. After that, naturally his next stop was jewelers closer to home, but unfortunately we do not have any further connection between him and the marketing efforts.
The documents in Karl’s estate also show that he contacted the State of Florida on his own behalf for the rights to a 1715 Fleet site within one of Real Eighth lease areas. Karl had found some coins “on the beach” (including what has to be the world’s finest Mexican 8 reales 1702) and wanted to do his own salvaging; it is unclear as to whether he was still involved with Real Eight at this point. As we have seen time and again, when you get into the real “behind the scenes” aspect of treasure hunting, you tend to see some real drama!
Above it all, it is clear that Karl had a genuine passion For the 1715 Fleet. Among his non-coin possessions offered here is a slide show with notes that he used for talks and demonstrations. It was very organized and meticulous, and his slides include some incredible specimens, like a 1714 Royal 8 escudos. You can almost relive his presentation today from what he left behind.
This Biography courtesy of Daniel Frank Sedwick, Winter Park , Florida
Published in Treasure Auction #7 Catalog (Page 9)
by Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC. April 7-9 2010
The Karl H. Goodpaster Slide Presentation with Commentary