While searching through some archival documents the other day I came across a newspaper article from the Orlando Sentinel dated June 5, 1967. It reports that the Real 8 Company opened its 1967 salvage season with typical gusto. The company reportedly sold an eight escudos gold Royal dated 1702 for an astounding $10,500.00. (NOTE: The same coin would sell in todays market for hundreds of thousands of dollars).
Also, the newspaper article told the story of a diver, a new member to the diving team, who got into trouble when he ran out of air while searching the area. This diver had recovered some significant artifacts. However his recoveries had taken him an unsafe distance from their recovery vessel, the Derelict, when his air supply ran out. As the diver came to the surface it was obvious he was in trouble because he could not stay afloat. The weight of his finds was keeping him from staying on the surface. Determined to hang on to his recoveries the diver struggled but would not let go of his finds. Fortunately, an off-duty diver in his private outboard came along and offered assistance to the troubled diver.
Among his recoveries was a gilded pewter teapot or urn (See picture above). It was his most thrilling find on that fateful afternoon in June, 1967. Who was this mystery diver? None other than our own Advisory Board member John de Bry. Here is a picture of John on the deck of the Derelict with his prized recovery. The 1967 salvage season proved to be a memorable year for the Real 8 Company and John de Bry.
John de Bry aboard the “Derelict” with his first major find now in the McLarty Museum, Sebastian Beach, Florida. (1967)