November 2021 Treasure of the Month

Our Treasure of the Month for November is this silver wedge shaped ingot, partially encrusted in a matrix of shells and other ocean deposits which gives the piece its unique character. Weighing in at an impressive 1905 grams (about 4.2 pounds), this item is one of the largest silver wedges that we have come across. The first recorded recovery of silver wedge shaped ingots from the 1715 Fleet occurred in mid-August, 1960. On that day members of the future Real Eight Company found their first of several wedges from what they would later refer to as the “Wedge Wreck”, just north of Fort Pierce Inlet.

It has been surmised that when laid in a circle, like a pie, they could have been concealed in the false bottom of a keg or cask. These wedges never show any of the official markings applied at a mint or foundry. Therefore, the conclusion is obvious. They were contraband smuggled on board to avoid paying official taxes.

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These wedges come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Our featured wedge is 6” x 4” x 4”, making it one of the largest we have seen. Although this piece has been verified as 95% silver, it feels lighter than it looks because it is composed of a silver amalgam which makes it less dense than solid silver. A very similar-looking silver wedge can be found on page 124 of Spanish Treasure Bars From New World Shipwrecks by Craig, Alan K. and Richards, Ernest J, (EN RADA Publications 2003). It is also currently featured as Lot 77 of Sedwick Treasure Auction # 30, November  4-5 & 8, 2021 to be held in Maitland, Florida. A more detailed description can be found on page 35 of the auction catalogue.

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For more about silver wedge shaped ingots from the 1715 Fleet see our Treasure of the Month for December 2013, February 2018 and March 2019.

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