Treasure of the Month – August 2016

Our featured Treasure of the Month for August is a gold pectoral bar from the 1715 Rio Mar wreck site near Vero Beach, Florida.

Retrieved by Don Porter working from the salvage vessel Virgalona in 1969, this small bar is one of the very few gold bars or discs found on any of the 1715 Fleet wreck sites. Upon close inspection, the bar displays two small crown tax stamps, indicating that it was part of the registered cargo and not contraband. The Roman numerals IXX (XXI viewed from another angle) represents the fineness of the gold, here 21 kt. Tons of silver and gold coins have been salvaged from the 1715 wreck sites, but gold and even silver ingots are a Fleet rarity.

This piece is on display at The Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee. Image courtesy of The Florida Division of Historical Resources.

2 thoughts on “Treasure of the Month – August 2016”

  1. Avatar of Edwin Mariman

    Dear Mr. Costello, for a few years I am composing a reference work of the Cathholic rosaries and chaplets. However, I studied the history of Catholic prayer beads for over twenty years. A peculiar thing that I discovered is, that the Spanish rosary from the times before the Spanish civil war has a typical configuration that distinguishes it from the rosaries that were used in the rest of Europe. The question are, which composition is the ancestral one and how and why two different forms originated. In this respect, the rosaries found at the 1715 fleet wrecks can give an important clue or at least can contribute to the matter. Two things I can see already at the available pictures: the detected rosaries do indeed have the Spanish configuration, and they have the metal thread-woven parts, a technique that was claimed by French medalists from the beginning of the 19th century. However, it was suggested that this technique existed at earleir times. This is what these rosaries demonstrate.
    This information can be found at the website with Chapter 10 on the Spanish rosaries and Chapter 36A on the woven metal parts.
    My actual questions are: is it possible to obtain additional pictures of the found rosaries and attached medals, and would it be allowed to include information about these rosaries at the website.

    Waiting for your reply, with kind regaards, Edwin Mariman

    1. Avatar of Ben Costello

      Dear Mr. Mariman, I’m in receipt of your inquiry. It is my understanding that you are requesting additional pictures of rosaries that were found on the 1715 Fleet sites. Is that correct?

      If so, then I would refer to you Daniel Frank Sedwick of Winter Park, Florida who runs an auction house and most likely has the largest collection of rosary images of anyone that I know. I would suggest you access his and contact him from there.

      You also asked whether or not you would be able to include information about these rosaries at the website. If you are referring to my website, you would need to let me know what pictures you’d like to use and if I own the copyright to those images I would be most happy to allow you to use the images. If I do not own the copyright, then I would be willing to refer you to the copyright owner to obtain permission.

      I am very interested in your endeavor and would like to be kept advised. I am happy to offer any assistance I can.

      Ben Costello
      Director, 1715 Fleet Society

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