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Update: 2024 Conference & Meeting in Vero Beach

Work has been moving forward as we plan for our upcoming conference in January. As previously indicated, our conference will be in Vero Beach, January 8 – 10, 2024. The actual formal presentations will be on Tuesday, January 9, and Wednesday, January 10. This will be preceded by a Meet and Greet/Reception on January 8 at The Heritage Center located at 2140 14th Avenue, Vero Beach. We will have several authors available to sign books including Allen Balogh, Tammy Gross, Alex Kuze, and Carol Tedesco to name a few. Carol Tedesco’s books, Treasure Coins of the Nuestra and Señora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita, and Untangling the Record – A Contemporary Review of Potasi and Lima Mint Coins and Assayer History from the Mint Openings Up to 1622, will be for sale after her presentation on Tuesday, January 9. In addition, Cori Sedwick Downing’s book, The Charles and Joanna Silver Coinage of Santo Domingo, 1542-1552, will also be for sale after her presentation on Wednesday, January 10. Major bookseller Alan Workman will attend with a wide array of shipwreck, treasure, and related books from his vast and impressive inventory. Other books will be available for sale as well. We also plan to have some local artists who make Fleet-related or maritime art for sale. Finally, we are going to advertise in the local community that we will have several people available to examine coins and artifacts that locals may have to see what the items are and what they might be worth. Currently, we are planning to have the Meet and Greet/Reception from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The time is flexible and might change since it will be on a Monday and people who work might want to attend but cannot because of their schedule so we are leaving the time open to a degree.

January 9 and 10 will be the two days when our featured speakers will deliver their presentations. This will be at the Costa d’Este Beach Resort located at 3244 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach. This facility in my opinion is a first-rate Resort. Located on the beach it has a restaurant, bar, spa, and an excellent staff. You can read more about the resort here. If you would like to book a room you can get a discount by using our discounted link here. Other hotels in the area include the Holiday Inn and the Driftwood, both within walking distance.

Below is the tentative agenda and speakers. We understand that sometimes things happen and people who signed up to speak have emergencies and cannot fulfill their commitments. So, we do have backup speakers to fill in — Dave Crooks (the Society’s Librarian) and our Vice President, Phil Flemming.


Tuesday, January 9, 2024:

8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Continental Breakfast
8:45 a.m. to 900 a.m. Welcome — Ben Costello
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Charlie Winn — “ New Information and Insights on 1715 Fleet Pedigreed Coins”
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Carol Tedesco — “Silver Treasure Coins of the Americas: Histories and Mysteries”
11:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Break
11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. John Brandon — Topic: TBA
12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Rick Beleson — “The Dragon Whistle”
2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Break
2:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Carl Allen — “Allen X and Current Work on the Maravillas and New Wrecks”
6:00 p.m. – Dinner Meeting — TBA

Wednesday, January 10, 2024:

8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Continental Breakfast
8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Welcome — Ben Costello
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Jorge A. Proctor — “New Archival Research on the 1715 Fleet”
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Nichole Johanson — Topic: TBA
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Cori Sedwick Downing — “ The Charles and Joanna Silver Coinage of Santo Domingo, 1542 – 1552”
12:00 Noon to 1:30 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mike Perna — Topic: TBA
2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Break
2:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Barry Clifford — “The Pirate Ship Whydah and its Relationship to the 1715 Fleet”
4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Conference Gifts and closing remarks — Ben Costello

Please note that this schedule is tentative and the times are subject to some modification.

Unlike last year we have created a list of sponsorships. This is necessary because these conferences are expensive and we need the support of our members, the public, and the Vero Beach community to keep them going. Obviously, there are many expenses associated with producing a conference. We cannot expect to break even by selling tickets. So, we will be contacting key individuals seeking their support. The list of sponsorships will be posted in a few days.

Tickets are hopefully going to be on sale to members by mid-September and to the public by the end of September. We have not yet determined the cost as we are still estimating our expenses to make sure that we stay on budget. Remember though, that members get a 10% discount on the ticket price. Also, unlike last year, we will allow people to buy a ticket for one day at half the price of a full-day ticket. This is because we received a number of complaints last year because people were required to buy a full ticket even if they could only be there for one day.

Our Regional Director Jim Wilson and Society member Roberta Murray have been instrumental in helping with organizing events and logistics. They have been a real help to me and I want everyone to know that without their assistance my job would be 10 times harder.

This is just a short update. Much more information will be provided as we draw closer to mid-September when tickets will (hopefully) be available. One more thing, if you are planning to stay in any local hotel (Costa d’Este or elsewhere) make your reservations now as January is a busy time for local hotels.

Ben Costello
President, 1715 Fleet Society

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