Nick Graver forward this Associated Press article about the upcoming sale of some of Mel Fisher's treasures from the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha. Thanks.
Nuestra Senora de Atocha went down in a violent hurricane in 1622 near the Florida Keys laden with New World gold while en route to Spain. It was among a fleet of nine ships that were lost at sea; hundreds of people perished, including nobility who brought along their personal jewels.
Treasure hunter Mel Fisher searched 16 years for it before discovering the Atocha motherlode in 1985. What he found was the stuff of legends — 40 tons of silver and gold, fine Colombian emeralds and over 1,000 silver bars.
On Aug. 5, Guernsey's will auction 40 select items from the doomed ship. They represent some of Mel and Dorothy Fisher's favorite pieces, said their daughter, Taffi Fisher Abt. Fisher died in 1998; his wife, Dorothy, died in 2009.
They include two spectacular gold chains. One, called a "money chain," has big links the size of a thumbnail and extends past the waist. Fisher wore it on the "Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" soon after the ship's discovery.
In the Colonial era, the Spanish king placed a 20 percent tariff on gold bullion called the Royal Fifth. But if the gold was turned into jewelry, the tax was forgiven.
Each link of the "money chain" is of equal size and weight and could be twisted off and used as formal currency. It could bring $90,000 to $120,000.
I wasn't familiar with the 'money chain'. Interesting. Is there a basis in fact for this, or is it just a fanciful marketing tale?
To read the complete article, see:
Treasures From Sunken Spanish Galleon Set for Auction
Wayne Homren, Editor
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