A 29.5kg silver ingot recovered from the wreck of a 17th century Spanish treasure ship is to sell at Christie’s.
It’s set to cross the block in the January 20 Important American Furniture sale in New York, where it’s expected to achieve around $20,000-25,000.
The ingot weighs just under 30kg
The ingot was part of a massive cargo of treasure loaded on to the Nuestra Senora de Atocha (Our Lady of Atocha), which was anchored in the Florida Keys throughout the summer of 1622.
Disaster would strike on the return journey to Spain.
Jill Waddell of Christie’s explained: “The Atocha was so richly laden with treasures that it had taken two months to load, and it left port at Havana six weeks later than scheduled…
“When a hurricane struck, the boat was slammed into a reef, sinking in just 55 feet of water. Only five of those who had been on board survived.”
Treasure hunter Mel Fisher found the wreck in 1985, after five years of searching. After a prolonged court battle with the State of Florida, he was awarded the rights to all of the loot aboard.
It’s the most valuable wreck found to date. In fact, the loss of the Atocha and its sister ship the Santa Margarita almost bankrupted Spain.
Despite its centuries in the briny deep, the ingot remains remarkably well preserved.
Waddell continued: “In actuality, it looks as though it has fallen off the moon.
“It’s got this wonderful, deep-grey, craggy surface, and the marks remain deep and clearly legible.
“It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve handled in my career, and captures a remarkable moment in history.”
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