What do you imagine when you think about treasure recovered from sunken Spanish galleons?
Pieces of eight?
Many coin collectors dream of these.
Imagine making them the basis of your business.
That is what the Florida firm of Daniel Frank Sedwick LLC does.
Results of its Nov. 2-3 public sale and Nov. 5 online sale have just reached my desk courtesy of Connor Falk.
The sale featured 2,300 lots.
It realized over $3.1 million, including a 19 percent buyer’s fee.
This is a record for the firm, Falk said.
In other words, the treasure business is booming.
Let’s start with the silver bars.
Falk pinpointed two.
“Strong bids were placed for two large silver bars, lots 256 and 257, recovered from the shipwreck of the Atocha, sunk in 1622 off Key West, Fla.
“Both bars came with Mel Fisher photo-certificates, were graded Class Factor 1.0, were of similar weight (83 troy pounds, 2.3 troy ounces and 81 troy pounds, 6.56 troy ounces, respectively), and estimated at $30,000 to $45,000 each.
“The bars ended up selling for $59,500 and $56,525, respectively.”
A troy pound contains 12 troy ounces, so the first bar weighed 998.3 ounces.
Sale price works out to $59.60 an ounce, which is far higher than a modern ounce sells for, which traded at $14.03 this morning as reported by www.Kitco.com.
The second bar is 978.56 ounces.
This works out to $57.76 an ounce.
Bars and coins from the Spanish Empire in the New World were shipped to Imperial Spain.
An early coin from Mexico City sold for $83,300 on an estimate of $35,000-$70,000.
This was a Charles and Joanna “Early Series” 3 reales graded Numismatic Guaranty Corporation VF30 in lot 664.
Charles was the reigning king of Spain when Cortes took over the Aztec Empire beginning in 1519.
The coin is from about two decades later.
The Sedwick auction also featured world coin rarities led by a six-coin set of gold pieces from Cuba dated 1915.
Each coin in the set was sold individually, but they were all purchased by the same buyer.
The total of the six prices realized was $473,025.
Falk noted that the "1, 2, 4, 10 and 20 pesos are specimen strikes and certified as such by NGC.
"They are the only known specimen strikes for the series.
"The sixth coin, a 5 pesos, was graded NGC MS 66+ for its exceptional surfaces and is the finest graded for the type."
That’s quite a set.
It must be fascinating to be able to handle such rarities instead of just writing about them.
That’s the trade-off Falk made.
I am proud to say that he once worked in the Numismatic News office, where his career was launched.
Working on sales like this is a great demonstration of success.
Congratulations to the Sedwick firm and to Connor Falk.
I look forward to reports of many more sales to come in the future.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017. He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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