Skip to main content

Community Voice Responses (Feb. 27, 2018)


(Photo courtesy Phil Arnold Professional Coin Grading Service)

From the Feb. 2 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Are you willing to pay more for coins that were once sunken treasure?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

I have a collection of shipwreck coins, but the premiums (and my budget) have forced me out of the market. Up to my budget limit per coin, the premium is not important.

But when a U.S. $20 gold coin is recovered in such quantities to make it a common date, and they are asking $5,000, that is way over the limit. I can’t help but think that the only people who buy these are “investors” who buy into the hype. The true value would be what the seller would be willing to buy the coin back for. My guess is that they are not buying back because their stock is sufficient.

Dick Hanscom
Fairbanks, Alaska

I feel some may be worth the premium to the price. Others, not. If there is a historical fact to the item, yes. If not, no. I feel it’s not for me, being in retirement.

Gary Kess
Sherman, Texas

They are no more valuable to me than a similar coin in the same condition. The issue of “cleaning” (“restoration” in polite circles) is also at play, affecting value. Treasure coins are cleaned coins and the professional grading services should identify them as such.

D. Navrat
Burbank, S.D.

Am I willing to pay more?

I myself am not, but there are obviously thousands of people that are because they are smarter than me.

Max Stucky
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Yes, I would pay more for coins from a sunken treasure. There is so much history behind a coin from a shipwreck.

When my husband and I were married 20 years, he went to Shreve & Co. where Mel Fisher had part of his exhibit. He came home with a beautiful silver coin from the Atocha, including the papers.

I had it made into a brooch, in such a way that the coin could still be removed safely.

That all started me thinking about metal detecting. I have been detecting for about 10 years, but I have never found an older coin such as old shipwreck coins. Have to go to the Florida coast some time!

Mary Soultanian
Address withheld

Yes and no to the question. I have a beautiful coin that has been called saltwater damaged. Because they don’t know what wreck it came from, it is considered damaged. It is a 1843 $5 Liberty. It seems to me that it has more history to it than the average coin of the same era. It doesn’t seem fair. The same coin from the SS Central America would be worth 10 times more. Go figure!

David Yoham
Address withheld

Of course ... sunken treasure is not exactly legal tender.

Leslie Purchase
Address withheld

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700 is your guide to images, prices and information on coins from so long ago.

• More than 600 issuing locations are represented in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800 .