Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Fishpool Hoard

The Fishpool Hoard of 1,237 15th century gold coins, four rings and four other pieces of jewellery, and gold chain was discovered by workmen on a building site in Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire, England in 1966.

The hoard was probably buried in haste at some time between winter 1463 and summer 1464, perhaps by someone fleeing south after the Battle of Hexham in May 1464, in the first stages of England's War of the Roses.

The heart-shaped brooch is engraved with the phrase "je suys vostre sans de partier" (I am yours wholly).
The face value of the hoard when deposited was about £400, equivalent to around £300,000 today. It may have formed part of the Lancastrian royal treasury, entrusted to someone fleeing south after the Battle of Hexham (15 May 1464) and concealed by him deep inside Sherwood Forest.


http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/online_tours/britain/our_top_ten_british_treasures/the_fishpool_hoard.aspx


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Frome Hoard

The Frome Hoard is a hoard of 52,503 Roman coins found in April 2010 by Dave Crisp near Frome in Somerset, England.

The coins were contained in a ceramic pot and date from AD 253 to 305. Most of the coins are made from debased silver or bronze. The hoard is one of the largest ever found in Britain, and is also important as it contains the largest group ever found of coins issued during the reign of Carausius, who ruled Britain independently from 286 to 293 and was the first Roman emperor to strike coins in Britain.
After being declared a treasure, the hoard was valued at £320,250 and shared equally between the finder and the land owner.



Saturday, 22 June 2013

$ 11.15m briolette is now “The Star of China”

The new owner of what Christie’s auction house called the largest and most perfect briolette diamond ever sold at auction has identified herself and picked a name for the 75.36-carat gem. Tiffany Chen, vice chairman of China Star Entertainment Ltd., has revealed herself to be the owner of the briolette diamond. She named the diamond after her company, “The Star of China.”

The 75.36-carat briolette - a gem cut into a three-dimensional waterdrop shape - is suspended on a chain of diamonds. Chen purchased the diamond May 28 at Christie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale for more than $11.15 million, $148,000 per carat, a world record for a briolette diamond sold at auction.The briolette has been graded by the Gemological Institute of America to be of D color and type IIa.

The diamond is part of a pendant necklace that includes a marquise-cut purplish pink diamond suspended above the briolette.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonydemarco/2013/06/18/world-record-75-carat-briolette-diamond-named-star-of-china/



Tuesday, 18 June 2013

US silver certificate worth plenty

The certificate was issued in 1891, at a time when silver miners, Western mining companies, and some Western banks were objecting to the government's decision to essentially adopt a gold standard.

A law passed in 1878 required the government to buy several million dollars' worth of silver bullion and mint it into coins. Because the silver was so heavy, the government decided to issue certificates like this one that could be exchanged for the same face value in silver dollar coins.
The US government no longer prints silver certificates, and it hasn't exchanged existing ones for silver since the 1960s. But even now, those that remain outstanding are still legal tender and can be spent, according to the federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

$ 1000 in silver is a bargain. The note is one of only 2 known in existence and sold at auction for $2.6 million.
William L. Marcy was a 19th century politician and statesman who served as secretary of war, secretary of state, a senator, and governor of New York. He is also noted for saying, during a congressional debate over a nomination, "to the victor belong the spoils."

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100809554

Monday, 17 June 2013

The San Miguel & The Lost 1715 Treasure Fleet

On July 31, 1715 eleven of the twelve Spanish ships sailing from Havana to Spain with royal treasure were wrecked by a violent hurricane on the east coast of Florida from St. Lucie to Cape Canaveral.

Seven of these Spanish Treasure laden ships were scattered over the reefs from south of Fort Pierce to the Sebastian Inlet. Spanish coins of all types (gold and silver) started to be found on the beaches in the 1950s after strong nor'easters or a violent hurricane. This part of Florida's Atlantic east coast quickly became known as the Treasure Coast.
The (El Senor) San Miguel - was a 22 gun NAO Class(Fast Carrack). It very likely contained a significant portion of the treasure. It is believed the ship separated from the fleet the day before the storm struck and the wreck has never been found.

It is believed only a small fraction of the treasure of the lost 1715 Treasure Fleet has been recovered.
1715 Fleet ships believed to have been found are:

1 - Nuestra Senora de la Regla
2 - Santo Cristo de San Roman
3 - Nuestra Senora del Carmen
4 - Nuestra Se├▒ora de La Popa
5 - Nuestra Senora del Rosario
6 - Urca de Lima
7 - Nuestra Senora de las Nieves
- Ships of the 1715 Fleet never located are the:

8 - Maria Galante
9 - El Senor San Miguel
10 - El Cievro
11 - Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion

12 - Griffon made it safely and went on to France



VERO BEACH — Bonnie Schubert couldn’t believe her eyes when, about 1,000 feet off Frederick Douglass Beach near Fort Pierce, she came face to face with a solid gold statue of a bird that had lain under the Atlantic Ocean exactly 295 years and 15 days.

“I remember asking myself, ‘Is this real?’” Schubert recalled Wednesday as the 5.5-inch-tall statue she found Aug. 15 was revealed to the public at her home in the Vero Shores neighborhood of Vero Beach.“The Bird,” as it’s come to be known, is real all right.

So is it’s $885,000 appraised value.

The statue was aboard one of 11 Spanish ships laden with treasures from the New World that were bound from Havana to the court of King Phillip V before encountering a hurricane July 31, 1715, and sinking off the Treasure Coast.



Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Famous Gemstones I

The American Golden Topaz, is a 172-faceted topaz weighing 22,892.5 carats. (4.5785 kg) It is the largest cut yellow topaz in the world, and one of the largest faceted gems of any type in the world. Originating from Minas Gerais, Brazil, it was cut by Leon Agee over a period of two years from an 11.8 kg stream-rounded cobble.
The Star of India is a 563.35 carat star sapphire, one of the largest such gems in the world. It is almost flawless and is unusual in that it has stars on both sides of the stone. The greyish blue gem was likely mined in Sri Lanka and is housed in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

The milky quality of the stone is caused by the traces of the mineral rutile, which is also responsible for the star effect, known as asterism. The tiny fibers of the mineral, aligned in a three-fold pattern within the gem, reflect incoming light into the star pattern.
The DeLong Star Ruby is a 100.32 carats oval cabochon star ruby, discovered in Burma in the 1930s.

On October 29, 1964, the DeLong star ruby was one of a number of precious gems stolen in a notorious jewelry heist by Jack Roland Murphy and two accomplices. The stone was eventually recovered at a phone booth in Florida.
The Andamooka Opal is a famous opal which was presented to Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 on the occasion of her first visit to South Australia. It was discovered in Andamooka, South Australia, an historic opal mining town. The opal was cut and polished by John Altmann to a weight of 203 carats.
The Arco Valley Pearl is a white 575 carats natural blister baroque pearl with pink and yellow overtones. It measures 79 x 41 x 34 mm. It is the largest natural pearl outside a museum and the second biggest ever. Mongolian emperor Khubilai Khan reportedly gave it to Marco Polo.



Thursday, 6 June 2013

The SS Central America - 'Ship of Gold'

The SS Central America, 'Ship of Gold', was a 280-foot (85 m) sidewheel steamer that operated between Central America and the eastern coast of the United States during the 1850s.

The ship sank in a hurricane in September 1857, along with more than 550 passengers and crew and 30,000 pounds of gold. The wreck contributed to the financial panic of 1857.

The bullion had been shipped from San Francisco to the west coast of Panama, then sent by rail to the Central American nation's east coast and finally loaded onto the 280-foot steamship bound for New York.
A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operated by the Columbus-America Discovery Group of Ohio made the discovery on 11 September 1987. Significant amounts of gold and artifacts were recovered and brought to the surface by another ROV built specifically for the recovery.

The total value of the recovered gold was estimated at $100–150 million. A recovered gold ingot weighing 80 lb (36 kg) sold for a record $8 million.