Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/17/11 Report - Shipwreck Count Estimation

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Encrusted Scissors.

Photo received by email from the Mel Fisher organization.

The trail of the Atocha has been producing a lot of artifacts in recent weeks. A number of encrusted objects, including these scissors, were found recently.

I've shown some found Florida bottles in the past. As you might know, nice old bottles can bring good prices.

One prototype 1915 Coca Cola bottle, of which there are two known to exist, is going up for auction. Pre auction estimates are in the range of $10,000 - $20,000.

If you want to learn more about that bottle, here is the link.

I mentioned people finding shipwreck artifacts a week or two ago on one of the beaches that eroded better than most.

Below is one example - a nice brass or copper nail.

Photo submitted by Jorge Y.

I think I recently mentioned that Odyssey Marine Explorations publishes some very good articles on shipwrecks.

Below are a couple of interesting paragraphs from one of those articles, written by Greg Stemm.

Research indicates that during five years in the mid 19th century, ten thousand sailing ships insured in England alone were lost in various parts of the world, nearly a thousand of them without a trace . While this is certainly not a representative sample that can be extrapolated in order to determine the total number of shipwrecks, it can be used as a rough starting point. In this case, just one country (albeit one with a highly developed maritime industry) lost 2,000 ships per year. If one were to assume that during the last three thousand years, 1,000 shipwrecks per year throughout the entire world have been lost and preserved in a state that would constitute a cultural resource, that would indicate a total resource in excess of 3,000,000 shipwrecks. This estimate is probably conservative, but it is certainly a starting point.

That is certainly an astounding number of shipwrecks. But while any shipwreck might be interesting to someone interested in maritime history, not all shipwrecks hold what the general population thinks of as treasure.

Here is another paragraph from the same article.

Based on extensive research within our own firm, we estimate the total number of previously unsalvaged shipwrecks lost with cargoes of high intrinsic value, with data that gives some indication of their location to be less than 200 worldwide. The number of economically viable projects is probably much less than that, perhaps as few as 20 or 30. Not surprisingly, the press often gives a different picture, suggesting that there are thousands of potentially valuable shipwrecks. In truth the vast majority have no commercial value. Many "treasure hunting" expeditions are actually seeking shipwrecks with little or no commercial value, and rely on hyperbole and misinformation to lure investors to participate in their project.

The firm referred to, of course, is Odyssey Marine.

Many shipwrecks are in deep water where salvage is very difficult and very expensive, putting many of those wrecks out of range of any but the most well equipped and funded companies.

Don't forget to respond to the new blog poll. Your answers will provide good information that we all can use.

The wind is from the west today and the seas are around three or four feet.

A cold front is coming through and tomorrow the prediction is for 7 foot seas. Hopefully the swells will hit the beaches at a good angle.

After Friday the first thing I would do is check out the beaches that cut last week. Additional erosion on those beaches could produce some good finds.

Happy hunting.