Monday, November 26, 2012

11/26/12 Report - Eroding Dunes, Coin News and More Info on the Gold Pelican of Piety

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Bathtub Beach Photo by Joan T.
I posted this photo by Joan T a few days ago and wanted to revisit it.  There is more to be seen than simply erosion.  Notice the different layers that were exposed.  Each layer was deposited at a different time and under most circumstances the older layers bearing older items will be on the bottom with the newer layers and newer objects near the surface.

When you see layers exposed like this, take a look.  Notice what they are made of and look for any clues that might reveal the age of the various layers.

Sometimes newer items will be found in lower layers and newer items in higher layers.  When sand is dug up and moved you can get million year old fossils in the same layer as plastic water bottles.

Shipwreck coins buried in the dunes will often be associated with a particular layer and type of sand or material.   When you can identify which layers are older and which contain old items, remember what that layer looks like.  

When the dunes erode, they will often undercut from the bottom and then the upper layers fall and get washed by the waves.  That can mix old items with newer items.  But what you want to do is identify when possible which layers contain the good targets and watch for those layers to erode.

You can now consign auction items for the Spring Sedwick Coin auction.  There are advantages to consigning early.  Cash advances are even possible.  The deadline is February 15.

The most recently completed Sedwick auction prices totaled over $2.25 million.

The Florida United Numasmitists (FUN) coin show will be in Orlando Jan. 10 -13 of 2013.  If you want to consign or see what they have, Sedwick will have a table at the FUN show.

For more info on the show, here is the link.

Below is another installment by Laura Strolia on the Pelican of Piety.  If you haven't been following this, check out the 10/7/12 and 11/4/12 posts in this blog.



The Gold Pelican in Piety of the 1715 Fleet – Part III

by Laura Strolia

(See 10/07/12 Report for Part I and 11/04/12 Report for Part II)


In previous content about the pelican in piety, it was revealed that it ruptured its heart to give its own blood as nourishment for the sake of others.  This, of course, was a representation of Jesus Christ who suffered and died for all mankind.  The last wound of Jesus happened on the Cross when the lance pierced His side and penetrated into His Sacred Heart.  Through Christ’s Sacred Heart of everlasting love, He permitted Himself to be sacrificed in order to save the world, just as the pelican in piety did to save its young. The 1715 Fleet ornament of the pelican in piety originally left the port city of Veracruz, with a strong likelihood it was made in Mexico City.  There is a high level of significance surrounding this sculptured pelican, exhibiting a Sacred Heart on its breast, because the artifact may be an important clue as to when the Sacred Heart devotion spread to New Spain.

St. Gertrude (d. 1302) and her story, in which Christ appeared to her under a form of a pelican with blood flowing from His Sacred Heart, continued on for centuries.  But it wasn’t until the late 1680s that the devotion of the Sacred Heart swept through Europe.  This was mostly due to the published works of Jesuit Father Claude La Colombière (canonized in 1992), in which he wrote about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) and her apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Furthermore, it has been speculated and theorized that the swift movement of this devotion from the Old World first entered the Far East before continuing on to what is now Mexico, Central America, and South America.  On the Spanish frontiers, it was the Jesuit missionaries who paved the way in making the devotion public.  They knew the concept of the Sacred Heart well, as this was their order’s object of devotion.  Likely, the Jesuits used visualizations of the pelican in piety in their Catechism teachings, which aided in the natives’ understanding of the Sacred Heart and Christ’s Passion.  The use of animal symbols became a tool to help the indigenous people grow in faith, as images and stories were things everyone related to while in the process of learning.

Special promises were made by the Lord to those devoted to his Sacred Heart and who worked for His glory, one being a gift of abundant blessings.  An example of a great wonder of Christ’s love and promise happened at the Colonial Jesuit mission of St. Gertrude, which was also called “La Piedad” (Piety).  The priest sent a blind catechist to manage the construction of the church, and when the building was complete, it amazingly ended up the best assembled initial church of all the surrounding missions.

If this devotion existed in Asia by 1709, when did it reach and impact regions in the Americas?  It is known, in 1732, a Jesuit from Puebla published a famous book that helped spread the popular piety surrounding the Sacred Heart. Perhaps though, it was between the earlier years of 1710-1720 that the first artistic representations of the Sacred Heart devotion emerged there.

The pelican in piety ornament from the year 1715 might have been one of the first symbolic art forms made in the New World of the Sacred Heart devotion, shedding light on its beginning popularity in Spain’s overseas colonies.

If the artifact would have reached its destination in Europe, it would have likely awakened the spirits of those who gathered for the procession of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Spain’s famous Feast Day of celebration.  In addition, if the ornament would have survived the years within its assigned Church, it might also have been acknowledged in great number on another important date in the Liturgical Church year. For it was in 1856 that the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was established as obligatory for all of the Church, held on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi.

To see a beautiful mural of the pelican in piety, please visit the Loretto Chapel located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Hopefully one of the chapters in my future book will be dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and reveal insight into the other 1715 Fleet artifacts containing this image.


“Every religious artifact from the 1715 Fleet is a significant piece of sacred art which reflects the Christian faith and life of the age.” – Laura Strolia