Thursday, June 26, 2014

6/26/14 Report - 16th Century La Plata Mint, 18th Century French Weapons Recovered, Jesuit Missions, & T. C. Silver & Ivory Higa

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Encrusted 18th Century Weapons Salvaged From Alexandria
Note: An incomplete post was showing up earlier.  Sorry for the mistake.

You will often see encrusted items.  Here are some 18th Century French weapons recovered by divers near Alexandria, Egypt.

You can see the trigger and trigger guard on the one third from right.

Immediately below is the link for more of the story and the source of the photo.

The other day I showed a Potosi minted coin found by the crew of the Capitana on the Green Cabin wreck site.  While we determined that the cob is from Potosi, there was actually another mint that produced cobs that were indistiguisable from Potosi cobs.  The short-lived La Plata mint produced 134,000 reales in face value from Dec. 20, 1573 to March of 1574 using dies and other tools and equipment sent from the Potosi mint.

Both the La Plata mint and Potosi used the mint mark of P, and Rincon was the assayer for both.  Since they used dies from Potosi and since the mint mark and assayer initials were the same for both, it would be virtually impossible to distinguish between cobs made at those two mints.  Howver, only the Potosi mint made eight-reales.  La Plata manufactured only the lower denominations.

I obtained that information from Stuart Menzel's book Cobs, Pieces of Eight and Treasure Coins. 

Here is a nice map of the early Florida missions from  The link for the map and other informatin can be found below.  It is worth checking.

You can't do much with ivory these days.  Below is a paragraph form Kovels Komments on the issue.

Example of Found Higa or Figa
Lawmakers in New York State have voted to outlaw the sale of items that are over 100 years old and made with more than 20 percent elephant ivory, mammoth ivory or rhinoceros horn. These rules for antique ivory are stiffer than those of the federal government (see the June 20 New York Times article.) There is great confusion about the new laws. I recently asked a museum curator if he could accept a 112-year-old humidor made of a piece of an elephant tusk mounted with Gorham silver and marked with the date. He didn't know. The federal law says old or new ivory can't be accepted by a museum, and we know many antique pieces have been destroyed in Colorado. Recently, antique musical instruments with ivory inlay were exempted.

You might wonder what that has to do with Treasure Coast treasures.  There have been a few ivory pieces found on the Treasure Coast shipwrecks.   One is an ivory and silver higa found on a beach years ago.  I believe there was a nearly identical one found on the Atocha.

If you don't know what a higa is, it is a charm to ward off evil eye or curses.  Higa's have been made and used for centuries.

On the Treasure Coast detecting conditions haven't changed.  The only difference is that the surf will be about a foot bigger the next few days.

Happy hunting,