Monday, August 24, 2015

8/24/15 Report - Contraband Treasure and Signs To Look For. Shipping Containers for Treasure. Danny Disappeared.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Active Atlantic
Source: National Hurricane Center
As you can see Danny fell apart.  That is the end of him.  However, there are two more systems coming off of Africa.

The one behind Danny has an eighty percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.  It seems to be on a similar path.

Here are some more fresh escudos that were on display Thursday.

Three More Of The Escudos Displayed At Thursday Press Release.

I'm not absolutely sure, but from what I can see of the two shields, it looks like they might be from Bogota, Columbia.

Correct me if I'm wrong about that.  As you know, I'm not any kind of expert on numismatics.

We are fortunate to see so many fine examples.  It gives you an idea about what was on these wrecks and what could possibly be found.


Yesterday I started talking about the recent finds and how they might have ended up where they were found.   In my opinion there would be very little chance of the cobs that descended to deep cracks or tight crevices would ever be washed up on the beach.

I think I mentioned yesterday that I didn't know of any evidence of any bags or boxes associated with those cobs.  The   treasure chests that held the cobs on the Atocha were simply plain boxes nailed shut.  They weren't ornate at all, and didn't have a lid that flips up.  While the dimensions varied, the tops and bottoms were around 57 by 22 cm., and the sides were 57 by 16 cm.  There were no hinges or hardware.  Below is a picture of one such unexcavated box as found on the site of the Atocha.


One chest of silver reales held 2,225 cobs of various denominations, and weighed just over 130 pounds.

As you probably know, a lot of the treasure on these galleons was contraband.  I found a very good article about contraband treasure.  The title is Talegas and Hoards: The Archaeological Signature of Contraband on a 1725 Spanish Merchant Vessel, by John Foster, Matthew Maus and Anna Rogers. The authors attempted to identify common characteristics of contraband treasure.  The paper is base upon observations of contraband treasure found on the site of the Nuestra Senora de Begona.  I think you'll find the article interesting.

"Talegas" are bags.  While they did not discover intact bags, that article did show pictures of the clumped contents of such bags (Shown immediately below.)

The primary purpose of the Foster paper was to help identify contraband.  Here are their conclusions.

Contraband treasure tends to consist of coins of highly diverse origin.  They would be stored in containers of different sizes and shapes, mostly smaller, rather than being shipped in standard size containers such as the shipping boxes and bags like those I mentioned.  They tend to consist more of small denomination coins.  Contraband coins tend include a wide variety of dates and show a good amount of wear from circulation.  They also may include clipped coins.  Of course they are unregistered and may be unstamped.  They also may show evidence of having been concealed in barrel bottoms or other methods of concealment.

If you compare the finds recently made by the Capitana guys, you won't find much to make you think those escudos were contraband.  In fact the unusual group of 1711 Mexican royals were about the opposite of what you would expect of contraband.

Is it possible they were wedding gifts meant for the Isabel Farnese, the new wife of Philip V.  They were married in 1714.  I guess it is possible.

At one time the newly found escudos were probably in a shipping chest like those described above. What happened to the chest is unknown.  It could have been broken at any point.  If it remained in the sea, it probably disintegrated long ago.

I think you'll find the Foster paper to be very interesting reading.  Here is the link.


I heard the other day that a device that repels sharks is being sold for surf boards.  It emits some sort of signal.

Here is a link about that.


I'm not expecting any change in beach detecting conditions now that Danny has disappeared.  We'll get a storm some day for the Treasure Coast.  It is long over due.

Happy hunting,