Thursday, August 4, 2016

8/4/16 Report - A Very Unique Gold 1715 Fleet Ring. Sedwick Coins Auction of Potosi Transitional Cobs. Bridge of San Luis Rey.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

 Illustration of Unique 1715 Fleet Sacred Heart Ring
Submitted by Darrel Strickland

This very unique ring was found by the MV Gold Duster years ago on the Cabin wreck site and was reported in the 1999 Florida East Coast Shipwreck report.  There are other rings of the Spanish colonial period that feature a face, but they are very different than this one.

To begin with I want to point out that author and researcher Laura Strolia wrote extensively on the sacred heart in Spanish Colonial history. See my 11/5/15 and 11/9/15 reports, for example.

Here is a direct link to the 11/5 post.

If you read those posts you know that the sacred heart symbol was a very common design motif during the Spanish colonial period,  I've also posted information on cobs that have the shape of the sacred heart.

What is unique about the gold ring shown above, is the face engraved on the sacred heart. The face looks very much like something from a Picasso painting.

The native populations created similar types of images.  This is believed to be one of very few objects found on the 1715 Fleet that clearly shows the work of mestizo (mixed Spanish and indigenous heritage) artisans.

Two low carat gold rings and a low carat clasped hands bracelet, along with a small number of silver coins and one gold coin were found in the same area.  The report asks, "Could this (the ring) represent the holdings of a mestizo of some means aboard the vessel."  There are many questions remaining to be answered.  As I've said before, I have some developing theories which I'm not yet ready to make public.

It looks to me that this ring could have been altered.  It could be that the face was a later addition. It reminds me of a Victorian love token.  Those were often made from coins that were engraved with person messages and images.  I'll take a deeper look at love tokens some other day.

Here is one Victorian love token that was made from a dime.

A Love Token Made From a Dime.

Although it has been speculated that the face was originally created with the face of Christ on it, it would be easy to imagine a bored sailor or passenger engraving a face upon the ring.


Among the items included in the next Sedwick Coins auction in November of this year will be the following.

• The Charles Eidel collection of shipwreck and Spanish colonial coins, assembled in the 1980s by one of the most active collectors in the field, and the Roberto Mastalir collection of Potosí 1652 Transitional cobs, assembled with hundreds of specimens pictured throughout Sr. Mastalir’s multi-volume reference The Great Transition at the Potosí Mint 1649-1653 (2015-16), in fact the most complete 1652-Transitional collection ever assembled.

•There will be hundreds of Potosí, Lima and Mexico cobs of all denominations from several collections.

It is not too late to consign yours.


If you are a student of the 1715 Fleet or the Spanish Colonial era, you should read the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Bridge of San Luis Rey.

It is fiction, but I think you could call it historical fiction.  It is based on a real bridge constructed between Lima and Cusco in the 14th century and used for centuries.  The story takes place on July 20, 1714 when the bridge collapses killing five people who were crossing.  The bridge actually did not collapse then, but the disaster was used to explore the lives of the five people who were killed during the fictional collapse.  At least a couple of the people were loosely based upon real people.  In the book, a Brother Juniper, a Franciscan monk who was on his way to cross the bridge when it collapsed, interviews everybody he can find who knew the five people killed in order to learn what he could about God's will and the five people who died.

I hope I didn't tell too much, but I do think you'll find it good reading.

I think you should get college credit for reading this blog.


Tropical storm Earl is now over Yucatan.  Otherwise there is no new weather to watch.

Happy hunting,