Atocha Treasure Coins
Authentic Atocha Coins Recovered by Mel Fisher

 

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Atocha Silver Bars

The Atocha carried over one thousand silver bars, as listed on the Atocha's manifest, when it sank off the Florida Keys on September 6, 1622. The majority of the ingots weighed between sixty and seventy pounds and were the property of individuals, although one hundred thirty-three bars, shipped in thirty-four boxes and marked with a red crown belonged to King Philip IV himself.

Many Atocha silver bars were mined and processed in Potosi, now in present day Bolivia, and hauled great distances to Portobello, a Caribbean port in what is now the Republic of Panama.  The cargo was then loaded onto the Atocha; each item registered as it was brought aboard.  During processing, each bar was struck with a serial number and various monograms indicating the owner or shipper.  The mint's assayer would then remove his "bite", a small piece that was tested to determine the purity of silver.  Once purity was established, the ingot was struck with the "Ley" or fineness number, typically 2380 out of a possible 2400 or 99.2% pure. All bars not belonging to the king were also struck with one or more tax stamps indicating the 20% royal tax "Quinto" was collected. Some bars were dated.

Each bar was graded and assigned a class factor rating ranging from .5 to 1.0.  The very best bars received a 1.0 rating and are characterized as being listed on the ships manifest and having a clear fineness mark, talley number, and at least a partial date.  Class factor .9 bars are similar, but usually lack a date or have weaker markings.  0.8 bars are weaker yet, are almost always undated, but can still be traced to the manifest.   0.7 bars have at least two marks, but not of sufficient quality to trace the bar to the ships manifest.  0.6 bars have only light traces of marks and .5 bars have no marks at all.

Atocha bars are supplied with the original photo type Certificate of Authenticity and a booklet "Shipwrecks and Their Coins: Volume 1 - 1622 Spanish Treasure Fleet" that provides details about the fleet and its coins.


Atocha Bar - 85A-S296
Class Factor 1.0
    
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Certificate of Authenticity

 

Item#:  9108
TSI#:  85A-S296
Tag#:  2182
Manifest#:  4193
Class Factor:  1.0
Carat:  2380
Weight:  86 troy lbs 5.44 oz
Size:  34.1 x 13.9 x 8.5 cm
Date:  1621
Owner:  L. deArriola
Shipper:  L. deArriola to self

Price:   
SOLD

 

Excellent, heavy weight, class factor 1.0 bar with a very clear date. The bar is full of exceptionally strong markings as follows: left edge - "staff topped with a star" - undocumented owners mark similar to that used by J. Nunez and found only on bars owned by Arriola, lower left corner - "B"- another unknown mark still under study, right of staff with star - "monogrammed ARL with diamond above"- L. de Arriola owners mark, the same one used on the example bar image found on every certificate of authenticity, above diamond - "1621" - the date the bar was founded at the Potosi mint, top center - "IIIIUCXCIII" - tally number (the 4193rd bar founded at the Potosi mint during the year of 1621), middle center below IIIIUCXCIII - "double-scoop assayers bite" - this style is only found on bars founded in Potosi, bottom center - "IIUCCCLXXX" - silver fineness (2380 out of 2400 or 99.2% pure), bottom right - "V" - the Atocha's silvermaster mark (Jacove de Vreder).  In addition to these markings, this bar has four tax stamps, some of them being quite clear.  This bar is listed as number 296 in the book of "Spanish Treasure Bars from New World Shipwrecks" (which accompanies the bar).  The bar is also accompanied by the original Certificate of Authenticity issued by Mel Fisher's company, Treasure Salvors Inc., shown above.

Atocha Bar - 85A-S171
Class Factor 1.0
    
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Certificate of Authenticity

 

Item#:  4131
TSI#:  85A-S171
Tag#:  2174
Manifest#:  4717
Class Factor:  1.0
Carat:  2380
Weight:  79 troy lbs 6.24 oz
Size:  35.5 x 13.0 x 8.7 cm
Date:  1621
Owner:  Elvira Diaz
Shipper:  J. Delgado

Price:   
SOLD

 

This is an excellent class factor 1.0 bar with a very clear date. The bar is full of exceptionally strong markings as follows: lower left - "V" - the Atocha's silvermaster mark (Jacove de Vreder), right of V - "diagonal cut"- marks the portion of bar to be removed at the trips conclusion to pay the defense tax, top left - "+" - Jerusalem cross signifying the union of Church and State, right of cross - "monogrammed ELVR"- Elvira Diaz owners mark, found on only six bars, this being the nicest, below owners mark - "two round stamps" - two nice tax stamps signifying payment of the King's fifth, top center - "IIIIUDCCXVII" - tally number (the 4717th bar founded at the Potosi mint during the year of 1621), middle center below IIIIUDCCXVII - "1621" - the date the bar was founded at the Potosi mint, right of 1621 date "double-scoop assayers bite" - this style is only found on bars founded in Potosi, bottom center - "IIUCCCLXXX" - silver fineness (2380 out of 2400 or 99.2% pure), top right - "chop marks over V" - a cancelled attempt at stamping the owners mark.  In addition to these markings, this bar has a third  tax stamp to the lower right of the double-scoop assayers bite.  This bar is listed as number 171 in the book of "Spanish Treasure Bars from New World Shipwrecks" and is accompanied by the original Certificate of Authenticity issued by Mel Fisher's company, Treasure Salvors Inc. as shown above.

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