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Spanish Treasure Coin Jewelry - More Information


SPANISH TREASURE COIN JEWELRY

NUESTRA SENORA DE ATOCHA

TWO REALES

Obverse (front) Hapsburg Shield

Reverse (back) Cross with castles and lions in the quarter.

On September 6, 1622, the Spanish treasure ship Nuestra Senora De Atocha, was driven by a severe hurricane onto the coral reef near the Florida Keys.  With her hull ripped open, the vessel quickly sank.  More than two hundred and sixty persons perished and tons of gold, silver and other precious cargo was lost to the sea.  The wreck of the Atocha and her amazing treasure was finally located after twenty years of searching on July 20, 1985.

The Cedar Chest offers an extensive line of unique handcrafted treasure coin jewelry.  All coins are guaranteed genuine and are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.  They are mounted in solid 14kt. and 18kt. gold frames.  In addition, we offer a complete selection of precious and semi-precious stones that tastefully adorn our high quality frames. Each coin is its own special piece of history.  Included in the Cedar Chest collection are ancient Greek coins struck from as early as 550 B.C., ancient Roman selections, and a variety of Byzantine specimens.  Selections from the Middle Ages and medieval period to Spanish treasure featuring pieces of eight and gold doubloons.  All coins are fully certified by a numismatic authenticator.

 

 

TWO REALES COB COIN

SANTA MARGARITA – SISTER SHOP OF THE ATOCHA

Obverse (front) Hapsburg Shield

Reverse (back) Cross with castles and lions in the quarters.

On September 6, 1622, the heavily laden galleon of King Philip IV’s Tierra Firme Fleet grounded and broke up in a raging hurricane near the Florida Keys.  More than one hundred, twenty persons and her entire cargo of silver, gold and other precious items were lost to the sea.

The coins minted in the new world are usually irregular in shape and are referred to as “cobs”.  They were manufactured by slicing coin blanks from the end of crudely cast bars of refined bullion.  Then they were clipped to the requisite weight, heated, and hand-hammered between crudely engraved dies.  The rough surface and irregular circumference of the blanks prevented well defined strikes.  Consequently the legends are frequently missing or only partially shown.   The Spanish authorities were not interested in the shape of the coins, or having them show dates.  The important feature to them was the assayer’s mark as it guaranteed the fineness of the bullion and the proper weight.  The penalty for not showing this mark was severe.  Although cobs were never intended to circulate in Europe, they became a major currency all over the world, including the North American Colonies.

SILVER DENARO – CRUSADER COIN Circa 1100-1499 A.D.

Obverse (front) cross of Jerusalem (or Maltese cross) within circle

Reverse (back) cross above medieval castle within a circle.

These coins were struck in Genoa, Italy, the birthplace of Columbus, between the 13th and 15th centuries and are often referred to as Columbus coins.

SPANISH “PIECE OF EIGHT”

These coins, called cobs, were made from slabs of silver which were rolled into elongated shapes of variable thicknesses.  Slices were made from the bar with paring to the right weight done with metal shears or a chisel by hand.  This process accounts for the irregular edges.  The blanks were heated and annealed, then hand-hammered between crudely engraved dies.  The coins were struck in colonial Spanish America, and made without proper equipment, workmanship or supervision, often by slave labor. 

The Spanish authorities were unconcerned with the shape of the coin, with proper weight and fineness being paramount.  The assayer’s mark guaranteed the fineness of the bullion and the proper weight.  The penalty for cheating was severe, including death.  The reverse side of a typical cob reveals a cross, which symbolizes the union of church and state.  The obverse side typically contains the reigning monarch’s shield or a pillars-and-waves design.  Because of the hand-crafted method of manufacture, every cob is unique.

TWO REALES COB COIN Dated 1590

Obverse (front) Crowned Hapsburg shield (with date)

Reverse (back) Cross with lions and castles

Mint:  Granada

ONE ESCUDO Dated 1504 – 1566

Obverse (front) Crowned arms surrounded by legend

Reverse (back) Cross surrounded by legend

Spanish hand struck gold coin; Seville mint; Spain

Escudos were made of gold and have the same denominations as the silver reales.

HALF REALE Dated 1726

Obverse (front) crowned arms of the House of Bourbon surrounded by legend.  Mintmark and assayer mark visable.  Spanish coin minted in Segovia, Spain.

TWO REALES COB COIN Dated 1756

Obverse (front) Pillars within which are mint, denomination, assayer and date.

Reverse (back) Cross of Jerusalem within which lions and castles are quartered.  Spanish coin minted in Potosi, Bolivia.

QUARTER REAL, QUARTILLA

Quarter real coins were minted in the Central American country of Guatemala.  Guatemala was the seat of the Mayan civilization until the Conquistadors arrived in the 16th century and claimed Guatemala for Spain.  Spain ruled the country until 1821 when Guatemala declared its independence from Spain and became a state in the Central American Republic.  In the year 1840 Guatemala became truly independent as its own Republic.

FOUR HUNDRED REIS Dated 1720

Obverse (front) crowned name of the Emperor

Reverse (back) Cross of Jerusalem, Dated 1720

Portugal, a small country of 35,553 square miles would rise in the 12th century to become a leading contender as one of the major sea powers of the world.  Following centuries of domination by the Romans, Visigoths and Moors she became an independent kingdom.  Her location on the North Atlantic coast and a financially stable economy allowed her explorers to range the world’s oceans claiming all they discovered in the name of the Portuguese rulers, Prince Henry the Navigator being one of the most famous.  By 1494 Portugal was laying claim to almost half of the transoceanic world.

Unfortunately, the country despite her fearless navigators, explorers, and traders, could not continue to compete with the emerging power of larger countries such as Spain and England,.  She was, however, able to retain an impressive colonial empire including Brazil until the 19th century.

This beautiful coinage, minted in the wealthy city of Lisbon was important hard currency during the period of spice and silk trade.  Early on, the Portuguese established control over the flow of gold from Africa, making gold trade one of their great assets.  The 400 Reis coins struck in gold were minted in Portugal  from 1717 through 1821 with 22-carat fineness.

EL CAZADOR SHIPWRECK -  Half Real, Dated 1777

In 1784, the ill-fated ship, El Cazador, was headed toward New Orleans from Vera Cruz, Mexico.  The ship was laden with 450,000 pesos, which were intended to solidify Spain’s holdings of approximately one million square miles of America’s heartland, called The Louisiana Territory.  The vessel and her crew disappeared without a trace, never arriving to help stabilize the economy.

Finally, in 1800, with no money to pay his troops, King Charles IV of Spain transferred the Louisiana Territory over to Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte for some minor European considerations.  In 1803, only three years later, Napoleon and President Thomas Jefferson struck a deal called the Louisiana Purchase.  The fledgling United States purchased these one million square miles for fifteen million dollars, a mere 3 cents an acre.  The new United States doubles in size, taking on the shape that defines it today, opening up for westward expansion, and establishing America as the land of opportunity.

The El Cazador and its treasure sat on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico for 209 years before a fishing boat off the coast of Louisiana accidentally discovered it.  It’s hard to say what would have happened if the El Cazador had made it to New Orleans but it could be argued that the loss of this ship did contribute to the unifying of the United States of America.

Treasure of the Shipwreck PRINCESS LOUISA

The Princess Louisa, a huge East Indiamen ship, was lost on April 18, 1743 on Galleons Reef, in the treacherous waters off the Cape Verde Islands, near the Isle of May.  Her holds carried Spanish Colonial cob coinage from the mints of Potosi, Bolivia and Lima, Peru.  These coins were to be used to purchase silks, spices, and other valuable eastern items. 

Her tragic loss left a treasure lying undiscovered on the ocean floor for more than 250 years.  Although a recovery expedition was mounted in 1744, the salvage attempt was unsuccessful. Later attempts to find the wreck site were futile.  In 1998-99 an expedition by Arqueonautas, a well-known maritime archaeological recovery company, located and recovered the historical treasure coins.  Archaeologists from Oxford University confirmed that this wreck was indeed the Princess Louisa.

Silver Luigino from the Gela Ship

Twelve miles off the coast of Gela, Sicily, is the final resting place of an unnamed merchantman.  This trading ship was traversing the Mediterranean Sea, stopping in northern Italy, then around the island of Sicily, bound for Arab ports of the Near East.  Much of the treasure she carried was in the form of Spanish cobs and silver luiginos from Italian cities such as Fosdinovo and Tassarolo, a wine producing region of northern Italy.

Tassarolo is a county in the Alessandria province of Piedmont.  It came into the possession of the Spinola family in 1560.  That same year, Emperor Ferdinand I granted the Spinolas minting privileges.  Coins were struck by Agostino and his nephew Filippo.  The mint was closed in 1688 when Filippo died.


ANCIENT COINS


ANCIENT GREEK TETRADRACHM Dated 449 – 413 B.C.

Obverse (front) Head of Athens wearing crested helmet

Reverse (back) Owl standing right

Greek coin minted in Athens Greece

Athena was one of the most important goddesses. She sprang full grown and armored from the forehead of the god Zeus and was his favorite child. He entrusted her with his shield. She was the primarily the goddess of the Greek cities, of industry and the arts, wisdom and war. Athena was a patron of the agricultural arts and of the crafts of women, especially spinning and weaving. Among her gifts to man were the inventions of the plow and the flute and the art of taming animals, building ships, and making shoes. She was often associated with birds, especially the owl.

The Athenian Owl was not just a coin originating from Athens. It was a coin that was known for its silver purity. It stabilized the known world economy, and was accepted everywhere as good legal tender for trade and commerce. This coin was such a stabilizing factor that it was manufactured and remained in circulation for over 300 years (from around 430 to 99 B.C.).

These coins were hand struck from dies that were hand carved in there actual size. So, one will find a lot of variations in the coins due to the artesian who crafted the dies, and the mint from which the coins were struck. The weight of the coins varies slightly, but one will find that they all are approximately 17 grams plus or minus.

ANCIENT GREEK STATER Dated 336 – 323 B.C.

Obverse (front) Head of Athena right in a crested Corinthian helmet

Reverse (back) Nike standing left, holding a wreath

Greek Coin minted in Babylon

Athena was one of the most important goddesses. She sprang full grown and armored from the forehead of the god Zeus and was his favorite child. He entrusted her with his shield. She was the primarily the goddess of the Greek cities, of industry and the arts, wisdom and war. Athena was a patron of the agricultural arts and of the crafts of women, especially spinning and weaving. Among her gifts to man were the inventions of the plow and the flute and the art of taming animals, building ships, and making shoes. She was often associated with birds, especially the owl.

NIKE was the winged goddess or spirit of victory, both in battle and peaceful competition. When Zeus was gathering allies at the start of the Titan War, Styx brought her four children, Nike (Victory), Zelos (Rivalry), Kratos (Strength) and Bia (Force) into the service of the god. Nike was appointed his charioteer, and all four were appointed as sentinels standing beside the throne of the god. Beyond this Nike never acquired any distinctive mythology of her own. Nike is represented as winged and carrying a wreath or palm of victory.

ANCIENT GREEK DIDRACHM   387 – 304 B.C.

Obverse (front) Head of Helios - Three-quarters face to right; hair loose
Reverse (back) Rose with bud to the right, lettering above.
Greek coin minted in Rhodes

Helios was the ancient Greek sun god. He was believed to ride his golden chariot across the heavens daily, giving light to gods and mortals. At evening he sank into the western ocean from which he was carried in a golden cup back to his palace in the east. Helios alone could control the fierce horses that drew his fiery chariot.

ANCIENT GREEK DRACHM   350 – 325 B.C.

Obverse (front) Head of nymph facing right “Larissa”

Reverse (back) Horse grazing right, left forefoot raised.

In Greek mythology, Larissa was a local nymph from Thessaly and daughter of Pelasgus, whom the fortress near Argos and two cities (in Thessaly and in Peneus) are named after.

ANCIENT GREEK STATER Dated 405 – 345 B.C.

Obverse (front) Pegasus, Flying horse

Reverse (back) Head of Athena wearing Corinthian helmet

The magnificent winged horse of the muses, sprang forth from the blood of the gargoyle Medusa, slain by Perseus.  The wild steed’s fury was tamed by Bellerophon when he placed Athena’s magic golden bridal in its jaws.

In Greek mythology, Pegasus is the winged horse that was fathered by Poseidon with Medusa. When her head was cut off by the Greek hero Perseus, the horse sprang forth from her pregnant body. His galloping created the well Hippocrene on the Helicon (a mountain in Boeotia). 

Athena was one of the most important goddesses. She sprang full grown and armored from the forehead of the god Zeus and was his favorite child. He entrusted her with his shield. She was the primarily the goddess of the Greek cities, of industry and the arts, wisdom and war. Athena was a patron of the agricultural arts and of the crafts of women, especially spinning and weaving. Among her gifts to man were the inventions of the plow and the flute and the art of taming animals, building ships, and making shoes. She was often associated with birds, especially the owl.

ROMAN SILVER DENARIUS Dated 137 B.C.

Obverse (front) The Goddess Roma

Reverse (back) Roman God Jupiter, driving his chariot.

The Goddess Roma was the personification of ancient Rome. On this beautiful hand-struck coin we see Roma facing right, wearing winged helmet.  The reverse side of the coin features the most powerful of all Roman gods, Jupiter, driving his chariot drawn by four horses.

Most ancient cities had a goddess who watched over them and was often named for the city. In the case of Rome, this goddess was Roma.

She seems to have first appeared as a derivation of Minerva, whom the Romans had borrowed from the Etruscans and associated with the Greek goddess Athena. Even though they started as one and the same, Roma soon was viewed distinct from Minerva and both continued to be worshipped.

On Republican period coins, only her helmeted bust is usually shown. Under the Empire coins, often show Roma as a standing warrior figure. Occasionally, especially on late gold solidii, she is depicted seated on a throne, but by then Rome had adopted Christianity and she was only a symbol of the Empire, not a deity.

Jupiter is the ruler of the Gods. He is the god of Sky, Lightning and Thunder. He is the son of Saturn and brother of Neptune, Pluto and Juno, who is also his wife. His attribute is the lightning bolt and his symbol the eagle, who is also his messenger. He was also considered the Patron god of Rome, and his temple was the official place of state business and sacrifices.

ANCIENT GREEK DIDRACHM Dated 302-231 B.C.

Obverse (front) naked rider crowning stationary horse to right

Reverse (back) Taras astride dolphin left, holding out kantharos (a large cup) with his right hand and cornucopia in his left. 

In a tale of tragedy at sea, Taras (known to the Greeks as Tarentum), the young son of Poseidon, is aboard a ship that sinks in a raging sea.  Menacing sharks circle the helpless youth and when all seemed lost, the man-eating beasts flee due to the swift attack of a pod of dolphins, which come to the boy’s rescue.  According to ancient legend, Taras was put safely ashore by a dolphin in southern Italy where he subsequently founded the city of Tarentum.

ANCIENT GREEK DRACHM Dated 400 – 360 B.C.

Obverse (front) Head of Herakles, right, wearing lion-skin

Reverse (back) Zeus enthroned, left holding eagle and scepter headdress. 

This classic hand-struck coin shows the handsome profile of Hercules wearing the head of the Nemean lion as a headdress.  The most powerful of all Greek gods, Zeus, is shown on the reverse side enthroned atop Mt. Olympus holding his scepter and eagle.

In Greek mythology, Heracles or Herakles was a divine hero, the son of Zeus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae and a champion of the Olympian order against monsters. In Rome and the modernWest, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman Emperors often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.

Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with both males and females were among his characteristic attributes. Herakles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not suffice.  His iconographic attributes are the lion skin and the club. Herakles was an extremely passionate and emotional individual, capable of doing both great deeds for his friends and being a terrible enemy who would wreak horrible vengeance on those who crossed him.

Zeus is the king of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus, and the god of the sky and thunder. His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull and the oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" Zeus also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.

A R DENARIUS Dated 49 – 44 B.C.

Obverse (front) Caesar below elephant crushing snake

Reverse (back) Articles of the office of Poatifex

Julius Caesar is one of the most famous men in history. At the end of his brilliant military and political career he had gained control of the Roman state. His puppet senate heaped more and more honors upon him. In February 44 B.C. the senate named him dictator for life. Many senators, however, feared that he wished to become king, ending the Republic. On the 15th of March 44 B.C., 63 senators attacked him with knives they had hidden in the folds of their togas. This most famous of assassinations plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.

WIDOW’S MITE Dated 103 – 76 B.C.

Obverse (front) Anchor

Reverse (back) star

The “Widow’s Mites” story that appears in the Bible, Mark 12: 41 – 44 “and Jesus sat over against the treasury and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury and many that were rich cast in much.  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  And he called unto his disciples and saith unto them.  Verity I say unto you that his poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury.  For all they did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had.”

ANCIENT GREEK TRIOBOL

Obverse (front) Head of Athena right, wearing Corinthian style helmet

Reverse (back) Owl standing facing, within wreath

Owls were considered by the Greeks to be significant, wise and important birds.  Besides being mentioned in early Greek poetry, they were also associated with the goddess Athena.  Consequently, when the Athenians formed a democratic system in the early fifth century B.C., they commemorate the event by issuing the famous owl coins (a bird scared to the goddess) which featured an upright owl on one side and the head of Athena on the other.  Throughout the first decade of the fifth century B.C., these coins were struck in abundance concurrent with the discovery of large quantities of silver ore and the rapid expansion of Athenian naval superiority.  The design was to last for three hundred years.

The long drawn out Peloponnesian War 431 – 404 B.C. drained Athens of her wealth and ended with the capture of the city by the Spartans.  Although prosperous again in the 4th Century, Athens never fully regained her importance in international affairs, and in Hellenistic times became dependant first on Macedon, then Rome.

AR STATER COIN

Obverse (front) Taras, Son of Poseidon, Astride Dolphin
Reverse (back) Hippocamp with pectin below
The hippocamp was a seahorse that was half horse, half fish with the tail of a serpent. Often depicted drawing the chariot of the sea god Poseidon.

Numerous Greek colonies were established in southern Italy in the centuries preceding the introduction of coinage, the earliest foundations dating from 530 B.C. and were of the curious brock-and-type fabric, the obverse design being repeated, more or less exactly on the reverse though concave instead of in relief.  It has been suggested that the invention of this unique method of coin production could have been the brainchild of no less a celebrity than the famous Samian mathematician Pythagoras, who migrated to Italy at about this time.

In a tale of tragedy at sea, Taras (known to the Greeks as Tarentum), the young son of Poseidon, is aboard a ship that sinks in a raging sea.  Menacing sharks circle the helpless youth and when all seemed lost, the man-eating beasts flee due to the swift attack of a pod of dolphins, which come to the boy’s rescue.  According to ancient legend, Taras was put safely ashore by a dolphin in southern Italy where he subsequently founded the city of Tarentum.

ALEXANDER COINAGE

Alexander the Great is the most famous king of ancient Greece, and he did much to revolutionize the world he lived in. King of Macedonia and most of the known world from 336 - 323 BC. His conquests are all the more remarkable when it is considered that he died when he was 33 years of age. That he loved power there is little doubt, but he was well educated, the great philosopher Aristotle having been one of his teachers. It can be said that he brought Greek culture into the East. One thing he affected was coinage. He transformed it from an incompatible group of issues struck by independent cities and confederacies to a single massive issue with common designs and weights.

So important was this innovation that the designs of his coins were copied for centuries by cities of Asia and Greece which gained independence in century following Alexander's death. The designs on Alexander's coins are often laden with symbolism, kings, queens and presidents have used them to express ideas or to display their own likeness.

The front of his coinage often shows Hercules. Hercules was important to Alexander's hereditary line, as they claimed to be descended from the mythological hero. It is largely based on this fact that they also claimed to be of full Greek blood, even though most of their neighbors in the main part of Greece considered them to be uncultured barbarians.

Ptolemy 12th and COINS of the ASHKELON WRECK

The Ptolemaic dynasty began when the empire of Alexander the Great was divided.  Ptolemy 1st, Alexander’s friend and one of his best generals, settled in Egypt, ancient breadbasket of civilization, and home of 25 dynasties and 3200 years of recorded Egyptian history.

Ptolemy 12th, ruled as the Greek king of Egypt from 80 B.C. to 51 B.C.  He was the last king of Egypt and was succeeded by his daughter, Cleopatra 7th, last Queen of Egypt, last of the Ptolemaic dynasty, and lover of Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony.

During the reign of Ptolemy 12th, an ancient Egyptian galley sailing (or rowing) its way northward along the Mediterranean shore past the Gaza strip, floundered as it neared the ancient Phoenician port of Ashkelon.

The coins from this shipwreck were struck in Alexandria, a city founded by and named after Alexander the Great.  This city was destined to remain one of the world’s most important cities for the next 1000 years. Its library was unsurpassed in the ancient world.

PANTICAPEUM (PAN) COIN

Pan, son of Hermes and a nymph, was the most famous of the Satyrs, creatures with the head, arms and torso of a man, and the hind-quarters, hooves and tail of a goat.  Many of these goat-men caroused with Dionysus (Bacchus), pouring wine and playing their flutes for him.  This may explain why Pan, the god of green fields and guardian of shepherds is also associated with the worship of Dionysus.

The story of Pan and Syrinx tells of Pan following Syrinx as she was returning to her home.  Frightened, she ran until she came to a river.   To hide from Pan, she became a reed among the many lining the riverbank.  Pan began grabbing handfuls of reeds in a futile attempt to capture Syrinx.  Unable to locate the object of his desire, Pan sat down by the river and began to tie the reeds together.  Soon he had created a musical instrument known as the “Pipes of Pan”.

In a musical contest between Apollo with his lyre and Pan with his pipes, King Tmolus judged Apollo to be the winner, and Midas had his ears turned into donkey’s ears by Apollo when he let it be known that he thought Pan the better musician.


ANCIENT ARTIFACTS

BYZANTINE BRONZE CROSS ARTIFACT

The origin of the Byzantine cross dates back to the fourth century A.D.  Emperor St. Constantine was responsible for Christianizing the Roman Empire and was also responsible for establishing the capital of Constantinople.  This era was to see a time of the creation of excellent art, architecture, and jewelry by the Romans, Greeks, and Christians.  In the jewelry category, some magnificent Byzantine crosses have been unearthed in archeological digs, and it is these Byzantine crosses that are the most beautiful of all this jewelry.  Jewelry did indeed reflect the changing times towards Christianity and the acceptance of the Roman Empire by this new form of religion on all fronts.   These crosses were worn as statements of faith... commonly depicting Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary.

 

 

We hope you enjoy shopping our unusual collection of sea life jewelry; unique jewelry that celebrates the beauty and diversity of Sanibel wildlife.

The unspoiled beauty of Sanibel Island’s beaches, birds, sea life, and tropical foliage is the inspiration for many of the most unique and creative pieces of fine jewelry you’ll find anywhere.

In addition to our naturally inspired jewelry we also feature new styles and trends in fine jewelry, as well as handcrafted coin and artifact jewelry. These unique designs have attracted the attention and admiration of visitors from throughout the United States and around the world.

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