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Shipwreck Coin- Should I get it graded?

Hello all! I've been lurking on the forums for a few weeks now, and decided it's time to join. My interest in coins began in the 90s when my grandfather took me to a coin show, went dormant for a good many years, and is now starting to pick back up as I invest more in PMs.

This forum is an absolute wealth of information, and has made for some great reading/learning. While most of my money is going into AGEs, I have a deeper interest in shipwreck coins, so I've started a small collection. Most of my coins have so far been from the Atochia, and with the exception of the one I'm about discuss are cobs ranging from the 1620s to the late 1600s. Most of those are grade 2-3 and certainly show the fact that they've been on the bottom of the ocean for the past 400 years. I guess it's worth asking, is there any point in submitting those for grading?

The coin in question was one of my more recent acquisitions. I was in a shipwreck artifact store (my interest in artifacts extends beyond coins), and as I'm having a look around, someone says hello to me. I turn around, and instantly recognize the guy as the star of the Discovery Channel show Cooper's Treasure! I must have spent a good hour talking to him, he took me upstairs to view his private collection of not only shipwreck artifacts, but Mercury and Gemini items that the astronaut Gordon Cooper gave him before he passed away. After that experience, I was happy to overpay for a grade 3 coin that he recovered (from my perspective, it comes with a good story and memory).

I also picked up a coin from another wreck that is in much better condition than the cobs I had collected previously. Would this coin be worth sending in to NGC? As I understand it, it would receive a "Shipwreck Effect" grade, but would then be encased (maybe preserved a little better than in its current flip), and given the NGC nod for authenticity.

I'd love to get some thoughts on sending this one in, and would also appreciate any input on getting the grade 2 and 3 cobs done as well. I'd feel better about preserving them all in slabs.

Comments

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    no to the grading and as to preserving , if they have survived 500 years already I wouldn't worry about it

  • So don't over think it is the takeaway. Thank you for the feedback.

    If not for grading, is there any benefit to having them slabbed for the sake of proving provenance in the event of a future sale or inheritance? While I have certificates for all, and in the case of the Atochias, they are documented and serial numbered in their database, I know certificates are almost as valuable as the paper they're printed on. At some point, I can imagine them being separated from the documents and losing their traceability. I worry about that more for the history they represent than from a monetary value perspective.

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @creedence said:
    So don't over think it is the takeaway. Thank you for the feedback.

    If not for grading, is there any benefit to having them slabbed for the sake of proving provenance in the event of a future sale or inheritance? While I have certificates for all, and in the case of the Atochias, they are documented and serial numbered in their database, I know certificates are almost as valuable as the paper they're printed on. At some point, I can imagine them being separated from the documents and losing their traceability. I worry about that more for the history they represent than from a monetary value perspective.

    i have one , I put it in a booth at an antique store for $40 a year ago and its still there. Its rougher than yours but there doesn't seem to be much demand .

    I don't know if the cobs are real , not my area , but there is a lot more interest in those generally speaking

  • Do you happen to know what wreck it was recovered from? If you care to PM me, I'd certainly be happy to buy it from you. The artifact thing has been a hobby of mine for some time, and for whatever reason, I never really thought of cross- pollinating my interest with numismatics.

    I can only imagine the various preservation techniques keep them from being popular in this community- they truly are the things of coin collectors' nightmares. Acid washing being one example; it's also a practice to place recently recovered items in a toilet reservoir because the water needs to be refreshed frequently, and the normal flushing frequency seems to work. That, plus the fact that most of the coins' features are often worn away, I can understand why numismatists don't tend to gravitate toward the shipwreck items.

    The cobs are I posted are genuine, and while I have traceability for them now, I can't say that would be the case 20 years from now. Barring advice to the contrary here, I may bring them down to my local coin shop and speak with the owner about it- I'd be happy to post the update here.

  • jgennjgenn Posts: 552 ✭✭✭✭

    IMO, there is a benefit to having shipwreck salvage coins encapsulated with the shipwreck name on the slab. Otherwise, like you have said, the paper certs can easily get separated and unless they have a really good photo of the exact coin, they aren't really that useful to establish the provenance.

  • Thanks for the thoughts jgenn. Nice avatar by the way!

    I'll head down tomorrow and have a chat with my local shop tomorrow and will share the results here.

    I'm also looking at a seated liberty half dollar from the SS Republic, but that one being a US coin falls outside of the scope if this sub forum.

  • KSorboKSorbo Posts: 55 ✭✭
    edited November 10, 2020 1:35PM

    I’ve noticed that the El Cazador shipwreck coins in the NGC holders have been steadily increasing in value. There are boatloads of them, and I sold mine a few years ago to buy a nicer 8 Reales without saltwater damage, but now I wish I hadn’t. My undamaged coin is now worth less than the damaged ones.

    Personally I would have a hard time believing the provenance of such a coin without a first world TPG holder. If even the El Cazador coins have a premium, it seems that other wrecks would be worth even more.

    Also it’s worth considering that saltwater damage creates a rough surface that makes it resemble a cast fake.

  • AbueloAbuelo Posts: 1,181 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think that shipwreck coins are a very specific area in the hobby. While nobody wants damaged coins, if you add to the coin the story of El Cazador, USS Central America, Nuestra Señora de la Luz, etc it adds a very important part to the history of the coin and those who collect them want to know that connection. So, if you have the documentation I would favour the slabbing. That said, I do not know how cost effective it is as this is not my cup of tea.

  • Funny you’d mention the El Cazador Ksorbo; that’s the wreck this one was recovered from. As you rightly point out, they are much more common so I was able to be a great deal more selective with the condition without ponying up too much (always a relative and subjective term) money.

    Where a grade 1 El Cazador can be had for a couple/few hundred dollars, and similar Atochia coin would be an order of magnitude more.

    Abuelo, you are spot on with what makes these so fascinating. Imagine being able to tie a coin to a specific, significant historical event. It’s possible to account for the journey some of these coins took over a matter of months. In the case of the Atochia for instance, you can determine when a con was struck, who the assayed was at the time, it’s known when it was loaded onto the ship, and the ship’s journey up to its sinking is recorded. Then there’s the fact that the coins spent the next 400 years in the sea. It really is fascinating.

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @creedence said:
    Do you happen to know what wreck it was recovered from? If you care to PM me, I'd certainly be happy to buy it from you. The artifact thing has been a hobby of mine for some time, and for whatever reason, I never really thought of cross- pollinating my interest with numismatics.

    I can only imagine the various preservation techniques keep them from being popular in this community- they truly are the things of coin collectors' nightmares. Acid washing being one example; it's also a practice to place recently recovered items in a toilet reservoir because the water needs to be refreshed frequently, and the normal flushing frequency seems to work. That, plus the fact that most of the coins' features are often worn away, I can understand why numismatists don't tend to gravitate toward the shipwreck items.

    The cobs are I posted are genuine, and while I have traceability for them now, I can't say that would be the case 20 years from now. Barring advice to the contrary here, I may bring them down to my local coin shop and speak with the owner about it- I'd be happy to post the update here.

    next time I go down there I'll grab it

  • Sounds great, I’ll look forward to hearing from you whenever you grab it!

  • jgennjgenn Posts: 552 ✭✭✭✭

    I picked this one up because it seems to have survived with minimal corrosion and the conservation process did not strip it of its patina.

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 19,675 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Authentication of such coins is probably more important than grading. The question is:" Is the coin worth enough to justify the costs involved in having the coin slabbed by a major TPG?"

    All glory is fleeting.
  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 4,336 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You can protect these coins in good quality self slab holders, which is a less expensive way to give you both piece of mind and the ability to enjoy your coins. Peace Roy

  • Nice stuff, have been a while now, since I do not go to Kobey's here in San Diego, CA. there is a guy that sells there items like the ones you show up here.
    http://www.kobeyswap.com/articles/treasurehunt/barnett.html

    I have seen spanish gold coins that the guy normally sells there on the weekends.

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 16,743 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @creedence Welcome to the forums! :)

  • Thanks for the welcome asheland! I’ve really been enjoying this forum since finding it.

    Jgenn, I’m guessing you’re the person to model my collecting after. That one is beautiful.

    With respect to the “ is the coin worth it” question- obviously an important one to consider: I feel like I’m just a caretaker for these coins as they start the next 400 year chapter. From that perspective, I’m okay losing money to have it done. I cherish the traceability to their history and I bet the generations after me would as well.

    I guess my question stems from my unfamiliarity with having coins slabbed (I’ve never done it before). WOULD the cobs get slabbed if I sent them in? And with the El Cazador, would that make sense to do? I ask that because I hadn’t really considered slabbing the cobs until starting this thread.

  • And jgenn, I noticed we have the same assayer, F.F.

    I assume he’s probably on almost all of them, but again- the direct linkage to history with these coins is so cool!

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @creedence said:
    And jgenn, I noticed we have the same assayer, F.F.

    I assume he’s probably on almost all of them, but again- the direct linkage to history with these coins is so cool!

    not one assayer a group of them

  • An actual LOL on that one. Hats off to you.!

  • jgennjgenn Posts: 552 ✭✭✭✭

    @creedence said:
    WOULD the cobs get slabbed if I sent them in? And with the El Cazador, would that make sense to do? I ask that because I hadn’t really considered slabbing the cobs until starting this thread.

    Unless, deemed to be fakes, you could get them slabbed. However, the slab would probably not list the shipwreck. As far as I can tell you have no proof that your 1783 8R was salvaged from the wreck of El Cazador. Depending on how complete the certificates for your Atocha cobs are you might be in the same situation. Without the name of the wreck on the slab I don't think it's worth the cost to slab them.

    If you really like the idea of slabbed shipwreck coins, try looking for ones that are already slabbed with the shipwreck name on the label.

  • You make a good point there. I'll send off the Atochias- they were archived as they were processed from the recovery. The El Cazador has a "certificate of authenticity" but I doubt that it would satisfy NGC- thinking about it now, I'd hope it **wouldn't ** satisfy NGC as there's nothing a counterfeiter couldn't replicate on the document. Maybe I'll get it slabbed for preservation's sake and I can just write the name of the wreck on the slab so it always has some sort of traceability to its source.

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    here is the one I have

  • creedencecreedence Posts: 11
    edited November 14, 2020 5:57PM

    Just a friendly update for anyone who may be interested. I went down to my local coin shop in Sarasota and had a great chat with the proprietor- he himself was an NCG grader.

    Like most here, he isn’t a shipwreck man (While I can see why the numismatic interest takes a hit, I am surprised to find interest in these historical items so light in the coin community- that’s not a judgement just an observation I find interesting), but he did tell me to bring the paperwork in and he’ll work with the NGC person who does do the wreck coins to get a good answer on how they handle them.

    Much more to report here soon- I’ll be bringing him my WWII privy silver coin when I receive it this week to trade on some goodies and we’ll talk about these cobs.

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