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Atocha Anyone?


Vfox
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I visited Mel Fisher's Maritime Museum yesterday while Nicole and I are in the Keys for our honeymoon. Romantic, eh? Lol! Anyway, I actually enjoyed myself, I tinkered with the gold bar for a while, poked at some cannons, and strolled around looking at all the artifacts and of course the coins. The museum has a lot less coins on display than I thought it would, only a few hundred of the tens of thousands found. I guess most have been sold to other dealers and whatnot.

 

I have a bit of a gripe with Mel's entire setup, yes it's cool that he found the Atocha and several other interesting ships, but because his name is tied to them the relics all of a sudden increase to the friggin moon in price. It's something more akin to the fashion industry than numismatics (save the tpg's lol) and it bothers me. I have an 8 reale from the Maravilla shipwreck in my collection, it's in my omnicoin, I paid less than $80 for it. The Maravilla was a ship similar to the Atocha and of comparable historical significants. Coins of comparable condition and size at the coin shops at the museum and in town alike are charging hundreds, as in more than $300 for a coin like that. And don't get me started about the $1000+ price tags of the bezel set coins. In short, I'm a jeweler, it doesn't cost $700+ for a prong set/bezel even if it was platinum. I would probably be able to replicate those designs for less than $250. But then again, I have no overhead of a multi million dollar company to support, right?

 

Anyway, my take on it is this. Check out the museum, play with the gold bar, and gawk at the treasures. But if you want good shipwreck coins at a more reasonable price, avoid Mel's "investment" coins and look to other ships of equal historical significance and a similar time period. Seriously, loads of ships were lost around this time.

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Hope the honeymoon is going well. I've been to Fisher's place and found it wonderful to visit. I'd never even consider a purchase there. His stuff is not priced for Numismatists, it's obviously priced for well-to-do tourists who are spending time in the keys. I've never looked but I'd be the aftermarket would be much lower on those items. Ditto the San Francisco steamer wreck treasures.

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And don't get me started about the $1000+ price tags of the bezel set coins. In short, I'm a jeweler, it doesn't cost $700+ for a prong set/bezel even if it was platinum. I would probably be able to replicate those designs for less than $250.

 

 

This reminds me of a shop I saw in Vegas (in the Venetian I think) where the owners had a bunch of rings, cuff links, etc with ancient roman coins set in them. Pretty outrageous prices from a numismatic standpoint. Most of the coins I saw could be had for under $150, but they were asking $800+ for them as jewelry pieces.

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I love the Florida Keys, one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

 

But I go there for the scenery, the food and the fishing, not for collectible coins. I'm definitely not one of those well-to-do tourists...

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They just showed Mel Fisher's Museum on GlobeTrekker/Lonely Planet. THe hostess was carrying around a big silver bar.

 

Wow those are pretty heavy too, lol.

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