Thursday, March 8, 2018

Archives International Auctions sells Vigo Bay Treasure history

AIA offers nearly 300 lots of historical stocks and bonds in a double sesssion auction. Among the many attractive certificates is an incredible stock certificate from The Vigo Bay Treasure Company. 

The Vigo Bay Treasure Company of Camden, N.J. 
$100 shares certificate, 1886
lot 825 in the auction

The Philadelphia based Vigo Bay Treasure Company was founded in 1884 for finding the sunken Santa Cristo de Maracaibo. This ship, loaded with silver coins and gold from Cuba, was taken by the British after the Battle of Vigo Bay (Spain) in 1702. On its way to England, the ship collided with a rock and sank.
The Spanish government granted several concessions for the recuperation of the lost galleons and their cargo. All attempts remained fruitless. The New York Times (NYT), Apr 2, 1874, reports about the Spanish concessions and mentions a silver and gold treasure worth $37,000,000. 
John J. Boyle, General Manager of the Vigo Bay Treasure Company, is quoted in the NYT, Apr 30, 1885 : "The Vigo Bay Company has a contract with the Spanish Government to attempt to recover it, one-fourth of the proceeds to belong to the Government.". 
That same year the company lifts a galleon's hull, but the weight of the mud inside breaks it into pieces. No further results were achieved and on June 26, 1888, the company was declared insolvent. The following day, the NYT reports : Nearly $300,000 worth of the stock was subscribed for and about $60,000 was expended in endeavouring to find the sunken treasure. It is claimed that the assets of the company amount to but a few hundred dollars.

Along with antique stocks and bonds AIA's 47th sale presents hundreds of US, Chinese & Worldwide banknotes, coins, historic and security printing ephemera. 

Auction details
  • Location : Fort Lee, New Jersey
  • Date : 13 March 2018
  • Further info : see AIA , online catalogue here and PDF version there 


PS: You might want to read more about AIA's highlights on CoinsWeekly 

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