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Thread: Today's value of sunken treasures

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  1. #1
    do
    Sep 2006
    Dominican Republic
    402
    11 times

    Today's value of sunken treasures

    Hello everybody,

    As usually, I would like to hear your opinions and ideas....
    I am confused always when I am asked to give an estimate of value of some shipwreck. I know that there was almost always bigger or smaller contraband on board of especially Spanish galleons, so value taken only from official cargo manifest is just the base (passenhers' personal items and jewelry, navigation tools, bronze cannons, etc. should be also taken into the account I think) but my question is: does it exist a formula for the calculation of let's say value in the beginning of the 17th century into todays prices? For example, "..... a Spanish galleon went down with 200,000 in gold and silver...." What does it exactly mean today from money point of view?
    Thanks for helping me to understand thus matter better.

    Best regards,
    Lobo
    O2ptima likes this.

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  3. #2
    Charter Member

    Oct 2004
    N. San Diego area (Pic of my two best 'finds')
    Minelab Explorer
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    To me, it means nothing unless the 200k is broken down to how many pieces each of gold and silver are in the total--and then one needs to know if it's in coin or bullion. And in your example, is the 200k in pieces of undisclosed coins, dollars, pesos or what?
    The value of money is based on its purchasing power; what will it buy. You may then research what an escudo or piece of eight back in the day could buy and relate that to how much the same item(s) would cost today. You'd then have the old coins 'value' in today's money.
    Don.....
    Last edited by Mackaydon; May 31, 2012 at 08:32 PM.

  4. #3
    Charter Member
    us
    Pirate of the Martires

    Feb 2005
    Pinellas Park, Florida
    Aquapulse, J.W. Fisher Proton 3, Pulse Star II
    2,410
    135 times
    Shipwrecks
    Bobadilla you need to look at the manifest to etimate the value. Also, have you heard of the "golden years", 1580 to 1620 when Spanish galleons carried more gold than silver? After that the ratio was 10% gold to 90% silver.
    Last edited by Salvor6; Jun 01, 2012 at 12:49 PM.

  5. #4
    Charter Member
    Aquanut

    Jul 2005
    Orlando, Florida
    Fisher CZ21, Tesoro Tiger Shark
    1,432
    120 times
    Quote Originally Posted by Salvor6 View Post
    Bobadilla you need to look at the manifest to etimate the value. Also, have you heard of the "golden years", 1580 to 1620 when Spanish galleons carried more gold than silver? After that the ratio was 10% silver to 90% gold.
    Pete, Read what you wrote , have another drink. then read it again!

  6. #5
    Charter Member
    Aquanut

    Jul 2005
    Orlando, Florida
    Fisher CZ21, Tesoro Tiger Shark
    1,432
    120 times
    I think one million pesos then, equates to about one billion in todays dollars.
    O2ptima likes this.

  7. #6

    Apr 2012
    Wa. State
    Quattro, DeLeon, Tiger Shark, Garrett probe , 5" concentric , 10.5 " DD & 18" DD for minelabs. 8" coil hard wired to TS
    556
    52 times
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    It is a mute point as the treasure has not been recovered. The way inflation is going it will definitely be worth more if it is eventually found. With the government and everyone else trying to take it all away that assigned value is likely not to be realized by the finder though.
    It's no wonder truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense. Mark Twain

  8. #7
    us
    Underwater Heritage Rescue Diver

    Jul 2006
    Tampa, FL
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    My brother, I think when you estimate the value of a shpwreck you are playing a guessing man's game. The value of a shipwreck's contents changes with the price of metals, with the economy, and we have no way of accurately making an "exchange rate" from 17th century pesos to any current monetary unit. Take a guess at the quantity of each type of artifact you expect to find based on the manifest and distribution of the site. Get a current average selling price for each type and do the math, adding bronze cannons and astrolabes at fair market value as you go. I don't think you will be too accurate, but at least that way you can be honest. It's a tough question to answer....and in my mind the answer is always "priceless".

    I miss you my friend, maybe I will see you soon.

    Jason

  9. #8
    us
    Jan 2012
    NY > FL.
    17
    Shipwrecks
    Always find it confusing -is the term Peso being used as a weight or as a value?

  10. #9
    Charter Member
    us
    Sep 2010
    Tango Charlie
    61
    3 times
    Quote Originally Posted by O2ptima View Post
    Always find it confusing -is the term Peso being used as a weight or as a value?
    Short answer, as in Spanish Galleon wrecks, it's weight...Peso de Ocho, or Pieza de a ocho, (hence, piece of eight, depending on time period of translation) is 28.75 grams of Silver.

    Santini~
    O2ptima likes this.

  11. #10
    es
    Aug 2008
    701
    10 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    A "Peso" was a unit of account for 8 reales. It was used as unit of account and could correspond for a total of treasure carried. For example, one million pesos could be 27.8 metric tons of silver.

  12. #11
    es
    Aug 2008
    701
    10 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I published, in Spanish, a scientific article which would be publicizing the underwater heritage of Spain in gold and silver. About 700 metric tons of gold and 22,000 tonnes of silver (between 1520 and 1822).
    This may give us an idea of what we are talking about. My calculations have been very cautious making known numbers.

    ESCAFANDRA Electronica, Rervista de Buceo y de Mar

    ESCAFANDRA Electronica, Rervista de Buceo y de Mar

    ESCAFANDRA Electronica, Rervista de Buceo y de Mar

    ESCAFANDRA Electronica, Rervista de Buceo y de Mar

  13. #12
    us
    Jan 2012
    NY > FL.
    17
    Shipwrecks
    tks- so if a wrecks' manifest says ie one peso- say early 16th century- and it's all gold then am i correct to look at it this way 1 peso (28.75 gms)/31.1 (troy oz gold) = .9244 oz gold say x 1500 is worth on gold value alone ~ $1,38.66 ?
    Last edited by O2ptima; Jun 02, 2012 at 07:26 AM.

  14. #13

    Apr 2012
    Wa. State
    Quattro, DeLeon, Tiger Shark, Garrett probe , 5" concentric , 10.5 " DD & 18" DD for minelabs. 8" coil hard wired to TS
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    Last edited by Hot zone; Jun 02, 2012 at 10:19 AM.
    It's no wonder truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense. Mark Twain

  15. #14
    us
    Aug 2008
    453
    12 times
    Dunno how this helps much.

    When talking about the value of a cargo, rough estimate figures in pesos like "200,000 pesos anually" are in silver pesos. They are equal to about a piece of eight. They are not used as a weight device, never seen them used as a weight device when assigned in this manner.


    Other useful monetary equivalences I have seen the Spanish use are marks and florins, such as "5000 marks for the construction and outfitting of the galleon." These are Hapsburgh Empire gold units.


    You run into the occasional ecu or pound, but they do not come up so much.


    Spain was supposed to demonitze based on grains of copper, or marevedis coins. You will see some odd stuff sometimes like "The leader of the expedition was paid 7000 grains per week." I think these were called velas or filas. Here is an abstract for an idea:

    "The marc of gold was reckoned to contain 50 castellanos of 8 tomines, making 4800 grains, whereby the grain was reduced 1/25."

    "The monetary unit of Castile was the maravedí, anciently a gold coin of value but, in the fifteenth century, diminished to a fraction of its former estimation. A declaration of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1503 says that formerly the silver real was equal to 3 maravedís, but now it is worth 34."

    They would often say that people were paid in marevedis units, but that they were actually paid in vellon (spanish reals) or tepuzque silver (colonial reals.)

    A lot of people say, "These ships carried 200,000 pesos anually, therefore there is a trove of gold bars and silver coins just waiting to be hauled up."


    This is the usual slant. When in actuality the cargo was worth that, perhaps 150% or 200% of that. But then 70% of the cargo value was silk, hardwood furniture, spices and ceramics. So it is pretty much gone. See where I am going with this.


    The most valuable wrecks seem to be the ones indicated in correspondence or writing that they were "very rich." If a manifest has been kept, or there is other more descriptive correspondence about what personal losses were incurred, that might help out.
    O2ptima likes this.

  16. #15
    do
    Sep 2006
    Dominican Republic
    402
    11 times
    Thanks to everybody for your valuable opinions and ideas. I realized that this matter is really far to be simple and that it is very hard to determinate even approximate value of any old shipwreck.

    Jason, I miss you as well, bro, and I hope that we will meet here in DR very soon!

    Best regards to all,
    Lobo

  17. #16
    us
    Sep 2010
    New Jersey
    Fisher IV
    167
    16 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Well to be honest with all of you given the story of the black swan and Odyssey the value of the wreck is nothing because if you find it you should not talk or bring attention to yourself.
    O2ptima likes this.

  18. #17

    Apr 2012
    Wa. State
    Quattro, DeLeon, Tiger Shark, Garrett probe , 5" concentric , 10.5 " DD & 18" DD for minelabs. 8" coil hard wired to TS
    556
    52 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by blackbeard1717 View Post
    Well to be honest with all of you given the story of the black swan and Odyssey the value of the wreck is nothing because if you find it you should not talk or bring attention to yourself.
    Now that is what i alluded to in my first post but now spoken like a pirate, Blackbeard!
    O2ptima likes this.
    It's no wonder truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense. Mark Twain

  19. #18
    us
    Sep 2005
    San Diego
    149
    1 times
    Shipwrecks
    Bobadilla, try this web site; Measuring Worth - Relative Value of the US Dollar.

    Put in the Initial YEAR. Put in the Initial AMOUNT. Put in the Desired YEAR. Not exact but may help somewhat.

    TW

  20. #19
    us
    Jan 2012
    NY > FL.
    17
    Shipwrecks
    Am i wrong to think Peso = piece of eight silver = which weight 27.5 ish ounces? so in todays dollars 27.5/31.1 = .88432 troy x ~30= ~$26.53?

  21. #20
    us
    Feb 2004
    lake mary florida
    Wesmar SHD700SS Side Scan Sonar,U/W Mac 1 Turbo Aquasound by American Electronics,Fisher 1280x,Aquasound UW md,Aqua pulse AQ1B
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    You could always go by what the mel fisher museum gets for their artifacts.Some prices may be inflated but they do sell at those prices.It seems when the melt price of gold goes up so does the prices of gold artifacts.
    Millions of dollars of Spanish treasure await those who would dare brave the eye of the hurricane.

 

 
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