For years, scuba divers have been joining Mel Fisher Treasure Hunting Expeditions to experience what it’s like to be a treasure diver. Last week, several lucky participants got a first-hand thrill of a lifetime as the team recovered a 2-pound solid gold bar and 20 more silver coins on the Atocha wrecksite over the weekend. Andy Matroci, Captain of the Magruder, said the gold bar is 12 inches long.
Remarkably, this bar is unmarked, leading to speculation that it was being smuggled as contraband aboard the ship. Many of the Atocha gold bars previously found were marked with karat stamps indicating the purity of the gold and Spanish royal tax stamps, indicating the 20% tax had been paid on the bar.
This is the second major find by Mel Fisher’s Treasures this year. Earlier this year, an impressive 4-foot-long gold chain was just found on the Atocha site. The 55 gold links are each about 3/4 of an inch long. Attached to the main chain is a gold cross, a gold medallion and a black bead. The cross and medallion have traces of black enamel on them. The cross is about 2 inches long, 1 and 1/2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick, with a Latin inscription around the edges. The medallion contains an image of the Virgin Mary on one side and a chalice on the other side.