Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Value of Atocha Coins

I've worked for Mel Fisher's Treasures (the retail outlet) for over two years and have seen many people bring in so-called Atocha coins asking for appraisals.

First of all, if you believe that you have an Atocha coin but do not have a genuine certificate of authenticity, then what you actually have is just a fairly old silver coin worth maybe $30 or $40.

Secondly, genuine coins from the exact same time peroid and mint that were never part of the Atocha shipwreck, are worth only a fraction of an Atocha coin. This is because of the notariety of the Atocha. (In another example, ask yourself what you would pay for a small lump of coal. Would you pay $1000 for one? Of course not. But...many people have done just that. It just so happens that small pieces of coal certified to be from the steam room of the Titanic sold for $1000 apiece...all because of the notariety of that ship.)

So, no certificate means little to low value. Additionally, a genuine coin with a cert, but not Atocha related means little to low value.

A real Atocha coin with an authentic and original certificate of authenticity appraise out at the values listed below:

The coins are categorized into four grades, with Grade One being the highest quality and on down to Grade Four, which are coins that have undergone extensive ocean and sand wear while underwater.

In general - and there are exceptions within each grade, the prices set by the Fisher organization are as follows:

Grade Four - $600 and up
Grade Three - $1200 and up
Grade Two - $1800 and up
Grade One - $2400 and up

In reality, a collectible is only worth what an interested party is willing to buy or sell for, and you can find Atocha coins for sale for less cost at a few places online...some from reputable dealers...and some of dubious origin from sources such as eBay.

In any given week there are maybe two or three genuine Atocha coins being auctioned on eBay along with several other coins "claiming" to be from the Atocha but clearly - to anyone who knows what they're looking at - couldn't be from the Atocha.

In the next post I'll tell you what to be on the lookout for in order to spot the fakes and the scams on eBay.

Atocha Treasures

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