Skip to main content

Portion of shipwreck cache coming to auction Aug. 5

Thirty-years after the discovery of treasures upon a 17th century shipwreck, a portion of the $450 million trove will come before bidders Aug. 5, during an auction presented by Guernsey's.

NEW YORK – On July 20, 1985, American treasure hunter Mel Fisher discovered the sunken shipwreck treasure of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, the most famous member of a fleet of Spanish ships that sank in 1622 after sailing into a violent hurricane.

To mark the 30-year anniversary of this astonishing discovery, on August 5 New York City-based

Gold coins

A sample of the gold bars, discs and coins retrieved from shipwrecks and coming to auction Aug. 5. (Photo courtesy Guernsey’s)

Guernsey’s auctions will auction off select items from Fisher’s esteemed collection. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Michael Abt Jr. Have a Heart Foundation, which works to provide Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) to schools nationwide.

The auction, which begins at 7 p.m. EST, will be held at Arader Galleries, 1016 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. Absentee and telephone bidding will also be accepted, and Internet bidding will be facilitated by and

Fisher’s efforts lead to the discovery of many noteworthy undersea wrecks. The $450 million cache or “Atocha Motherload” was discovered after a 16-year search by Fisher and his team. His work, well-documented in both print and film, also lead to landmark decisions by the United States Supreme Court, which confirmed Fisher’s ownership to recovered treasure.

Nearly 40 items retrieved from the Atocha, as well as other wrecks discovered by Fisher and his team, will be presented during the Aug. 5 auction. Among the items generating bidder interest ahead of the sale is approximately 100 sought-after silver coins retrieved from the Atocha and her sister ship, the Santa Margarita.

Immediately preceding the sale of items from the Fisher family’s collection, 65 lots will be offered by the Arader Gallery. These pieces highlight the history of Caribbean pirates and their treasure. Lots include historic maps and views, paintings and watercolors, parrot engravings by Jacques Barraband, plus rare books and atlases.

Public preview times are scheduled for Tuesday, August 4 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on the day of the auction from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, visit, or call 212-794-2280.