The 1622 wreck of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha was discovered by Mel Fisher and his company, Salvors Inc., on July 20, 1985. Gold, emeralds, Spanish silver coins and silver ingots ~ estimated at over $450 million ~ were recovered from the buried wreckage.
The entrance to the museum displays these enormous anchors from the Atocha’s sister galleon the Santa Margarita.
Mel Fisher (August 21, 1922 – December 19, 1998) is truly a unique American story. Born in Indiana, he went from Mid-west chicken farmer to California dive shop owner to Florida treasure hunter. He searched for the Atocha for decades, struggling through tragedy, family loss and legal tribulations before finally establishing claim to his treasure. The museum tells his story and the story of the 1622 treasure fleet.
The gold and emeralds are AMAZING. They are so pristine they could be in any fine jewelry store on Madison Ave. Of course I would be captivated by the jewelry 🙂 .
The silver ingots and coins are just as interesting, if somewhat less beautiful. We saw a silver ingot from the Atocha at the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada too. Each ingot weighs over 35 lbs. That’s a lot of dive weight!
The 2nd floor of the museum has other exhibits. Of course I went straight for the Pirates!
More coins from the 1622 treasure fleet and a crash course on how to interpret them. I studied these like there would be a quiz at the end of the exhibit. You never know when you may come across some pieces of eight!
These old world coins would make some beautiful 21st century jewelry!
If you are interested in treasure, pirates, history or a true American story, I really recommend a visit to the museum. It’s fascinating, beautiful and has things that you can’t see anywhere else in the world ~ only in Key West!
We are nearly to the end of the road on our Florida Keys series. I hope you come back next week to see how we wind it up! Thanks for being on the journey with us ~~~