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10 Days of Astonishing Shipwreck Treasures: The Black Swan Project

March 15th, 2016 by Piper Smith

Day ten.

The Black Swan Project ($500 million).

In 2007, Odyssey Marine Exploration flew 17 tons of coins from Gibraltar to an undisclosed address in the US. Their newly discovered shipwreck was located in a lane where many Colonial-era ships floundered and they were uncertain as to nationality, size, and age. Due to the uncertainty and other security concerns they did not release the wreck site, nationality, date, or type of the coins. The treasure haul was the largest to date throughout the world. Experts called the find “unprecedented” and without comparison.

It wasn’t long before the Spanish Government filed a claim against the cargo, claiming that it came from the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, a Spanish frigate that was sunk by the British in 1804. In 2008 a US federal court ordered Odyssey to disclose the location of the wreck site. The location appeared to rule out Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, but after 5 years of litigation, the courts ruled in favor of Spain and the treasure was flown back.