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    Sale 5217

    Antique & Collectable Jewellery

    6 November 2007, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 192

    A 17th century Spanish gold and emerald ring

    Price Realised  


    A 17th century Spanish gold and emerald ring
    The cruciform bezel set with square-cut foiled emeralds with spur design divisions, circa 1650, finger size - H1/2

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    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that this ring was previously sold at Christie's King Street on 20th June 1984 (sale 2942, lot 50).

    Pre-Lot Text

    The following lot was recovered from the wreck of the Nuestra Senora De Esperanza which went down in 1658 at Banco Misteriosa west of Cuba.

    The Nuestra Senora De Esperanza was a Spanish galleon captained by Luis de Porras and owned by Sir Padro Arias Maldonado of Seville. She weighed 650 tons and carried 24 bronze and 24 iron cannon. In 1655 she formed part of a fleet sent to the New World to collect treasure from Chile and Peru, as well as gold and emeralds from Colombia and pearls from the shores of Venezuala. En route to Havana she ran aground near Cartagena in Colombia, and the rest of the fleet sailed on without her. By removing her guns, cargo and ballast she was refloated, but her final departure was delayed until May 1658. Reputedly carrying in excess of one million pesos in gold and silver bullion, as well as other "worked" items of gold and silver, chests of emeralds, pearls and other precious stones, she had over 160 passengers and a crew of 116 seamen and soldiers. During the second week of her voyage, not far from Yucatan, she again struck bottom causing extensive damage to her hull and masts, resulting in loss of life among the seamen. The captain and part of the crew then embarked in the ship's only longboat in search of rescue, reaching the Isle of Pines in less than a day. By the time they had mustered enough help for the return, the Nuestra Senora De Esperanza had disintegrated and sunk without trace. The ship actually sank at a place called Banco Misteriosa (mystery bank) so named because in 1626 an island on this shallow bank sank into the sea during an earthquake. The sand bank remained a navigation checkpoint.

    Post Lot Text

    A similar ring was salvaged from the wreck of the Santa Margarita which sank in 1622, cf. "The Treasure of 1622", Key West Publishing House, 1981, p.11