Odyssey expected to appeal

Cannon of HMS Victory

By Numismatic News

An appeal of a Dec. 22 Florida court ruling that would make treasure salvaged firm Odyssey Marine Explorations, Inc., return 500,000 Spanish Colonial gold and silver coins to Spain is expected.

“We will file our notice of appeal with the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals within the required time and look forward to presenting our case in that forum,” the company said.

The coins were recovered by the firm from what is believed to be the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a Spanish vessel which exploded in 1804. It sank 100 miles west of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Spain claims the treasure on the basis that the ship was a warship of Spain and title to goods on such a ship are held by the state in perpetuity.

Odyssey disagrees and in fact launched the legal process originally to adjudicate the ownership issues once it had successfully retrieved the coins and brought them to the United States.

This past summer a court magistrate filed a report siding with Spain. The latest ruling by the district court judge was accompanied by his orders to allow Odyssey to retain the coins in its possession until the ownership question is decided.


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