Victoria, 1878S (Australia) Gold Sovereign from the RMS Douro Shipwreck, NGC AU58, Blue Shipwreck Label.
Obverse: Third young filleted head facing left, WW raised on the truncation for the famous engraver William Wyon, date below (1878) with Latin legend and toothed border surrounding: VICTORIA DEI GRATIA.
Reverse: Crowned quartered shield of arms, laurel wreath surrounding, with emblems below, S for The Sydney Mint above rose, with Latin legend and toothed border surrounding: BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:
Has been graded and slabbed by NGC as Almost Uncirculated 58 (AU 58), with The Blue Shipwreck Certification Label stating: Douro Treasure.
NGC Certification number: 6944921-002.
An attractive looking coin with a nice portrait, especially considering how it has been to the bottom off the sea and back!
*On the 31st March 1882, RMS Douro (an iron-hulled steamship) bound from Buenos Aires to Southampton with stops at Brazil and Lisbon the capital of Portugal was running 90 minutes behind schedule when she departed Lisbon bound for Southampton on the final leg of the voyage. In order to make up time, she proceeded at full speed northward off the Portuguese and Spanish coasts.
On the evening of 1 April, Douro passed Spain’s Cape Finisterre under a full moon. Her fourth officer noticed the Spanish steam boat Yrurac Bat about 2.3 miles away but assumed that the officer off the bridge had also spotted her and did not pass word of the sighting to him. The officer on the bridge only sighted Yrurac Bat later, when it was too late to avoid a collision, and at 22:45 hours on 1st April Yrurac Bat rammed the Douro.
Yrurac Bat′s bow cut two deep gashes in Douro′s starboard side. The passengers and crew of Douro abandoned ship in a great hurry, and Douro sank 30 minutes after the collision in 1,500 feet of water. There were six fatalities including her captain and five other officers who all went down with the ship. The other 32 members of her crew and all 112 of her passengers survived. Yrurac Bat sank soon after Douro with the loss of another 53 lives. The survivors were rescued soon after the disaster by the British steamer Hidalgo which took them all to A coruna Spain.
Over 100 years later the wreck of the Douro was at last found in 1993 after the marine researcher Nigel Pickford spent ten years researching the Douro, its amazing cargo and whereabouts after being left a cryptic note by his Father dating back to 1949 merely saying "Douro, 1882, £53,000, Bay of Biscay."
The Deep sea salvage recovery team led by Sverker Hallstrom recovered much of the cargo culminating in what was the most valuable coin auction that Spink and Son of London had ever held as of 1996, with 1,713 lots of coins and artefacts from the ship. Some 28,000 Sovereigns were recovered from the wreck with a proportion appearing in the auction sale.