When is Gold not Gold?

Posted - November 21, 2022
When is Gold not Gold?

A $17 Billion Dollar Hoard of Gold is Remarkably Preserved and Nearly Out of Reach!

The Colombian Navy recently released a number of videos and photographs of a remarkable find off the coast of their beloved country. A Spanish galleon went down there more than 300 years ago containing what is believed to be an absolute hoard of gold coins, trinkets and jewelry. By today’s standard the estimated value of this discovery is somewhere in the very enviable neighborhood of 17 billion (with a B) dollars. 

That might sound like an absolute fortune and, well, it is. However, the find has created some very real concerns about both ownership and recovery. Though the ship’s final resting spot was officially located in 2015, there has been no effort to date to salvage or recover the ship’s contents including the gold trinkets and coins. So, there it sits, smiling for the cameras and doing little more. 

Spain Lays Claim to Spanish Gold and Coins

Spain is more than a bit displeased that this fortune of Spanish gold is now being claimed by the Colombian government. Well, the wreckage was found beneath their waters so perhaps the Columbian claim is legit. It seems as though Spain should have some sort of beef with England for sinking the galleon to begin with back in the day. 

This being said, the legal dispute is a big part of what’s keeping that loot of Spanish gold and coins well beneath the waves. To the point, its value is only as good as the air that it might someday breathe. Until the gold is extracted, it’s all but worthless, some shiny bit of coin that happily sleeps with the fishes. 

The Clear Durability of Gold in the Briny Deep

Another issue that keeps the salvage teams at dock is the sheer depth of the wreckage. Two separate reports have it resting between 2000 and 3000 feet below. That creates some very real complications. 

However, one thing is clear. The durability of this waterlogged gold is impressive. It remains resilient, clearly as gold as gold can be.

Of course, it is well known that gold will not tarnish or rust. Gold is corrosion proof and the most oxidation resistant of all metals. Clearly, the proof is in the pudding or, in this case, the briny deep. 

Experts suggest that the obvious durability of these gold coins and trinkets is attributed to the depth of the wreckage. There is neither sun nor air here, so the gold appears to be remarkably well preserved, simply waiting for its salvation. Until then, it’s just 17 billion dollars’ worth of fish happy jetsam. 

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