Want To Own Some of Jose Gaspar’s Treasure?
In 2013 an older gentleman appeared at Boggs Jewelers from Port Charlotte, FL, with a box of several hundred coins found by he and two other men. They suggested they were part of Gaspar’s Treasure. They were novice treasure hunters. They came to Boggs because a man named Vern told them Boggs was trustworthy and would give them an honest valuation for them. He told Boggs that they found the coins in an old wine cask on the Peace River. The coins were all green in color so they were thought to be mostly copper, some nickel and some silver. The man, who asked to remain anonymous, said he found the coins in the “Boggess Hole”, located in the Big Mound Key-Boggess Ridge Archeological District, a historic site near Placida, Florida. It is located southeast of Placida, on Big Mound Key.
The coins had dates ranging from 1450 to 1760, so Boggs had the coins tested by three different 3rd party metal and coin experts – one in Indiana, one in New Mexico and another in St. Petersburg. All three confirmed they were billon coins from those years. Billon refers to a coinage metal consisting essentially of silver, nickel and copper, with silver typically in the range 10-30%. All consistent with coins made by Bolivia and Spain during those years. Boggs decided to purchase 120 of the coins knowing they had value and could be made into jewelry.
Boggs stored the coins away and some were given as unique gifts to friends of Boggs until 2018. It was at that time, a Boggs employee, named Gene De Luigi, called a friend of his named, Brad, who was a diver with Mel Fisher, a treasure hunter who was searching for the Atocha. De Luigi showed him three of the coins. Brad confirmed the coins were rare billon coins, and were much more valuable as a collectable coin than the alloy metal they are made from. Shortly after, De Luigi was connected with Michael Gattuso of The Real Treasure Hunters.
Gattuso immediately knew what they were and purchased three coins from Boggs. Through Gattuso, Boggs learned the history of Gasparilla’s Treasure and made the connection with Chanoce Deal, who had an old Family Bible with a photo of Juan Gomez, and a map of where the treasure was buried – you can learn more about that story at this link: https://www.boggsjewelers.com/gasparillas-treasure/
Five Coins Donated to St. Petersburg Museum of History
Mark Boggs of Boggs Jewelers said, “We decided to donate some of the coins to a St. Petersburg Museum so that people can learn more about Gaspar’s Treasure and the real story behind it.” On September 15, 2023 the coins were transferred to the Museum. (See video below)
The museum has not yet authenticated these coins were, in fact, Gaspar’s Treasure – but they ARE historic billon coins found on the Peace River.
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The Museum was interviewed by Fox 13 News in Tampa, FL. You can watch the clip below: