Lot 73: Gold Chalice
August 5, 2015
New York City, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Artifact #: 73283. Shipwreck: Margarita 1622. Recovered in 2008. Dimensions: 16cm W. RESERVE.
Notes: To be approved to bid on this lot, please complete Guernsey's Bidder Agreement Form (http://guernseys.com/v2/images/Mel_Deo_Fisher/docs/Fisher_BidderAgreement_Form.pdf) and return it to Guernsey's by fax or email before 12 Noon (EDT) August 5.
Provenance: Discovered in 2008, this ornate, two-handled vessel amounted to the most valuable discovery from the Santa Margarita shipwreck in more than two decades. This five-inch high chalice -- also referred to as a bernegal -- is made of solid gold and was featured in the December 2010 issue of The Robb Report. Although the ship's wreck site was discovered in the 1980s by Mel Fisher and his team, in 2006, Keith Webb of Blue Water Ventures had secured the rights to the area. Since its discovery, the chalice has undergone conservation efforts lead by marine archaeologists, who also removed a layer of white, calcareous concretion -- no doubt the result of having been imbedded in the ocean floor for nearly four centuries. The rim of this gold chalice is etched with scrollwork, images of animals, and there is a crest in the center of the cup that remains in pristine condition. Although experts have not linked the crest to any of the ship's passengers, there is a helm above the engraving that could signify its owner as having been a Duke or a Baron. The gold shines radiantly with a deep hue and is of a high karat weight. A portion of a tax stamp is visible on the edge of the base, and another is present on the bottom of the cup. The base is threaded onto the bottom of the chalice and it turns as if it were made yesterday.