Portuguese 20 reis 1796 from HMS COLOSSUS shipwreck 1798See original listing
Jul 16, 2012 13:10:36 PDT
Approximately US $248.23
GBP 7.20 (approx. US $10.83) Royal Mail International Signed-for | See details
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Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
This is probably the best copper coin we found on this wreck.It is a Portuguese 20 Reis clearly dated 1796 and one of the very few coins found . This was recovered from the famous HMS COLOSSUS which served under Nelson at the battle of the NIle and sunk in 1798 on her homeward journey from that battle Ir has been professionally conserved and will not deteriorate. It comes complete with a detailed colour certificate personally signed by the salvor.
After fighting at the battle of St. Vincent ,on 1 August 1798, British fortunes in the war against Napoleon were boosted with Nelson's defeat of the French fleet during the Battle of the Nile at Aboukir Bay. The 74-gun British vessel, the Colossus, had been badly damaged a year earlier, so she played no active part in the sea battle, although she was carrying all-important stores for Nelson's fleet.
After the battle, the Colossus's holds were emptied to repair the battered English ships when they limped back into the harbour at Naples. It was then planned to sail the Colossus back to England for long overdue repairs, with some of the spoils of the ongoing war with France loaded on board. Also packed in the hold were eight large crates of 'Etruscan' antiquities, which had been collected by Sir William Hamilton, the British ambassador to Italy and one of England's first archaeologists.
Nelson, who was the lover of Hamilton's wife, Emma, had promised the extremely rare and valuable cargo safe passage back to England. Hamilton, who knew of his wife's infidelity, outwardly ignored the scandal. The use of the Colossus for the transport of these antiquities was just one aspect of the unusual friendship between these 'tria juncta in uno'.
In addition to these treasures, the Colossus was also carrying 200 sick and wounded seamen, desperate for a speedy voyage back to England. However, the Colossus was ordered to call at Lisbon and pick up a further cargo of spices and preserved food – a detour that was to prove catastrophic.
Fighting against heavy easterly winds, the Colossus eventually reached the Isles of Scilly at the beginning of December, 1798. Captain Murray anchored in St Mary's Sound to await a change in wind direction. Unfortunately, by the night of 10 December, the wind turned to gale force and broke the main anchor cable. It was too dark to head for open sea, so Murray could only wait as his ship dragged her remaining anchors. At 4am, the Colossus ran aground on the Southward Well Reef, just off Samson Island.
With no likelihood of imminent rescue by the local population, Captain Murray decided to evacuate the ship – a highly dangerous operation, considering the rough seas and poor health of the passengers. As water reached the upper gun ports, the evacuation began; the wounded were lashed to the rigging and slowly carried ashore. All but one – who fell overboard – survived.
By now the Colossus lay on her beam ends, her deck towards the beach and her stern to the east. Salvage, both legal and illicit, continued for more than a year as the sea slowly destroyed the hull.
Modern discoveries and finds
For almost two centuries the Colossus was left to the sea, sunk but not forgotten. Then, in 1974, salvors located the bow section of the ship, along with 30,000 pottery fragments from Hamilton's collection of antiquities. These were successfully raised and painstakingly re-assembled for display at the British Museum by a small team of experts. Thousands of fragments remain at the museum, too small and unidentifiable to fit together.
Twenty five years later, a line of five 32-pound cannons were found by Jim Heslin standing vertically, breech upwards from the seabed through the intact remains of the gun ports were found almost a kilometre from the site discovered earlier. The sandy seabed was strewn with ship's timbers – representing one third of one side of the ship.
Ten metres from the cannon lay a partially uncovered wooden relief sculpture – part of the stern decoration of the Colossus.( Still attached to the stern) The carving is of a mythological human figure 13 feet or 3.2 metres high covered in fish-scale armour, holding aloft a wreath of laurels. This is an extremely rare artefact, with only a handful of other examples surviving in museums. This was lifted by Mac Mace , Jim Heslin and Terry Hiron and has now been conserved at great expence by the Mary Rose Trust . It now stands proudly in the entrance to the famous Tresco
Gardens on the Isles of Scilly and can be seen for free.
This wreck is now protected and no more excavations are allowed . It has become the domain of archaeologists and the timber remains will presumably be gradually destroyed by the sea . Including another possible carving on the other side of the stern which is completely buried . Any of the spoils carried from the battle of the Nile will never be seen by the public because this is how English Heritage look after our Heritage .
No more artefacts will therefore be lifted from this wreck or consequently come up for sale !!
On 21-May-12 at 00:19:01 BST, seller added the following information:
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Returns accepted if you are not delighted ? I will also combine postage if you buy more than one item