Yesterday at the break of daylight, as I took the girls to the bus, in the gravel of the driveway I saw what I thought was a gold bottle cap. Not wanting my neighbors to think we are litterbugs, I bent down to pick it up. Upon closer inspection, I realized it wasn’t a bottle cap at all but something more intriguing.
Coated in mud and bits of rock, the object was larger than I originally thought, and resembled my son’s Boy Scout slide for his neckerchief. I wondered who it could belong to. Flipping it over, I realized it was a badly damaged gentleman’s ring. I threw the muddy ring back into the gravel while I helped the children board the bus.
When I started walking towards home, I almost forgot to retrieve the ring, but then had to search again for where I had tossed it into the gravel. “This might be someone’s class ring,” I thought. “Maybe it has a name on the band."
Eyeing the wadded up paper towel, Tedeau asked, “What ya got there, Mrs. Martin?” “Treasure!” I answered mischievously, “Found it in the driveway.”
Tedeau followed me to the sink and watched as I held the ring under running water. As the surfaces of the ring began to appear, we guessed at what the ring had been. “Is it a class ring that lost the stone?” I asked.
“No,” replied Ted, “its got some sort of imprint on it.”
I rubbed the mud out of the crevices of the ring and dried it off. Tedeau took out his Leatherman and pried up the band which was smashed into the top of the ring. Inside the band read São Jõse 1622.
As I read words aloud, our eyebrows raised. “Well, what do we have here?” he said.
Immediately, I thought of my best childhood friend, Cherie. Her father, Mr. Jack Magné , is the owner of Treasure Sails Inc., and is a specialist in treasure recovered from the shipwreck Atocha.
“What are the chances?” I thought. Not long ago, Mr. Jack and his wonderful wife, Ms. Stella had blessed me with a cross made from bullion recovered from the Atocha. I turned over the cross, and on the back was stamped Atocha 1622.
Tedeau and I bantered back and forth about the treasure I may have found. I looked for Spanish coins online and found dollar amounts that were truly exciting! We surmised that it must have been dropped on the road with the gravel, but decided we should check with our neighbors to be sure it wasn’t a lost treasured memento.
Thankfully, the Magnés are early risers. Mr. Jack and I exchanged dialog over the ring and he was very adept at identifying what we were looking at. “The coin, or possible coin recast, looks to be of design from around 1622-1715,” he began, and further identified the markings on the ring. Kindly, he forwarded the images to a friend of his that is a coin expert.
What was most remarkable, was that not I found twice lost treasure, but that the father of my closest old friend would happen to be one of the few people in the country that was not only able to identify what I was looking at, but understand the true excitement that comes along with the realization that you are holding recovered sunken treasure from 1622.
Mr. Jack joked with me that finding the ring in the driveway and his connection to 1622 treasure probably had similar odds to winning the lottery. I agree with him, so I guess there is no point in buying a ticket now, because I used up my once in a lifetime.
In truth, ring or lottery or neither, I have already won. The love of family and friends is the best treasure I could have, and my heart is abundantly full. Finding the ring was a beautiful way to once again unearth the importance of them in my life. I feel rich!