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    Description

    Betts-23 Matanzas Treasure Medal
    Splendid Peter Heyn Memento

    Betts-23. 1628 Matanzas Treasure. Silver. Mint State. 63.9 mm, 3 mm thick, 82.4 gm. Medal turn. The Latin legend is an excerpt from the Prophet Jeremiah, The Nations shall Serve Him ... surrounding a wonderfully detailed Western hemisphere map showing California as an island and the western coasts of Europe and Africa. The Arctic and Antarctic ice regions are clearly shown. The reverse depicts Admiral Piet Heyn's Dutch fleet bottling up the Spanish treasure fleet in Cuba's Matanzas Bay and capturing the entire year's treasure of New Spain. The legend hails the Threshing of the Daughter of Babylon ... by the Despoilers of the North, the Dutch under the resourceful Heyn. Faint blue-steel toning overlies a razor-sharp strike with its wealth of jewel-like detail. This extraordinary medal is essentially as perfect as the moment it dropped from the dies.

    John W. Adams Commentary
    "Betts 23-26 - Pieter Heyn was an 'old salt' if ever there was one. He began his sailing career on his father's privateer, later becoming captain of his own merchant fleet. He became a director of the West India Company when it was formed in 1621 and, in 1624, he became a vice-admiral in the West India Company navy. He soon earned his rank, capturing 22 Portuguese ships at San Salvador, Brazil. Four years later, in September 1628, he was placed in charge of 31 warships sent by the Company to intercept the returning Spanish treasure fleet. This he successfully managed and, in a brilliant action, destroyed the Spanish warships and herded the transports into Matanzas Bay, having thwarted their attempt to enter Havana. The gold and silver captured is estimated to have been worth 15 million guilders or 5 million ducats. The booty was in the form of ingots but also struck cobs, one of which is offered below. There are Gem examples of each of these four Betts varieties, making this an offering without precedent."
    Ex: Wayte Raymond Estate; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack's, 1/2006), lot 678; Americana Sale (Stack's, 9/2009), lot 6013.
    From The John W. Adams Collection.


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The John W. Adams Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 23
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