Gold Cobs from the Florida shipwrecks of the 1715 Fleet & other New World wrecks. Spanish Colonial gold and silver coins from Lima, Mexico, Cuzco, Bogotá, Cartagena, and other mints.













Some of us knew a famous treasure hunter whose motto was “Today is the day.” When Mel moved to Florida in 1963, an uncle of ours (Rupert Gates), a cartographer by profession, became one of Mel Fisher’s first partners and backers. Ever since then, for better or worse, our family has been involved with the 1715 Fleet (recently celebrating the tercentenary of its tragic loss). Like Rupert, we are academics and numismatists who fell in love with the complicated and tragic story of the 1715 Fleet. While living and teaching on Florida’s Gold coast, we got to know the people of Real 8 and Treasure Salvors. Characters all, they were still gracious enough to invite us to dive with them on the treasure-laden sites of the Fleet. In those halcyon days, every July seemed to promise another “Carpet of Gold.” Most of us cannot devote our lives to traveling the world and diving for treasure. What we can do is build a personal and tangible connection to tragic events like the loss the 1715 Fleet through the coins and artifacts we collect. Unless time travel becomes a reality, these coins will remain our best portals to the past. Today is the day to treat yourself to a piece of history..

Above is a small  piece of how the Great Florida Gold Rush of ’64 began. Moe and Rup in July 1964. Mel and Rup contracted with Real 8 to salvage “Colored Beach” (as it was then known) in the spring of 1964. Moe ran Mel's boat. By late May their decks were awash in Spanish gold. Some of this history is in Kip’s Pieces of Eight, but the full story is yet to be told.


We are numismatists and historians with over four decades of experience specializing in the gold & silver coinage of the Spain’s New World Empire. The current Gold Cobs Research Collection was begun in 1981. We continue to find Spanish Colonial coinage a challenging and rewarding field of study. We enjoy helping people discover this fascinating area of numismatics. Getting started right is one of the keys. We have long been a vocal advocate of certified gold and silver Spanish Colonials. Collectors deserve the insurance that third party grading and authentication affords. If you would like to build a significant collection, or just acquire few pieces of history, we are ready to help you learn and build your collection. Please email or call us at 480-595-1293. 

Here is I am, Phil Flemming, chairing a session of distinguished archivists at our Vero Beach Conference. To my right is Dr John Debry and to left  are Dr Gene Lyons and Jorge Proctor. The topic was the archival story of the loss of Ubilla’s fleet. Some of this history is told in Kip’s Pieces of Eight.

Here I am again at our St Augustine Conference with the distinguished archivist Jorge Proctor. The St Augustine Conference ranged widely over the first Spanish settlements in Florida..


Phil Flemming

Gold Cobs

Carefree, AZ