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Shipwreck treasures sold at South Yorkshire auction house

Treasure found in a 16th century shipwreck has been sold for £250,000 in a South Yorkshire auction house.

The 230 pewter plates and bowls were among 1,200 items of high-quality English tableware recovered from the wreck of a Spanish galleon off the Dominican Republic.

It is believed the unnamed ship was carrying Spain’s new ambassador to its colony of Hispaniola, now the Dominican Republic and Haiti, when it sank in about 1540.

A diplomat is thought to have been the only survivor after he swam ashore.

About a third of the tableware bears the mark of Sir Thomas Curtis, one of the most important pewterers in London in the 16th century, and mayor of the city in 1557.

His mark also appears on much of the pewter recovered from the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, which sank in the Solent in 1545.

Highlights of the 230 items sold at Wilkinson’s auction house in Doncaster included a set of octagonal plates by Sir Thomas that fetched £27,000.

Another set made by master pewterer Edward Cacher was sold for £22,000.

Three-quarters of the items found will remain in the possession of the Dominican Republic. The rest has been given to the divers who have been recovering them for the past two years.

Auctioneer Sid Wilkinson, said: “These items are as good as, if not better than, the pewter found in the wreck of the Mary Rose.”

 

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