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Duck Key in the Florida Keys

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Duck Key Treasure  

Duck Key treasure in the Florida Keys
The Curry Family - Duck Key and Florida Keys Pioneers

Historic records indicate the Curry family from Key West lived on Duck Key in the early 1900's.

In 1903 the island came into the possession of the Curry family. A letter appearing in the Key West Citizen on September 4, 1966, written by Kingman G. Curry states:

 "Editor, The Citizen:

Approximately 65 years ago my father, the late Charles J. Curry, was the owner of Duck Key, Florida, at which time my grandmother, Mrs. Charlotte Gould, my uncle Percy Gould, my mother and myself lived there.

It was with great difficulty that he constructed a house at that place owing to the fact that everything shipped there from Key West had to be shipped in a sailing vessel . . . "

Hearing on the Florida Keys radio of a sunken treasure ship being discovered just off Duck Key by skin divers, Mr. Curry wrote further:

 "All of this brought to mind . . . my father and uncle, it seemed to me, were forever digging on the land for hidden treasures, which according to a map they held, showed the location of this treasure as buried by a pirate. Too bad skin diving was not well known in those days as we might have discovered the treasure.

 Well, such is life!

Spanish Treasure

The treasure which Curry had heard about was that of a Spanish ship possibly named Sueco de Arizon which went aground off Duck Key and Walker Keys in 1733.

Fifty pounds of coins, worth about $30,000, including ten perfect pillar dollars were recovered by skin divers in eight feet of water. One of the salvors wrote,

"Before long we were piling up coins on the bottom . . . One of the first things I spotted was two Pillar Dollars stuck together. This is a rare coin, the first round milled dollar ever made in the New World and they were all lost on the 1733 fleet. They were in mint condition; the date 1732 looked as if minted yesterday . . . By noontime we . . . had picked up the last coin . . . . The smile on everyone's face told it all. There would be enough treasure tales to be yarned ashore for years to come."
Spanish Treasure coin found off Duck Key
Silver "Pillar dollar" derives its name from columns or pillars shown either side of a shield. Pillars symbolize Gibraltar and the Pyrenees Mountains, the pillars of Spain.

This silver coin and gold coins of the 1715 fleet may be seen at local jewelers located in Marathon.

 

It is still possible to free dive at the wreck site and observe the Spanish ship's egg-shaped ballast stones under which the treasure was found.

 

 

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