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History Hunters International > Articles > World of Islam

We contest all claims by Odyssey Marine for HMS Sussex

6 December 2007

History Hunters has searched the State papers of England for 1693 and 1694, and found reliable, clear evidences which disprove the claims of Odyssey Marine for HMS Sussex.

This has now been provided to leading journalists and the counsel for the Kingdom of Spain in this matter.

Odyssey Marine:

Other archive entries suggest that Sir Francis Wheeler additionally held a secret commission to deliver money, thought to be aboard Sussex, for subsidies and perhaps the payroll of mercenary soldiers fighting for Savoy.

That interpretation of the State papers is wrong.

Daily Telegraph - Adam Lusher - October 13, 2002:

"In the intervening years, the wreck was largely forgotten - until 1994 when a 17th-century document was found revealing for the first time in living memory that the Sussex was laden with gold coins."

"Despite the secrecy that surrounded the project, hints at the vast wealth concealed in the Sussex had entered the British court records.

""A great summ of money is sending hence for Savoy," said one entry in November 1693. Days before the Sussex left Portsmouth, the royal proceedings of December 12 1693 recorded that King William had ordered the exchequer to issue "a million pounds in money for the use of the Fleet".

"Mr Stemm laughs the laugh of a contented man when confronted with estimates from some with experience in the field that the gold coin could prove to worth as much as $4 billion (�2.6 billion.)

""It will certainly be very profitable to the company. If the original million pounds sterling is correct, the melt value of the gold would be approximately $100 million.

""Because of their provenance, gold coins sometimes sell for as much as 30 to 50 times their melt value. Is $4 billion, 40 times melt value likely? I just don't know.

""Two, three, five times melt value should be very easy to achieve - which would still make it the richest shipwreck I know of."

All parts of the claim that the English court paid a 'bribe' to Savoy, of �1 million, in gold, carried by the Sussex, are wrong. Suggestions otherwise, as reported in the media and repeated without due diligence or correction by the company are misleading at best.

Feb. 15. Whitehall. Sir John Trenchard to Sir Francis Wheler, enclosing orders. [H.O. Admiralty Entry Book 1, p. 99.]
Enclosing:�Order to Sir Francis Wheler, commander-in-chief of the ships in the Mediterranean (dated Feb. 15). After seeing the merchantmen as high as the Straits, and there detaching a proper convoy, you are to return to Cadiz with the remainder of the ships, and so dispose them there as to be most secure from any attempt or insult from the enemy, until the reinforcements from Spain and England put you in a condition to engage the enemy, or until you receive further orders. And you are to be careful to keep the ships in a posture not only of defence, but of sailing, upon any orders which shall be given them.

Of the claims to three pieces of evidence suggested by Odyssey Marine for treasure on board the Sussex, we can dismiss two. The third is the letter from the French consul in Livorno: "The Admiral ship of England was lost in the storm. There was on the ship a million piastres, of which 800,000 were for the Duke of Savoy."

Though this is hearsay and therefore unreliable, the letter does not describe a hoard of English gold coin in iron-bound chests. Piastres was a term used by the French and Italians to describe the silver peso (Eight Reale) of Spain.

Further, review of the physical evidence of this shipwreck presented by Odyssey does not support identification as the HMS Sussex.

There was never any gold coin in iron-bound chests and the HMS Sussex has not been found.

See also: Odyssey Marine in the media

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