Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spain to Peru: It's Not About the Money, Really

Spain has rejected Peru's claims to the treasure retreived from the Black Swan wreck. According to the Washington Post,

On Thursday, the Peruvian government made an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to block transfer of the treasure to give Peru more time to make arguments in U.S. federal court about its claim to being the rightful owner. But that appeal was denied Friday by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Peru had argued the gold and silver on the ship was mined, refined and minted in its territory, which at the time was part of the Spanish empire.

But Carmen Marcos, deputy director of Spain’s National Museum of Archaeology, said Monday the coins were minted not just in Peru but also in Bolivia, Colombia and Chile. And the whole affair involved in claiming the coins was not about monetary value but rather history, she added. “These coins are not money. They are archaeological pieces,” she told reporters.

For more, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/spain-rejects-peruvian-claim-to-shipwreck-treasure/2012/02/27/gIQAFFcfdR_story.html

While this statement will no doubt warm the hearts of archaeologists everywhere, one would hope cash strapped Spain (which is only a little better off than Greece) will consider selling most of the coins after they are properly cleaned and recorded. If the coins really are worth $500 million as reported, why hoard them instead of using proceeds from their sale for the public good?

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