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SHIPWRECK FIND YIELDS OVER 500,000 SILVER AND GOLD COINS

 

Staff Report

TAMPA, FLORIDA, 18 MAY 2007 —The publicly traded US company Odyssey Marine Exploration (AMEX: OMR),  announced today that it has completed the pre-disturbance archaeological survey and preliminary excavation of a Colonial-period shipwreck site, code-named "Black Swan" in an undisclosed location in the Atlantic Ocean.

The artifacts recovered from the site include over 500,000 silver coins weighing more than 17 tons, hundreds of gold coins, worked gold, and other artifacts. All recovered items have been legally imported into the United States and placed in a secure, undisclosed location where they are undergoing conservation and documentation.

While Odyssey would not release the precise location of the site, it is believed that the coins might have come from the wreck of a 17th century merchant ship found off southwestern England, and that this recovery constitutes the largest collection of coins ever excavated from a historical shipwreck site. 

In a statement to the press, Odyssey maintains that the coins were recovered in conformity with Salvage Law and the Law of the Sea Convention, beyond the territorial waters or legal jurisdiction of any country. Furthermore, the company does not believe that the recovery is subject to sovereign immunity by any nation pursuant to the Law of the Sea Convention. 

While there was no mention of how much Odyssey has invested thus far in this project, the company says the work accomplished to date on this site followed archaeological protocols using advanced robotic technology, and the artifacts are now undergoing a meticulous conservation process by experienced coin conservators.

Odyssey is not prepared to disclose the possible identity of the shipwreck at this time, and may only do so after thoroughly examining the artifacts, analyzing the research and proving the identity, if possible, of the shipwreck.

"Our research suggests that there were a number of Colonial period shipwrecks that were lost in the area where this site is located, so we are being very cautious about speculating as to the possible identity of the shipwreck", said John Morris, Odyssey co-founder and CEO.

"The remarkable condition of most of the first 6,000 silver coins conserved has been a pleasant surprise, and the gold coins are almost all dazzling mint state specimens." said Greg Stemm, Odyssey's Co-founder. "We are excited by the wide range of dates, origins and varieties of the coins, and we believe that the collecting community will be thrilled when they see the quality and diversity of the collection."

Still, while some of the coins may be worth as much as $1,000 each to collectors and investors, it is impossible to estimate their exact value without knowing the origin, rarity and condition of the coins.

The excavation of this site follows Odyssey's successful excavation of the SS Republic, a shipwreck lost in 1865 off the US coast. The deep ocean robotic archaeological excavation of that site produced approximately 65,000 artifacts, including over 50,000 coins with a retail value of over $75 million.

The company is continuing operations on several other projects with its ships and ROV systems, and is currently awaiting the appointment of Spanish archaeologists following an arrangement with the Spanish Government and the Junta of Andalucia prior to resuming operations on the Sussex project pursuant to an agreement with the UK Government.

For security reasons, as with the "Black Swan" project, the company may only announce the results of the other current projects after completion of the excavations or delivery of the artifacts to a safe location.

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