Gold "dragon whistle" (captain-general's badge of office), extremely rare and important.

Currency:USD Category:Artifacts / Shipwreck Artifacts Start Price:25,000.00 USD Estimated At:25,000.00 - 50,000.00 USD
Gold  dragon whistle  (captain-general's badge of office), extremely rare and important.
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This item SOLD at 2013 Oct 30 @ 21:27UTC-4 : AST/EDT
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Gold "dragon whistle" (captain-general's badge of office), extremely rare and important. 64.15 grams, about 2-7/8" long. The Spanish Fleets of 1715 and 1733 were major disasters primarily because they were full, combined fleets, commanded by Spain's top naval admirals (aboard the Almirantas) and captains-general (aboard the Capitanas), presumably all of whom were issued special whistles like this one, each crafted by Chinese artisans to look like a dragon with a long, slightly curved body with pointy tail terminating in a tiny scoop (for cleaning ears) and with long, scalloped fin at top hiding a pointed blade (for picking teeth) that has shifted slightly to cover the hole for hanging, the mouth and chin of the dragon open for use as a whistle to call hands on deck (we surmise). We know of two that were found on the 1715 Fleet: one with complete chain that was found in 1962 on the beach opposite the "Cabin wreck" site (believed to be the Capitana) and sold by Parke-Bernet Galleries (New York) in 1967 for $50,000 (plus fees) and later offered by Sotheby's (New York) in 1993 for $75,000-$100,000 (unsold then but ultimately selling privately in six figures); and a second one whose recovery and ownership are mysterious but that was on display in a museum in the Keys as late as the 1990s. From the 1733 Fleet, however, we know of only this one example, now making its first appearance on the open market, that is reportedly also a beach find, from 1986, in the vicinity of Plantation Key, documented in Plus Ultra as from El Infante but in our opinion more likely from the Capitana El Rubi and lost on the beach after the disaster in either case. This piece appears to be fully intact, although the toothpick fin is frozen in place and encrustation inside makes it impossible to whistle, still very intriguing in appearance and important as one of only three documented specimens (with rumors of a couple more), straight off the necks of the captains of the most famous Spanish fleets of all time. From El Infante of the 1733 Fleet, featured (with photo) in Vol. 13 No. 3 (3rd quarter 1995) of Plus Ultra Newsletter. Recovered from: Spanish 1733 Fleet, Florida Keys with Photo certificate.