Shipwreck treasure shown for first time

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iol scitech dec 3 shipwreck treasure AP File photo: Spain recovered the treasure made of coins and other artifacts retrieved after a five-year legal wrangle with Odyssey Marine Exploration company who had found the shipwreck of Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a Spanish warship, that sank during a 1804 gun battle.

Madrid - Spanish cultural officials have allowed the first peep at 16 tons of shipwreck treasure worth an estimated $500 million that a US salvage company gave up after a five-year international ownership dispute.

A tiny portion of the loot from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a galleon that sank off Portugal's Atlantic coast near the straits of Gibraltar in 1804, was shown to the media: 12 individual silver coins, a block of encrusted silver coins, two gold tobacco boxes and a bronze pulley.

Officials said some of the treasure will be put on display in museums next year. Spain got it from Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration in February after US courts rejected arguments that the company was entitled to all or most of the treasure. - Sapa-AP

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