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Spain Shipwreck Treasure Shown For The First Time

The inventory counted 574,553 silver coins and 212 gold coins.

Odyssey had argued that the wreck was never positively identified as the Mercedes. And if it was that vessel, the company contended, then the ship was on a commercial trade trip â¿¿ not a sovereign mission â¿¿ at the time it sank, meaning Spain would have no firm claim to the cargo. International treaties generally hold that warships sunk in battle are protected from treasure seekers.

Odyssey lost every round in federal courts as the Spanish government painted the company as modern-day pirates. The company has said in earnings statements that it has spent $2.6 million salvaging, transporting, storing and conserving the treasure.

The metals were mined and the coins minted in the Andes, from places that are now in Bolivia, Chile and Peru.

Spain overcame a last-minute effort by the Peruvian government to block the transfer of the treasure back to Spain. Peru did not gain its independence until 1824, but the country's lawyers argued it was more than a simple colony at the time because it was the local seat of the Spanish crown when the ship sank.

Spain's Queen Sofia promised in a visit to Bolivia several months ago that some of the treasure would be loaned to the country for display in museums.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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