Spanish Treasure Crosshatch Grid - 1965



Cross-hatch square grid made of vertical and horizontal engraved lines, equally spaced to form square patterns. Click here to see detail.


Solid sterling silver (mixture of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper)

Availability (model #)

Fountain pen (#182-000), ball pen

Edition size

4,821 fountain pens; unknown number of ball pens




New Yorker magazine, Feb. 5, 1966


Released in November 1965, the silver used to make this pen's cap and barrel came from a sunken Spanish galleon in the armada of 11 ships. This ship was carrying gold and silver treasures from the new world back to Spain and King Philip V. After the two groups of ships left Vera Cruz and Cartagena, they gathered in Havana to form an armada and head northward on the gulf stream. Seven days after leaving port, on July 31, 1715, the armada encountered the shrieking high winds and heavy seas of a hurricane. 10 of the 11 ships were driven onto reefs and were sunk off the coast of Florida.

To coin collectors, this group of shipwrecks became known as the 1715 Plate Fleet.  The silver was salvaged in 1961 by Mel Fisher who had the backing of investors including Ken Parker.  Unfortunately, the retrieved silver coins were beyond recognition as a doubloon, and only had value in its silver content. Intent on seeing his Fisher investment pay off, Parker was struck with the brilliant marketing idea to create a limited edition of the crosshatch Parker 75 using this salvaged silver. He created an entire package to give the pen an exclusive cachet that it uniquely deserved, with a price to match -- at $75, triple the normal price of the 75.

The complete package consisted of:

The pen itself has some impressive engravings. Around the cap band was an engraving to commemorate the source -- "STERLING SILVER - SPANISH TREASURE FLEET - 1715" -- in addition to the normal Parker logo and "Made in U.S.A." The tassie on top of the cap had the mark of the mint of Mexico, the letter M with a small circle over it. And on the tassie at the bottom of the barrel is engraved the Eagle of Purity, insignia for King Philip V of Spain.

The weights of the cap and barrel of this pen without the section, nib, or converter are 8.5 and 10.0 grams, respectively.

After issuing this limited edition, Parker also sent their dealers a plastic package containing a replica doubloon with a description on parchment paper.  See the cob coin update on this topic.

Thus was born the first limited edition fountain pen the US has ever seen!

Update of December 31, 2002

Here is evidence that Parker never packaged the coin with pen itself!

Update of June 27, 2004

The 1966 book Pieces of Eight by Kip Wagner (as told to L.B. Taylor, Jr.) described the Parker Pen deal in a different light.  As a "spin-off" benefit after a failed deal with the Peter Pan Peanut Butter Company's "dive for gold" promotion he writes:

One offer that did [pan out], however, was from the Parker Pen Company.  They put out a line called the Parker 75 — a solid sterling silver pen, "personally tailored to write your own way."  It sells for $25.  One of their brighter young public relations people came up with the idea of a special allotment of these pens molded from our 1715 fleet silver.  They made us a handsome offer for 4,000 ounces of silver, to be melted down from worn pieces of eight, and we accepted.  They made up 4,000 pens from this with special inscriptions saying they came from the Spanish galleons, and put them on the market for $75 each.  I understand they made a big hit with executives and with men who have everything else.  We certainly realized considerably more out of melting down these silver pieces than I did years ago when I gave away so many trinkets I had fashioned from melted cobs.

I might add that the consummation of the Parker Pen deal couldn't have come at a more opportune time.  With the hiring of Bob Johnson and the divers to put us on a full-time salvaging basis during the 1965 season, our operating expenses spiraled.  They averaged, for salaries and boat expenses and repairs, from $500 to $800 per week and hit a peak $8,000 one month.  We needed some ready money badly to keep things going and the Parker deal proved to be a real windfall.


Update of December 31, 2007

For an exhaustive treatise on the subject of cob coins refer to this book.  This latest edition released in 2007 has been expanded by 100 more pages from its 1995 version.

The author, Mr. Daniel Sedwick, was been kind enough to answer my many questions about the cob coins Parker used for this pen and made available in limited numbers as a souvenir with this pen.



Update of June 30, 2009

Here is Parker's perspective of the deal to get the salvaged coins from the Spanish Treasure Fleet, as told to me by the son of the man involved, William Derbins who was VP of Marketing at Parker.  As excerpted above, Kip Wagner wrote that he was "One of their brighter young public relations people" when in fact Mr. Derbins was a vice-president at Parker.


Update of December 31, 2011

A promotional kit was found that contained information Parker sent to distributors and dealers.  Click here to view it.