MIAMI, Oct. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Santa Maria bell, which accompanied Christopher Columbus' flagship on his expedition to the Americas in 1492, will be auctioned off on November 18 in Miami. The American Cancer Society will benefit.
The bell was discovered by former Italian naval officer and underwater salvage expert Roberto Mazzara in 1994 off the coast of northern Portugal. It is at the center of an epic story replete with treasure hunts, political intrigue and historical mystery. Mazzara believes that the auction "will be a wonderful opportunity to give the world of collectors access to this unique piece." But he has also decided that a portion of the proceeds will go to charity.
Five percent of the auction's proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society (ACS). For Mazzara, the donation "is a way of showing my commitment and gratitude to all those who fight against this disease, both health professionals and the people who suffer from it." His gesture was communicated to Viviana Mártir, the ACS's Regional Integrated Marketing Director, who thanked him for the announcement of the donation and said that the organization "is happy that Mazzara has chosen them" to receive the donation once the bell is successfully auctioned off in Miami.
There is ample evidence to support the authenticity of this historical treasure, which weighs just under 31 pounds and measures roughly 10 inches in diameter. The University of Zaragoza conducted chemical and metallographic analysis of the bell, which confirmed its age and a composition typical of Columbus's time. The General Archives of the Indies, housed in Seville and Simancas in Spain, identify a bell on the Santa Maria closely matching Mazzara's find, and documents recorded by the Casa de la Contratación, or House of Trade, provide similar evidence. The Spanish Ministry of Culture confirms that Mazzara's find is the oldest naval bell in the world.
After legal battles that called the bell's ownership into question, the historic piece was returned to its rightful owner, Mazzara, by a Spanish court. Many consider the bell to be priceless, as it is in several ways a unique artifact. It now makes its grand entrance after being stored in an undisclosed Miami-area location since 2006.
The bell will be privately auctioned on November 18. Bidding will start at $6 million.
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SOURCE Roberto Mazzara