A pirate who hunts treasures in the depths of seas. Meet JR Bissell!

A man named JR Bissell. Some of you may not know him, so let me introduce you. He’s calling himself a real pirate and the reason is simple. It’s because he’s got a huge collection of treasures and gold from pirate wrecks ships. By a lot, I mean really a lot. If you’re a fan of gold and we got your attention, you’re going to like what I’m going to say. We’ve made an interview with this man, asking him few questions about what exactly his work is and how is it going.

Q: First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting this interview. Some of our readers may not know what your work is so can you tell us what exactly are you doing?

So, my technical profession is “numismatist” and the industry is called “numismatics” although I wouldn’t start with that because those words could bore someone to tears haha. Basically what I do is that I’m finding pirate treasure.

Q: How did you come to this interesting business? Was it your dream for a long time or did it just happened?

My pops used to always flick real shipwreck gold coins into our pool when I was a kid, he only had I think 2 Colombian, 2 Escudos, and an 8 Escudos. They weren’t anything crazy, he wasn’t really collecting them back then. At the time he was running a grading company for paper money CGC (Currency Grading and Certification). After that, he was bored for 3 years and didn’t know what to do until he found out there was such a thing as a $10,000 bill. Now that really got his attention, $10,000 and $5,000 notes were made for interbank transfers before there was no such a thing as online banking etc. for banks to transfer large amounts of money between each other, they were never for the public to use. Also meaning they are pretty damn rare and range anywhere from $60,000 to deep six figures.

One day on his walk it clicked that if he opened a grading company all the rarest and prized bank notes would all end up being sent to him and then he would know where all the best notes were ‘buried away’ and exactly how many there were in existence. Not to mention the “computer box” as my dad says all his friends called it, was just beginning to have platforms like eBay and if you had the money you could hire someone who could make you a website and you could “sell through the computer box” which all his friends thought was crazy, that it would never work. So CGC thrived until 2008 haha (when the US economy went into recession), everything he had predicted had worked. People were buying and selling online of course and Ebay was still the largest platform for online fishing among auctions.

Now I’m graduating college and I’m in the office every day. My dad sees my face light up like a Christmas tree over these treasure coins in a way I never had any banknotes except the $10,000s and $5,000s, haha, those are epic. He thought my novice eye was a good indicator of popularity and decided to buy a couple more serious shipwreck gold treasure – worst case scenario, we love them anyway.

Q: How is the business going? Are you planning to extend your business and if yes, what are your plans?

I’m headed in a couple directions right now and they all have synergy with each other, the treasure art is definitely my latest muse, I probably spend 4-6 hours of my late nights’ painting.  However, I’ve also been spending a large amount of time and resources towards our shipwreck jewelry collection, we now have women’s earrings that are so epic I end up wearing them myself sometimes, I can’t help it after working on them for months haha. But we have pendant necklaces, and replicas with diamonds, emeralds. Our jewelry collection is getting pretty extensive.

I’ve been also contacted by a couple networks to do my own show, and also be apart of other shows but I’m leaning towards developing my own youtube series called ‘Gimme the Loot’. This will give me the freedom to do whatever in terms of content, language, widest audience, easiest access, and length in regards to time. I want to do it with lots of daily antics like Rob and Big but also show people the rarest coolest things on earth and talk about investing in those rare artifacts like historical pricing, and going to look at other people’s collections from Faberge eggs to dinosaur heads etc.

Treasure Paintings by Bissell “Bar and Chains”☠️🏴💰 This Painting depicts some of the most Iconic Shipwreck Treasure Gold from the famed 1715 Plate Fleet Shipwreck and Atocha 1622 Shiwpreck. The depth in colors and dimension on this piece is only achievable after 8 or more layers from painting, over the course of a month and a half and over 60 hours, the final product visually represents a true dimensional treasure coin with breathtaking array of colors. The colors are as rich as the treasure itself, encapsulating the heart stopping thrill we get when holding one of these crushingly rare shipwreck treasure coins. Unfortunately, we all have to put our treasures back in the safe or the bank, only taking them out every once in a while, but a painting of this magnitude brings the heart stopping thrill you feel, every day in your home. All artifacts Depicted in this painting are available in our store! (Painting photoshopped into living rooms, not actual size) Atocha Gold Bar This stunning Shipwreck Gold Treasure bar from the Nuestra Señora De Atocha from 1622 was recovered July 20th 1985 by Treasure Salvors, Inc. “Mel Fisher Family.” The weight is 31.3oz (Troy ounces for gold are 31g's as opposed to the traditional 28g) The measurements are 21.3cm x 3.2mm x 1.3cm, this is a very large bar (8 1/2 inches x 1.3in x 1/2 in). Poured & Struck in COLOMBIA from the Pena-Randa Foundry in 1621-22. I have researched many of the “En Rada” bars and this certainly ranks near the top in condition and clarity. It has 6 (SIX) Tax Stamps ~ indicating the “Royal Fifth” as been paid, 2 (TWO) Foundry stamps (En Rada) and 4(FOUR) “Purity Locations” karat markings of 20.75 karats (XX… = 20.75 karats). There’s also an assayer “scoop or bite” located at center left (called the “Bocado”). This sample “bite” was taken by the assayer to test the metal and he retained as his fee. These bars came from off the Keys “Deep Water Wreck” off the Gulf. In all my research and through colleagues’ long term research there’s approximately 12 of these bars known. (Scroll below to read more on the Atocha 1622 Shipwreck) Peru 1705 8 Escudos NGC 30 "1715 Plate Fleet Shipwreck”

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Q: Do you have some not fulfilled dream in your business?

My ultimate goal has always been my Hard Asset Exchange, I’ve been talking about it for 4 years now. A stock exchange based on hard assets (all hard assets, not just numismatics). Why do I want to make a stock exchange for hard asset collectibles? Affordability, when coins hit $10 million or when paintings start going for $170 million the stratosphere you’re operating in, in terms of audience size is thin. So the amount of potential buyers is limited and sometimes that inhibits growth at those numbers. Imagine you own a $170 Million dollar painting though and you could IPO it on my Hard Asset Exchange at however many shares, shares outstanding, and price per share you’d like. Doesn’t mean someone will think those shares are appropriately valued but if they are then people can buy and trade those shares.

It would be a lot more fun in my mind to say that I own 5% of Starry Night or the Mona Lisa versus saying I own .00000000000001% of Apple don’t you think? Not to mention these aren’t living breathing companies, they would be a much more stable alternative, unlike Chipotle where E-coli can hit the news and the stock plummets overnight, a painting or coin just goes into a vault and nothing happens to it. In fact, I believe it was Steve Wynn who put his elbow through a Monet and sold it for double. The repair was so good no one would ever tell and the story of Wynn actually helped the price if you can believe it. It’s an idea I’ve been extensively working on super late nights into the mornings because there are so many variables, my favorite part of the Hard Asset Exchange is if you acquire 100% of the shares you could re-privatize the item and then at a later date re-IPO it with new amounts of shares and price per share based on your own strategies. I think that would be an insanely fun playground to play in, and no one has made it yet…So maybe I’ll have to.

Q: How exactly are you finding the treasure and how long does it take to find anything that is worth it?

Finding treasure is brutal, divers will go 2-3 years and find maybe a 2 Escudos and then they want like $12,000 for a $3,000 coins, which is understandable because they just went years finding nothing.  Most the treasure we buy is found off the coast of Florida. You have to own the rights to the water you’re diving and Florida gives you a limited amount of time for each lease. If you don’t find anything they’ll let someone else have the shot. Mel Fisher even lost his own kid finding treasure. It’s a rough business and mostly everyone finds nothing. If you find it on land you get to keep the coin but if you find it in the water Florida takes 20%.

Q: Is it difficult to be a “treasure hunter” or can anyone become one in just a few days?

Well, I’m not going to say anyone needs help to sell shipwreck gold, but I also had just finished marketing school and before that, if my dad didn’t slap my head on straight I would have probably gone to art college. Then after I graduated, I felt like I couldn’t have a better match again, it felt like blackjack twice, I get to use all my marketing knowledge on something as fun as shipwreck treasure?! Not to mention I get to do it all from scratch, brand new website I got to build from scratch all by myself, all the photos, all the SEO, the branding, the whole essence of the company, it was all mine to do exactly how I envisioned with only my dad to contenst to. A perfect bliss as an artist and a marketer.

Dead Men Tell no Tales ☠️🏴($995 PirateGoldCoins.com) solid silver coin electroplated 2 microns thick and matted to make it look like the actual coin (legally only needs to be .25 microns thick to be “gold plated” but its worth the extra money in looks and doesn’t rub off) all my shirts look ten thousand times more badass now hahaha so stoked on these thanks @intothefirejewelry (replica gold bars $495) #pirate #pirategold #shipwreck #shipwrecktreasure #shipwreckgold #piratetreasure #piecesofeight #atochashipwreck #1715platefleet #escudos #doubloons #goldcoins #coincollection #treasure #authentictreasure #realtreasure #treasuregold #sunkentreasure #buriedtreasure #treasurehunting #piratesofthecaribbean #deadmentellnotales #pirates #piratescove #pirateslife #pirateslifeforme

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Q: Would you like to tell us the best experience in your pirate life you’ve had so far?

The best experience I’ve had so far is definitely getting the Gold Bar we have of the Atocha, it’s massive and it has the pirate shipwreck gold bar look exactly how’d you’d want it to look like something out of a movie. There are only 12 Enrada Bars off the Atocha and 9 of them are in a museum in Germany, however, it sits at a bank and that’s why we have $2,500 exact replica of it on our desk haha. And I’m currently doing a painting of it.

Wallstreet Journal – Atocha Shipwreck Article: The 1622 wreck of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, a Spanish ship laden with New World gold, became the fixation of a chicken farmer turned deep-sea diver named Mel Fisher. He searched doggedly for the treasure for 16 years (and tragically lost his son and daughter-in-law when a salvage boat capsized during the search). In 1985, the Fisher team came upon a large portion of the wreckage. The treasure they've extracted since then is worth some $500 million, the Fishers say. A fraction of that is about to go under the hammer at a Philadelphia auction house. Three large silver bars, two small gold "finger" bars and one gold disc that went down with the Atocha will be featured in Freeman's Jan. 25 Fine English & Continental Furniture & Decorative Arts sale. (Items from the sale are on view at the auction house's Philadelphia headquarters starting Friday). The silver bars range in weight from 39 to 87-plus pounds, $15,000 to $45,000 in price. The gold is far lighter, ranging from four to 14.5 ounces at an estimated $8,000 to $30,000 apiece. The items were sold once before: In 1988, Christie's auctioned off part of the Atocha treasure, raising $2.6 million. In the early 1600s, the Spanish monarchy dispatched armadas regularly to stock up on gold, silver and gems from the Americas to help fund its army. The Atocha was one of several ships that fell prey to Caribbean hurricanes en route home from Cuba and sank off what would become Key West, Fla. On the Atocha, 260 people drowned and about 70 tons of treasure were lost. (The other ship, the Santa Margarita, ran aground.)

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I appreciate all the answers, and I want to wish you a great day and lot of treasures in the future!

If you, dear readers, want to see JR Bissell’s work, check out his personal website itsbissell.com, pirate website pirategoldcoins.com and his Instagram @itsbissell.