Rare 17th Century Iron Armada Chest!

Item #CC-0523 |  Rare 17th Century Iron Armada Chest!
Country of Origin: Nuremburg, Germany
Composition: Wrought Iron & Steel
Dimensions:  26″ Long, 13-1/2″ Wide – 14-1/2″ Tall
Condition: Good

Description: This is a rare 17th century wrought iron Armada Chest, also known as a Corsair Chest! These chests were made by blacksmiths in Nuremberg, Germany from the 16th through the 18th centuries and were used to transport gold, silver, jewels, payrolls, documents and other valuables. At the time, chests made in Nuremberg were known to be the state-of-the-art and were highly sought after by nobles, merchants, military officers, and pirates. These chests were extremely difficult to break into as they had a complex locking system beneath the lid and a pair of locks which could be affixed to the hasps at the front.

The Exterior

The top of the chest has its original movable key hole cover and original key which are often missing. The keyhole cover is used to conceal the actual key hole and keep debris from falling into the locking mechanism. The front of the chest has a beautifully preserved and engraved false key hole escutcheon plate, which was used to fool would-be thieves into thinking it was the way to open the chest. The sides have the original heavy-duty twisted iron handles designed to protect your fingers when the chest is lifted, which could weigh over 300 lbs. when fully loaded with treasure.  This chest displays some of its original paint along with signs of wear, repair, and corrosion, which you would expect for a chest that likely spent a lot of time traveling across the oceans where it was exposed to the elements.

The Interior

What makes this chest truly remarkable is the interior. The locking mechanism is hidden beneath a beautifully engraved and polished steel escutcheon plate that displays a pair of mythical looking men. At the bottom of the chest is a separate jewelry compartment that has a very unusual and rare spring-loaded latch. Typically, these jewelry compartments come with a keyed lock, so this feature is quite unique.   The craftsmanship and quality reflected in this chest’s construction and engraving stand as a testimony of how incredibly skilled the blacksmiths were during this period.

For more information on Nuremberg chests like this one, check out our Treasure Blog titled “The Amazing History of the Armada Chest at: https://commodorecoins.com/2023/11/the-history-of-the-armada-chest/