Shipwreck coin among tourney prizes

Gale Tibbetts knows a thing or two about rare coins. And for the past 14 years, she’s put that knowledge and investment to good use. 

Next month, Tibbetts, who owns 24K-Mon Jewellers on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, will donate a 17th century silver coin — that until recently had been entombed in the wreckage of a Spanish galleon lying on the ocean floor off the coast of Spain — to be one of the many prizes during the annual charity golf tournament to support the Cayman Islands Red Cross. 

Each year since the inaugural tournament, Tibbetts has donated a coin from her collection on behalf of her sister, Brenda Tibbetts Lund, who died of breast cancer. Over the years, Tibbetts has supported the Red Cross golf tournament by giving both gold escudo doubloon coins, as well as silver Spanish Colonial reales, to be awarded as hole prizes. 

This year, the golfer who comes closest to the pin on hole No. 1 will take home a two reale silver Spanish American Cob minted in 1670 in Potosi, Bolivia.  

The piece was salvaged in the 1990s after the discovery of the wrecked Spanish treasure fleet ship Santa Christina near the coastal port city of Cadiz, Spain. 

“A lot of the time, they are shipwreck pieces like this one,” Tibbetts said. “They are hand struck, so they are not perfect like the coins you have today. Back in those times, they had a half reale, a 1 reale and a 2 reale, like today in the United States you have a nickel, dime and quarter. Today, this piece would be worth somewhere in the ballpark of US$500-$600.” 

Scheduled for Friday, 2 September, and Saturday, 3 September, the two-day golf tournament at North Sound Golf Club is one of two primary fundraisers scheduled this year as the Cayman Islands Red Cross looks to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a “September to Remember” charity initiative. 

The second event will be Saturday, 10 September, when the local relief organisation holds its annual gala dinner and dance at the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa.  

All proceeds from these events will directly support services provided by the local chapter. Sponsorships are still available for individuals and organisations. 

“We encourage other businesses to join us in supporting the Cayman Islands Red Cross and for individuals to consider registering for the golf tournament or to attend the dinner/dance,” said Jason Waters, president and country head of Royal Bank of Canada in the Cayman Islands, the title sponsor for both events.  

“Both events promise to be fun for all involved, while benefiting a tremendous local cause,” Waters said. 

The main attraction for the golf tournament at North Sound Golf Club will be the appearance of professional golfers Nick Price and Mark McNulty. Three separate shotgun starts are scheduled for Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon. The tournament is looking for 20 teams of 4 golfers apiece for each session. There will be prizes for closest to the hole on all par-3s, as well as for longest men’s drive, longest women’s drive and winner of a putting contest.  

A new car would be awarded to anyone shooting a hole in one.  

“We’ve been doing the cars since the first year, but so far no luck with that. Maybe this year,” said Peter Milburn, a longtime Red Cross volunteer who started the charity golf tournament 14 years ago. “This will be the first time we do the tournament over two days. Last year, we had a lot of people, so we’re hoping that will spill over to this year.” 

The following week, the Red, Gold and Soul themed gala dinner and dance is scheduled for 6.30pm at the Governor’s Ballroom at the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa. The dinner will feature a tribute act to the legendary ladies of soul, Tina Turner, Donna Summer and The Supremes. 

Guests will enjoy a three-course gourmet meal, entertainment and chances to win prizes. There will also be a live auction and a Red Cross balloon raffle. 

“We’re pulling out all the stops for this 50th anniversary celebration, which will be the place to be on September 10th,” said Jondo Obi, director of the Cayman Islands Red Cross. 


Sponsorship forms, tournament entry forms and ticket information for the dinner and dance are available by contacting the Cayman Islands Red Cross at 916-3345 or by email at [email protected] Donations to the Red Cross may be made on the organisation’s website at Cheques should be made payable to the Cayman Islands Red Cross. 


This silver two reale Spanish American Cob will be awarded to one of the golfers next month during the annual Cayman Islands Red Cross charity tournament. – Photo: Submitted


Sponsors of the Cayman Islands Red Cross gather at the North Sound Club where the 14th annual RBC/CIRC Charitable Golf Tournament will be held. Pictured from left are Robert Chilman, associate golf pro, North Sound Club; Gale Tibbetts, manager, 24K-Mon Jewelers & Art Gallery; Jason Waters, vice president and country head of RBC; Jondo Obi, director, Cayman Islands Red Cross; Gina Peck, marketing supervisor, Progressive Distributors; and Davy Ebanks, general manager, North Sound Club.

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