Denomination: 8 Reales
Assayer: M (1616-1617)
Reign: Philip III
Grade: One (1)
Coin History: 1617 saw the first dated Reales from the Potosi Mint
On September 6, 1622, the heavily laden treasure galleon of King Philip IV's Terra Firme Fleet struck a reef and sank in a raging storm near the Florida Keys. More than two hundred and sixty persons perished and tons of gold, silver, and other precious cargo were lost to the sea. All attempts to locate the shipwreck failed until the location of the primary cultural deposit were made by Treasure Salvors, Inc. on July 20th, 1985.
Most of the coins recovered from the Atocha were minted in the New World and usually have irregular shapes. They were manufactured by cutting coin blanks from crudely cast bars of refined silver bullion; then clipped to the requisite weight, heated, and hand-hammered between crudely engraved dies.
Coins of Philip II (1556-1598) and Philip III (1598-1621) bear a simplified Hapsburg Shield on the Obverse. The legend, if complete, reads "PHILLIPVS II (III) DEI GRATIA." Philip II (III) By the Grace of God." The reverse has a cross with castles and lions in the quarters. The legend reads "HISPANIARVM: ET : INDIARVMREX," "King of Spain and the Indies."