La Capitana Shipwreck - 8 Reales - Dated 1653 - Mounted in 14K gold

Denomination: 8 Reales

Assayer:"E" Erqueta

Weight: 23.0 gm

Mint: Potosi, Bolivia

Reign: Philip IV

Date: 1653

Mount: 14K gold

Description:  Post Transitional type. Obverse: Type VIII Pillar and Wave design.  "PH" at top.  Strong strike with Mint mark "P" (visible twice), Denomination "8", and Assayer mark "E"; all clearly. visible.  Plus Ultra across the middle visible.  Reverse: Greek cross with lions and castles in four quadrants.

History: La Capitana sank in October of 1654 off the coast of Chanduy, Ecuador. The 1,200-ton Spanish galleon was the largest built in Colonial American during the 17th century, and the flagship of the Viceroyalty of Peru and the South Sea Armada. This ship was commissioned to carry Spanish coins including the Potosi Mint scandal coins, the subsequent countermark coins and many other dated from 1649-1654.

The galleon overburdened with unregistered goods which many say contributed to the sinking, and backed by testimonies of the crew itself, led to the greatest loss in silver coinage of any Spanish galleon of the time. It was said the crew members could not even lower the anchors because there was so much treasure stacked on the anchor cables. At least 20 people died in their attempt to swim to shore. 

All attempts to find the shipwreck failed until the location was made by Sub-America Discoveries, Inc. in November of 1996.