Shipwreck of the "La Capitana" - 8 Reales - Dated 1652

Denomination: 8 Reales                                                            

Dated: 1652

Reign: Philip IV                                                                          

Assayer: "E" - Antonio de Erqueta

Mint: Potosi                                                                             

Mount: Sterling Silver

Description:  8 Reales. Early post transition Potosi minted coin. Obverse: Pillar and Wave design. Visible “PH" across the top, denomination "8", Date "52", and Mint mark "P".  Reverse: Jerusalem cross with clear lions and castles visible. Visible "652" date.

History: Following the Potosi Mint Scandal of 1650, and counter-marked "crown marked" versions of Spanish silver cob coinage, the Pillar and Wave design appeared, forever changing the design of Spanish cobs from the traditional Cross and Shield version. This is an early Pillar and Wave, first transitional version, of the new specie. Type IV. 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.