Shipwreck of the La Capitana - 1 Reales


Denomination: 1 Reales

Reign: Philip IV

Mint: Potosi

Assayer:  "O" - Juan Rodriquez de la Rosa (1649-1651) 

Weight:  3.18 grams

Date: Not Visible

Grade:  VF+ with most of shield and cross boldly showing

Mount: 14K gold

Coin History: 1 and 2 Reales coins were never 'Crown Marked'. The Crown mandated they be returned to the mint and reissued.  These denomination coins are rare to the La Capitana wreck, and most likely belong to a Nobleman or Merchant on board the Galleon.

Description: Obverse: Greek Cross. Reverse: Hapsburg shield, Assayer “O” mint mark

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.