La Capitana Shipwreck - 4 Reales - Dated 1651

Denomination: 4 Reales                                                                        

Weight: 13.73 gm 

Mint: Potosi, Peru                                                                                       

Reign: Carlos II         

Assayer: "E" Antonio de Erqueta (1651) Last year for shield design                       

Date: 1651

Description: Potosi, Bolivia, cob 4 Reales. Obverse: Type G - Crown over L, countermark. A Broad round flan with central weakness, full countermark near center, full 1(6)51 date. Reverse: Faint trace of assayer E to right, much toning (brownish) and light encrustation, one edge-split.  

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 America during the 17th Century, and the flagship of the Vice Royalty 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 others dated from 1649 to 1654.  The galleon, overburdened with unregistered goods, which many say contributed to its sinking. In testimony from crew members; it was said that they 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 ashore. All attempts to find the shipwreck failed until the location was made by Sub-America Discoveries, Inc. in November of 1996.