Pirate Shipwreck Treasures - Isla de Muertos or "Isle of the Dead"
Denomination: 1 Reales
Assayer: "E" Antonio de Erqueta (1652-1679)
Weight: 3.5 gm
Mint: Potosi, Peru
Reign: Carlos II
Mount: 14K gold
Description: 1 Reales Silver Cob. Obverse: Pillar and Wave design. Minimal environmental wear, with visible date, Assayer, and denomination. Reverse: Greek cross visible with environmental wear.
History: This coin was a part of the treasure of the new world being shipped home to Spain. A delay in getting the coins from the mint in Potosi prevented the Santa Maria De La Consolacion from sailing with the rest of the Armada from Callao, Chile. Intended to be part of the Spanish “South Seas Fleet” of 1681, which left Lima’s port of Callao in April, the Consolación ended up traveling alone. At the Gulf of Guayaquil, off modern-day Ecuador, the Consolación encountered English pirates, led by Bartholomew Sharpe, who forced the Spanish galleon to sink on a reef off Santa Clara Island (later nicknamed “Isla de Muerto,” or Dead Man’s Island).
Before the pirates could get to the ship, the crew set fire to her and tried to escape to the nearby island without success. Angered by the inability to seize the valuable cargo of the Consolación, Sharpe’s men killed the Spaniards and tried in vain to recover the treasure through the efforts of local fishermen. Spanish attempts after that were also fruitless, so the treasure of the Consolación sat undisturbed until the late 1990's.