Joanna Shipwreck - South Africa - 1682 - Mexico City Mint - 4 Reales

Denomination: 4 Reales

Mint: Mexico City

Date: Not Visible

Assayer: Not Visible

Reign: Charles II

Mount: Sterling Silver

History: Already a five-year veteran of voyages to India, the British East Indiaman Joanna sailed for her last shipment in the year 1682. Her sixth, and final voyage, would end prematurely in the early morning gloom of June 8. Her final resting place was within miles of the Southernmost Point of South Africa, near Die Dam. Upon her wrecking, Joanna would become the first East India Company vessel to sink in South African waters, and it would also be the site of the first Spanish silver ingots to be discovered in South African waters. Carrying mostly silver 4 and 8 Reales, Joanna held a registered cargo of 70 chests of silver pieces of eight, alongside lead, copper, and other trade goods intended for the colonists. 

Her survivors were rehabilitated by local South Africans and were given meat and milk as long as they stayed, and were accompanied by a local guide on their journey to the Cape (a journey of roughly 80 miles to the Northeast). From the Cape, an initial salvage took place on a calm day, and 2,000 pounds sterling was secured. 

The remaining treasure would be lost for exactly 300 years, until 1982, years before Mel Fisher discovered the Atocha in Key West. Joanna was discovered by a South African corn farmer, Charles Shapiro, and a small team of divers that included Clackworthy, Erik Lombard, Bert Kutzer, Andre Hartman and Tommy Botha. A salvage of 23,000 silver coins, 44 iron cannon, and hundreds of pounds of silver discs were recovered from the site.