La Capitana Shipwreck - Crown Mark rating of R1 (25 -50 found) - Dated 1654

Denomination: 8 Reales                                                                                                          

Weight: 21.04 gm

Date: Not Visible                                                                                                                              

Mint: Potosi

Assayer: "O" Rosa ("the wheel”)                                                                                          

Reign: Philip IV

Grade: XF

Description: Obverse: Clear Greek cross with an ("O" under a Crown) counterstamp. This particular crown mark has an R1 rating. There were only 25 to 50 coins found with this crown mark; making it very rare to the shipwreck. Reverse: Hapsburg shield with Mint and Assayer marks visible.  Saltwater damage.

History: The wreck of the Capitana, or the lead ship of the Spanish South Seas (Pacific) Fleet, would become the largest loss ever experienced by the Spanish armada. After striking the Punta Santa Elena reefs, The Jesus María de la Limpia Concepción lost a reported 3,000,000 pesos of silver.  Due to the unregistered cargo that was stored atop the anchor cables and foredeck, the crew was unable to use the anchors for safe stoppage. For context, the entire annual silver production in Peru was around 6-7 million pesos, suggesting that the Concepción was carrying almost one and a half years of peso production. Spanish managed to salvage a vast majority of the lost 'official' 3 million pesos and would later recover even more coins. Sadly, the main salvager of the wreck was the Concepción's silver master, Bernardo de Campos, who is blamed for the overload of unregistered contraband that contributed to the ship's tragedy. After equally splitting the recovered coins with the Ecuadorian government in 1998, officially around 2,500 coins would appear at auction in 1999. These were almost exclusively Potosí 8 and 4 Reales that were in excellent condition, including countermarked issues (1649-1652), transitional issues of 1652, and post-transitional pillars-and-waves cobs (1653-1654).

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