La Capitana Shipwreck - 8 Reales - Dated 1653 on both sides

Denomination: 8 Reales                                                                        

Assayer: "E"

Weight:  26.9g                                                                                               

Mint: Potosi, Bolivia 

Reign: Philip IV                                                                                      

Date: 1653

Grade: Fine

Description: Late style transitional cob. 8 Reales. Obverse: Late style Pillar and Wave design.  Most every mark inside the legend is clearly visible; Date of 1653, Denomination “8” at top, Assayer “E” and Mint mark “P” visible.  Reverse: Type B. Clear Jerusalem cross with lions and castles in four quadrants. Date of 1653.

 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. 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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