Shipwreck of the Nuestra Señora de la Maravillas - 8 Reales - Dated 1653

 Denomination: 8 Reales  

Reign: Philip IV

Mint: Potosi

Weight: 24.19 gm

Assayer: "E" Erqueta

Date: 1653

Mount: Sterling Silver

Coin History: Coins from the Maravillas were previously salvaged from the La Capitana.

Description: Obverse: Clear Jerusalem cross with lions and castle visible in four quadrants. Assayer "E" and Mint Mark "P" visible.  Reverse:  In spite of having been struck with a broken or cracked die, the strilke is very clear.  "LA PERU" visible in along legend. 

History: As the almiranta (“admiral’s ship,” or rear guard) of the homebound Spanish fleet in January of 1656, the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas was officially filled with over five million pesos of treasure (and probably much more in contraband, as was usually the case). That treasure included much of the silver salvaged from the South Seas Fleet’s Capitana of 1654 that wrecked on Chanduy Reef off Ecuador.

The ill-fated treasure sank once again when the Maravillas unexpectedly ran into shallow water and was subsequently rammed by one of the other ships of its fleet, forcing the captain to try to ground the Maravillas on a nearby reef on Little Bahama Bank off Grand Bahama Island. In the ensuing chaos, exacerbated by strong winds, most of the 650 people on board the ship died in the night, and the wreckage scattered. Spanish salvagers soon recovered almost half a million pesos of treasure quickly, followed by more recoveries over the next several decades. The Maravillas was recently rediscovered by Carl Allen in 2020. However, all of the long lost treasures will be on display for the world to see.