This beautiful silver coin was a part of the treasure of the New World being sent home to Spain, aboard the Jesus Maria de la Limpia Concepcion, affectionately referred to as “La Capitana.” The largest galleon yet built for King Philip IV, this huge ship was lost on October 24, 1654 after a navigational error caused her to strike a submerged reef near Chanduy, Ecuddor, her manifest reported a registered cargo of 3 million Pesos represented by 2,212 silver bars and 216 chests of silver coins. Spanish salvage efforts immediately following the sinking produced millions of coins, however, for more than 250 years the remainder of her treasure lay at the bottom of the sea, awaiting discovery.
Most of the mineral wealth gathered by the conquistadors and priests who settle the New World was melted and turned into coins. There was great haste from mine to mint, to shipping, and the crudity of the technology of the times, left the detail of the coins rarely clear. These historic coins are known to coin collectors as “cobs”, an abbreviation of the Spanish term “cabo de barra,” meaning cut from the end of the bar.
The front depicts the Coat of Arms of either the powerful Hapsburgs or the Bourbons, and the back features a cross, which ranges from a plain cross to one with bars on the end known as a “Jerusalem Cross.”