São José Shipwreck, Spanish Piece of Eight #3 - 1574 — 1622 - Portugal
São José Shipwreck, Spanish Piece of Eight #3 - 1574 — 1622 - Portugal
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São José Shipwreck, Spanish Piece of Eight #3

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This is an original Spanish silver 8 reales coin (or Piece of Eight) from the wreck of the São José! It has been certified authentic by the Numismatic Guranty Corporation (NGC) and placed in a tamper proof plastic holder. Click here to learn more about NGC certified coins.

Bound for India, the São José left Lisbon, Portugal in 1622 transporting royal treasure for the Portuguese Empire and Francisco da Gama, great grandsom of famed Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. Attacked by Dutch and British ships, the São José met her demise on a reef off the Mozambique coast.

After almost 400 years, the São José was discovered. The shipwreck yielded a rare treasure, representing an exceptional collection of coins from Old and New World mints. These incredible coins, four bronze cannon and small glass trade beads were archaeologically excavated by Arqueonautas Worldwide in 2005.

A Certificate of Authenticity from Arqueonautas Worldwide accompanies this item.

The São José:

A painting of a Portuguese carrack, nearly identical to what the São José would have looked like.

Setting out in haste after learning of an impending British attack on the strategic island of Hormuz, a small fleet consisting of four ships including the São José departed Lisbon in 1622. The ship carried an impressive cargo--the legendary silver treasure of Philip III, King of Spain and Portugal, handed over to Francisco da Gama on his way to Goa, India. The shipment included nine chests filled with thousands of silver reales coins produced in the Old and New World mints of Mexico, Bolivia and Spain.

As the São José sailed up the Mozambique Channel, a combined fleet of Dutch and British ships of the East India Company attacked the Portuguese flotilla. The São José was cut off from the rest of the fleet, surrounded by the enemy and attacked. Despite damage to her sails and spars, the São José remained afloat. In a desperate attempt to escape, the ship ran into a shoal. The São José met her demist grounded on a reef off the Mozambique coast, victim to final assault by the Angelo-Dutch fleet. A reported 66,000 Spanish reales were taken by the enemy, a small share of the total treasure aboard the ship, lost with some 300 to 400 passengers and crew as the vessel broke up and sake to the bottom of the Mozambique Channel.

The Coins:

An 8 reales Spanish silver cob coin in its original state, without shipwreck corrosion.

Part of the treasures lost to the majesty of the sea when the São José sank were cob coins. Cobs are the original "treasure coins." Produced in mints in Mexico, Bolivia, and Spain, the coins were all made by hand forming slabs of silver and alloy into long rolls of irregular thickness. These rolls, while still warm, would be sliced with metal shears or a chisel. Depending on the mint, these blank slices were snipped to form basic round shapes. Since this was done by hand with much guesswork, many coins had flat edges from the trimming process. The leftover snip were collected, re-melted and used again. Due to this rudimentary process, no two cobs look exactly alike.

With a date range from 1556 to 1622, the silver cobs found on the wreck of the São José represent some extremely unique and rare specemins, composed of an assortment of Old and New World mints.

The Recovery:

Extensive historical research in British, Dutch and Portuguese archives, followed by a large area magnetometer survey in 2003 and 2004 was conducted by Arqueonautas Worldwide -- Arqueologia Subaquatica SA (AWW) -- in partnership with its Mozambican counterpart Patrimonio International SARL.

Excavation and recovery began in 2005 by an Arqueonautas team of 27 specialists, including trained divers, archaeologists, conservation experts and specialized back-up personnel. The project was supervised by the Arqueonautas operations director and marine archaeologist Alejandro Mirabal.

The information in this listing was copied from the Certificate of Authenticity created by Arqueonautas Worldwide, which is included with your purchase!