CERTIFIED NGC SLABBED EL CAZADOR SHIPWRECK SILVER 2 REALES PILLAR TYPE COIN
EL CAZADOR SHIPWRECK (SANK IN 1784) SILVER 2 REALES PILLAR TYPE COIN
DENOMINATION - 2 REALES
MINT - MEXICO CITY
ASSAYER - M
DATE - 1766
GRADE - VF DETAILS
NOTE: THE 'PILLAR' VARIETY ARE THE SCARCE ONES. VERY FEW WERE RECOVERED COMPARED TO THE LATER 'PORTRAIT' VARIETY.
NOTE: These coins have been exposed to the corrosive elements of saltwater in the Gulf of Mexico for the last couple of centuries and none of them survived in 'uncirculated' condition. Value is hugely dependent on the overall eye-appeal, which generally means how badly damaged the coin is by saltwater.
PROVENANCE & HISTORY:
King Carlos III of Spain was cousin to King Louis XV of France through their shared Bourbon bloodline and had at least a cordial relationship. In 1762, Louis ceded the Louisiana Territory to Carlos III with the Treaty of Fontainebleau. Louis XV sought to keep his precious Louisiana Territory out of British hands. The French had lost the global conflict of the Seven Years' War (known as the French and Indian War in North America) to the British; King Louis XV foresaw the upcoming repercussions of France’s defeat and the intentions of Britain to assert her dominance in North America and the Caribbean. In 1763, Britain and France signed the Treaty of Paris that ended the war officially and gave the growing British Empire all of Louisiana east of the Mississippi River, save for New Orleans, which Louis XV had deftly passed into family hands via the Spanish king a year prior.
On October 20, 1783, Carolus III, The Bourbon King of Spain, dispatched his “Brig of War,” The El Cazador, to Vera Cruz, Mexico where she would be loaded with nearly 450,000 Silver pesos "PIECES-OF EIGHT" and smaller denominations (almost 14 tons) and return to New Orleans. On January 11, 1784,
El Cazador sailed for New Orleans and vessel, crew and fortune disappeared into the winter sea, sinking without a trace. It was discovered many years later that they made it within 50 miles of its destination when it was lost in 300 feet of water. “The Shipwreck that lead to the Louisiana Purchase”
The loss of the El Cazador was a significant moment in the history of the United States. The Spanish sorely needed this shipment to stabilize the weak monetary system in their colonial Louisiana. Without the silver to sustain it, Spain’s ability to profit from the territory collapsed and never recovered. Eventually, Spain lost Louisiana to France’s Napoleon, who sold the one million square miles to the young United States.
“The First U.S. Silver Dollars” The first U.S. silver dollars were actually the famous Eight Reales, commonly called “Pieces-of-Eight.” As the most valuable circulating silver coins of the day, they became the silver standard of the New World. In an age when international trade was largely conducted in silver coinage, the Spanish silver Eight Reales became the ‘actual’ first silver dollar of the United States of America !!!