Rarest of the Rare, Atocha Coins Identified

This past summer a clump of 47 silver coins were found on the Atocha site. They were fused together with 400 years of black oxidation. After careful cleaning in our conservation lab, it became clear that 4 of these coins were extremely rare, made at the Spanish mint in Cartegena, New Grenada, which is the modern country of Colombia. They bear the mintmark RN, for Nuevo Reino, or New Kingdom of Grenada.

According to Gary Randolph, Director of Operations of Mel Fisher’s Treasures, only 8 coins found on the Atocha came from the Cartegena mint, making them among the most rare silver coins in the Atocha collection. The coin pictured here shows the RN to the left of the shield, with the assayer’s mark, “A” to the right. The “A” refers to Martin de Arbustante, who was assayer at the Cartegena mint from 1621 to 1628.

The exact value of these rare coins has yet to be determined.

Who will be lucky enough to get one of these coins in their division?


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