Extremely Rare Coins Discovered!!
A coin clump recovered from the Santa Margarita site was recently separated in the conservation process by Head Conservator John Corcoran and revealed an unexpected grouping of very rare coins. Along with John, Sue Pierson and Carol Tedesco began investigating the coins’ markings and along with some traditional Phillip II and Phillip III shield coins there were 7 Mexico Mint, One Reale, Carlos and Johanna era Pillars and Waves coins. This would date the coins back to 1548-1556, far older than the majority of coins found aboard either the Atocha or Margarita. The quality of markings on the coins places them in the Grades One, Two and Three categories which allows our conservation and research team to have a very clear look at the symbols they bear.

According to The Practical Book of Cobs written by Daniel and Frank Sedwick, “The two vertical lines symbolize the Pillars of Hercules, a mythological reference to the Straits of Gibraltar, with one pillar in Spain, actually the rock of Gibraltar, and the other in North Africa, where mountains rise from the coast opposite of Gibraltar”…”In the middle three horizontal spaces of the tic-tac-toe appeared the Latin PLUS ULTRA (with Latin U as V)”… “’more beyond,’ either in three three-letter groups as PLV-SVL-TRA, or as the letters P-V-A”… “The message was: Over the waves (the Atlantic Ocean), beyond the Pillars of Hercules, a New World (America) exists, with the implication that this New World Belongs to Spain.”

These coins are most likely part of a passenger’s personal belongings being that they were minted approximately 75 years before the Margarita sailed.

There have been VERY few Carlos and Johanna Pillar and Wave coins recovered from the Atocha or Margarita wreck site. Combining their age and rarity these will be quite valuable.


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