Gold Cobs from the Florida shipwrecks of the 1715 Fleet & other New World wrecks. Spanish Colonial gold and silver coins from Lima, Mexico, Cuzco, Bogotá, Cartagena, and other mints.

 

 

 

Home

 

Contact Me

 

 

    ((painting by Ralph Curnow)

 

A rare Mexican Silver Splash from the 1554 Fleet with a Charles I Quinto. 

Treasure found on the wreck of the San Andreas

 

Four treasure-laden Spanish ships left Vera Cruz for Havana in late April of 1554. When an early season hurricane caught the Admiral Curzo's Flota on April 28th as it entered the Gulf of Mexico, three of the four were driven northwest and wrecked on the Texas coast off Padre Island. One ship, the SAN ANDREAS, though badly damaged, managed to steer a sufficiently northerly course to outrun the hurricane, and eventually turn east for Havana. A rescue squadron under Capt Farfan found the sinking San Andreas north of Havana about a week later and off-loaded her treasure, just as second major storm struck and drove the rescue ships east of Cuba. There, on the shoals that line the coast of what is now known as the Dominican Republic, Capt Farfan's ships wrecked and were lost with the treasure of the San Andreas. More than 500 years would pass before the San Andreas' treasure would see sunlight.

In 2006 a UK-based salvage group was following the suspected track of Farfan's ships and found a 1550's Spanish wreck.  They were soon able to confirm its identify because its treasure, coins and bullions, was identical to that found on the Padre Islands wrecks.

 

 

Much of treasure recovered in 2006 was consigned to Ponterio's April 2008 CICF Sale. Two silver splashes with Charles I tax stamps (quintos) were included in the "1554 Plate Fleet" collection. A comparable splash, but with a lighter weight (9.35 ozs), sold as lot 212 and recently resold on another website for $2950!

 

 

This splash, being used by the salvor's for promotional purposes, did not arrive in time for the sale, and was sold privately by Ponterio. This splash weighs approximately 15.8 ozs and measures 4.5 x 4 inches.

 

To the right of a close-up of the quinto on this splash, I reproduce Ernie's Richard's hand-drawn reconstruction of the stamp. No complete and intact example of the stamp survives in the bullion recovered from the Padre Island wrecks and elsewhere, but Richard's reconstruction is very likely correct. (I recommend Richard's excellent monograph Spanish Treasure Bars, and will enclose a copy upon request with this splash.) Despite some corrosion, about 40% of the quinto can be identified with certainly on this splash, much more than on other San Andreas splashes. Archival research suggests this quinto was in use in Mexico City late in Charles I's reign, probably within a few years of the 1554 Flota's tragic shipwreck.

 

 

You will not find a better 1554 Fleet San Andreas splash with the rare and coveted Charles I Pillars of Hercules quinto.

Currently available for $1795.

terravitan@aol.com or 480-595-1293