Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society / Coutrtesy
November 21, 2013
Early Lima Coin - This silver coin from the wreck of the galleon Atocha is one of the first coins minted in South America. It was made in Lima, Peru around the year 1568. The mintmark is the letter ÒPÓ for Peru; placed between the Pillars of Hercules, symbols for the western entrance of the Mediterranean. Stretching across the background are most of the letters of SpainÕs motto PLUS ULTRA (ÒMore BeyondÓ), a reference to the westward expansion of the known world. Two circular dots below that indicate it is a two reales coin (worth a dayÕs wages to workers of that time). The coinÕs reverse side shows castles and lions in alternating quadrants; the shield of Castile and Le¿n. On the right-hand side of shield is the assayerÕs letter ÒR,Ó the mark of Alonso Rinc¿n, who was also the engraver of the coinÕs attractive design. Perhaps this coinÕs eye-catching appeal helps explain why, at nearly 60 years old in 1622, it was onboard the Atocha.