In the 1770’s things were not going well for Spain’s colony in New Orleans. Inflation was rampant and merchants were wary of accepting paper currency which lost value weekly. Throughout the city talks of revolution from Spain were beginning to surface. Spain recognized the importance of New Orleans for shipping goods from the Louisiana Territory, but with a currency the locals did not trust the situation was becoming desperate. The only solution left to King Carlos II of Spain was to offer to redeem the increasingly worthless paper currency for silver. The amount of silver coins needed did not exist in New Orleans, but there were enough coins stockpiled in Mexico. Carlos ordered Gabriel de Campos y Pineda, his most trusted captain, to take his brig of war the El Cazador to New Orleans with 450,000 pesos of newly minted silver coins. Complying with his orders the captain set sail with the treasure of January 11, 1784.

No one knows what fate became the El Cazador, but the ship along with its entire crew disappeared without a trace. The silver needed to shore up the economy never arrived and Spain was forced to cede Louisiana to France in 1800. Just three years later Napoleon sold the vast territory for 15 million dollars to the United States in what we know as the Louisiana Purchase. This sale at 3 cents per acre effectively doubled the size of our new nation. This immediately opened up the westward expansion from the original 13 colonies. Had the El Cazador not disappeared with its tons of silver treasure the course of American history might have been far different. Accidentally rediscovered in 1993 by the fishing trawler The Mistake, the heavily encrusted silver treasure was brought to the surface after 209 years under the Gulf of Mexico. Our authentic Spanish silver coins recovered from the El Cazador are a rare opportunity to own a treasure from a shipwreck that changed history. View Our Shipwreck Coin Jewelry