In 1783 several hundred thousand silver coins left the productive Spanish mint in Mexico City to go not to Spain like most treasure shipments, but instead to New Orleans. Spain had controlled New Orleans and the vast Louisiana Territory since it took over from France in the 1760s.
Spain intended to use the ship full of silver coins to stabilize its very weak monetary system in New Orleans and points north. But despite having only to cross the Gulf of Mexico, El Cazador was sunk in January 1784 by a winter storm.
Spanish influence in New Orleans remained weak; eventually Spain gave up the effort, and ceded the Louisiana Territory back to France.
The rest of the story is more familiar; Napoleon sold the entire Louisiana Territory to President Jefferson. This territory, containing all or part of 15 future states, doubled the size of the United States. El Cazador had played a role.
In 1993 the fishing vessel Mistake pulled up what appeared to be rocks in the fishing nets; on closer inspection the rocks were coins fused together. Most were dated 1783, with some dated before and none after. This was El Cazador. After years of efforts, eventually treasure salvor Craig Boyd was called in, and the coin here is from his share of the treasure.
This coin is accompanied by an original (not printed) signature of treasure salvor Craig Boyd, known for his involvement in several important shipwreck finds. He not only brought up this coin from the water of the Gulf of Mexico, but he also processed the coin himself to get rid of seawater corrosion so that as much as possible of the remaining original detail can be seen.
This original 1700s coin is packaged in a protected case and includes the story of the shipwreck.