The legendary silver coin of 8 reales was documented but nobody saw it until three units were found in the early 1990s in a shipwreck that occurred circa 1550.
This coin was a failure. Too difficult to manufacture, the 8 reales was stopped after a few weeks and had never been released to circulation. We know now that there was no other pieces from that coinage in the wreck and it is assumed that these coins were specimens sent to the Spanish imperial court.
They are indeed awkward with an irregular outline and traces of double strike. The engraving was however ambitious, with a beautiful coat of arms and the identification of the monarchs, Emperor Charles V and his mother Joan the Mad.
Importantly, the reverse bears the image of the Pillars of Hercules, symbol of the conquerors departing towards the immense ocean. Behind the columns, an oblique banner displays a part of the imperial motto. Later this banner will wrap the pillars, shaping the dollar sign as it is still used today.
Two of the three coins are in very good condition, having escaped corrosion despite the shipwreck. One of them is estimated over $ 500K, for sale in Orlando on November 6 by Daniel Frank Sedwick, lot 404 shared here on the Sixbid bidding platform. Sedwick specializes in the auction of numismatic treasures from shipwrecks.
This coin was also illustrated before sale by Artdaily.