World Coins

'Black Swan' shipwreck coins now on display at Spanish museum

About 8,000 coins pulled from the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes warship, also known as the “Black Swan," went on display in a Spanish museum Thursday, according to The Local.

The coins, only a fraction of the 580,000 that were recovered from the sunken Spanish ship, are part of a new exhibit at the Museum of Subaquatic Archaeology in the city of Cartagena, The Local reports.

The English language news website that covers Spain quoted a museum statement that said thousands more of the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes coins would eventually go on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid and at the Madrid Naval Museum.

The coins were the subject of a lengthy court battle that pitted the U.S. company that discovered the wreck in 2007, Odyssey Marine Exploration, against the government of Spain, the home country of the ship that sank off the coast in Portugal 1804. 

Odyssey nicknamed the wreck “Black Swan."

Coin World editor Steve Roach wrote about the history of the Mercedes wreck in 2012:

"The Mercedes set sail for Lima, Peru, on Feb. 27, 1803, and arrived on Aug. 7, 1803. There, it took on property of Spanish citizens and other items, including approximately 900,000 silver pesos, 5,809 gold pesos and almost 2,000 copper and tin ingots. Also taken on board were two obsolete bronze cannons for return to Spain.”

Read about the battle that brought down the ship, and the court battle that came two centuries later.

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