Coins are interesting because of their history. When you know even more about them, they become extra interesting! In 1784, there was a need for additional silver coins in some of the Spanish territories of North America. The El Cazador was tasked with sailing somewhere between 400,000 and 450,000 Spanish 8 reales coins (and about as many smaller coins) from Mexico City to New Orleans, but sometime during the winter of 1784 it wrecked in the Gulf of Mexico. It was found over 200 years later, in 1993, by a small fishing trawler.
Coins from the shipwreck are worth more than similar coins today. Collectors like an extra bit of history with their coins. They are normally found in slabs or plastic containers with the provenance of 'El Cazador' written somewhere. However, it's easy for a sly dealer to put a coin of unknown origin into an amateur slab and label it as he likes. Only buy rare and valuable coins from dealers you know and trust.
Having been exposed to saltwater for a couple of centuries, none of these come fully uncirculated. Value is hugely dependent on the overall eye-appeal, which generally means how badly damaged the coin is by saltwater.
worn: $200 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $450
well preserved: $900
average circulated: $400
well preserved: $800
Refer to our Important Terminology page found at the top left in order to properly interpret these catalog values.
The 8 reales in the large image below comes from Daniel Sedwick Coins in Winter Park, Florida. Daniel specializes in treasure coins like this and is a well-known authority on the subject. This particular specimen sold for $245 in a 2013 auction. CoinQuest thanks Sedwick Coins for use of their photo.