El Cazador Shipwreck Pillar One Reales Description:
The El Cazador was a Spanish brig that sank in 1784 in the Gulf of Mexico. The Spanish Louisiana Territory was faltering during that time due to paper money that wasn't backed by silver or gold. The King of Spain decided to replace the worthless currency with valuable Spanish silver coins. On October 20, 1783, the El Cazador embarked on a mission to bring hard currency to the Spanish colony of Louisiana in order to stabilize the currency. The ship saled to Veracruz, Mexico where they loaded it with approximately 450,000 Spanish reales (Spanish coins, mostly 8 reales, "Pieces of Eight"). On January 11, 1784, the El Cazador saled for New Orleans and was never heard from again. Spain's attempts to locate the ship were unsuccessful.
On August 2, 1993, Captain Jerry Murphy of Pascagoula, Mississippi was fishing in the Gulf of Mexico fifty miles south of New Orleans, when his fishing net hung on a snag. When the crew hoisted up the net, they found the net was filed with silver coins. The coins bore the markings from the Spanish mint in Mexico and were dated 1783.
The treasure from the ship was originally housed in a safe in the old Grand Bay State Bank building in Grand Bay, AL. In 2004, the Executors of the Reahard estate hired Jonathan Lerner of Scarsdale Coin to appraise the ancient coins. This appraisal was completed in February 2005.