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Nuestra Señora de la Luz, sunk in 1752 off Montevideo, Uruguay

Like the Capitana (1654) and 1733 Fleet, this wreck is a case for modern salvage of Spanish wrecks where all or most of the registered cargo was found in its own time, for contraband was always a factor and was generally abandoned if the ship did not make its destination.  The Luz left Buenos Aires in the summer of 1752 with a load of money bound for Spain, and had just stopped in Montevideo for provisioning when a strong storm swept her into the coastline, spreading wreckage over a wide area and killing all on board.  While over 90% of the treasure on board was recovered soon afterward, the powder-hold was never found, and as it turns out, that is where some 200,000 pesos (according to later reports) of contraband had been stored.

In April of 1992, divers working under Rubén Collado began to recover gold coins on a wrecksite in the Río de la Plata, and soon it became clear the wreck in question had to be from 1751 or 1752, as none of the coins was dated later than 1751. The finds, which were split with the Uruguayan government and then sold at auction in New York and Montevideo, consisted of mostly milled (bust-type) 8 escudos from the new mint at Santiago, Chile.  Also in these auctions were 95 gold cobs and 353 silver cobs, the former mostly Lima 8 and 4 escudos (but also some Bogotá 2 escudos), and the latter mostly 8 and 4 reales from Potosí (with several more gold and silver cob sold privately). The gold, of course, is pristine, but the silver coins all show at least moderate corrosion.

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