Princess Louisa 1743
Spanish Treasure from the Wreck of a British East Indiaman...
Ships like Princess Louisa were the largest, and the most beautiful, in the British merchant marine and were only rivaled by the larger galleons of Spain and Portugal. They had evolved during the 130 years that England had been trading with the East and were now big, but graceful ships; strong, fast, well-armed and eminently suited for the long and dangerous passages they had to make.
But treacherous currents, combined with inaccurate charts, sealed Princess Louisa's fate in the shallow shoals of the Cape Verde Islands. Like most trade ships of her day, the trade coinage she was loaded with was Spanish, not British. She was carrying thousands of the famed "Pieces of Eight" of this era; deeply struck, beautifully dated, and with a stunning cross and pillars and wave design. Due to their beautiful design, they are some of the most prized Spanish treasure coins ever minted.
Princess Louisa set sail from Portsmouth on her last voyage on 20 March 1743 in company with another East Indiaman, Winchester, commanded by Captain Gabriel Steward, 26 smaller merchantmen and, since this was a time when England was at war with Spain, a naval escort in the form of the 70-gun two-decker warship, H.M.S. Sterling Castle. However, the early stages of the voyage were uneventful and once clear of the cruising grounds of the Spanish privateers, the two East Indiamen parted from their consorts and sailed south towards the Cape Verde Islands, Winchester struggling to keep up with Princess Louisa who was the better sailor.
But she would never leave the Cape Verde Islands. Lost on the breakers, her last act of heroism was to sound the alarm, and save the crew of Winchester. The silver “pieces of eight” in our Princess Louisa Collection are true pieces of global maritime history.
We are the gold standard in meticulously researched Certificates of Authenticity, and our four-page Certificate details the story of Princess Louisa and even teaches you how to read your treasure coin!