Silver Ingots


     Thirty pieces of silver were found on El Nuevo Constante. Together, these weigh more than 80 pounds. The silver is mainly in two shapes: flat disks (upper left) and cupcakes (lower left). There are also several irregularly shaped pieces. The Spanish called the disk-shaped ingots "planchas." They were cast in simple, circular molds or in shallow holes in the ground. The six disks of silver weigh more than 62 pounds. Thirteen pieces shaped like cupcakes weigh a total of about 11 pounds. Most of these have rounded or pointed tops, but one has a flat top. The other ingots had irregular shapes. The disk-shaped ingots range in diameter from 4.2 to 8.2 inches, and the cupcake-shaped ingots range from 1.9 to 2.8 inches in diameter.


     None of the silver has tax stamps or owners’ marks. Furthermore, the historical records did not list silver ingots as cargo on El Nuevo Constante. Therefore, it is likely that all of the silver ingots found at the wreck were smuggled out of Mexico. These items probably were hidden in the lower part of the ship. After the wreck, the Spanish could not reach them, and their owners could not safely retrieve them. Spectrometric tests on one piece show it is 91.5 percent silver and 6.4 percent iron, mixed with small amounts of lead and copper.


Click on the images to the left for a closer look.




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