This extraordinary collection of coins from the contemporary era was found in our town on April 13, 1963. This characteristic treasure is one of the most interesting and important in the province of Alicante due to the richness and ornateness of its coins, the splendid state of conservation of some of them and because it is an excellent sample of gold coins and, above all, of silver coins that circulated in the region of d’Alacantí during the first quarter of the 19th century. Nowadays, the MARQ (Museo Arqueológico Provincial de Alicante – Provincial Archaeological Museum of Alicante) it is in charge of its custody.

Conjunto de las monedas del tesoro de Sant Joan d’Alacant

It consists of a total of 15 gold coins and 486 silver coins, coined by the kings and suitors to the throne between Philip V (1700-1746), Archduke Charles (1701-1714) and King Ferdinand VII (1808-1833). The oldest one’s date back to 1708 while the most modern one’s are real of 4 coined in 1823. The fact that these last ones hardly show wear marks, indicates that they circulated for a short period of time that allows us to deduce that this hoard was hidden in 1823.

Thanks to the documentary work done, it has been possible to know the circumstances that surrounded this finding. It has been of vital importance the files custody by the MARQ, the files archived in the Archivo General de la Administración (General Archive of the Administration, AGA, Alcalá de Henares) “Find of coins in San Juan estate (Alicante) on the estate of D. Vicente Ferrer Escrivá” and the press news of the year of the finding. All of this was completed with interviews of the people present at the time of the discovery or with their relatives.

Consequently, we know that the hoard was found in the house locate at number 6 of Calle Colón in Sant Joan d’Alacata when they were carrying out renovations lead by the person who had just bought the house. At that moment, they were working the owner, Vicente Ferrer Esccrivá, Jose Saña Pastor (still alive) and Francisco Gosálbez Sala. When they were about to demolish a wall of the house, it was discovered that there had been left a space in which a pot, of about 20 cm of diameter, was stored. Inside of this pot were stored the coins.

A few hours later, Vicente Ferrer Escrivá, following the legislation current at that moment that stated that the antiquities found casually belonged to the State, went to the town hall with the set of coins and the post, which were deposited and custody prior an inventory. Hence, after a series of reports, in June 27 of the same year, it was formalized the Act of the deposit of the set in the Excellent Provincial Council of Alicante. On October 10, it was designated Manuel Jorge Aragoneses, director of the Archaeology Museum of Murcia at that time, as appraiser proceeding to scrutinizing, cataloguing and evaluation of the hoard. Finally, in 1967, the Administration acquires the treasure which was destined to the Archaeology Museum of Alicante and Vicente Ferrer Escrivá was recognised as the discovered and owner of the property where the hoard was found.

The numismatic study carried out and the data obtained from the circumstances of the finding has allowed us to draw historical conclusions of great value. Although more than a half century has passed, the data obtained has allowed us to reconstruct a microhistory of the socioeconomic profile of the person who hid the treasure which is coherently framed with the events happening in the region of L’Alacantí during 1823. This date is marked by the entry into Spain of the Cien Mil Hijos de San Luis (One Hundred Thousand Children of St. Louis) and the end of the Trienio Liberal period. This episode was accompanied by an absolutist repression suffered by the liberals of Alicante after the capitulation of the city to the absolutist troops in November 1823. It makes sense, in this uncertain an unstable environment, that the original owner of the coins would want to hide them.

At that time, the population of Sant Joan d’Alacant, whose term was within the area known as Huerta de Alicante, based its economy on the agriculture. After studying the documents, it was concluded that the owner of the house was Antonio Quereda Chápuli, native of Sant Joan d’Alacant, at the moment in which the hoard was hidden. He was a labourer and he died without making a will and without direct heirs. This kind of hiding place betrays that it was built by the owner of the treasure and the house, since it was properly set and designed to store, in a safe place and for many years, an accumulation of wealth with the intention of recovering it later. But at his death he did not inform anyone of its existence so it remained hidden for 140 years until his descendants sold the house in 1834 ignoring what the property was hiding.

This discovery, after a century later, remains in the collective consciousness of Sant Joan d’Alacant because it was a great event for the municipality given its nature and circumstances. Furthermore, it is an example of civic attitude and role model of the people who found it because it allowed the treasure to come fully to us and preserving itself as an exceptional document of the history of Sant Joan and Alicante.