SLIDE SHOW: Black Swan: Treasure Quest
Odyssey argued there was not enough evidence to prove the wreck, which they code-named "Black Swan," was the Mercedes and even if that were the case, the ship's last voyage, from Montevideo to Cadiz, was commercial in nature. The majority of coins onboard were owned by private merchants, not by Spain, Odyssey insisted.
After a five-year court battle, and staggering revelations from WikiLeaks documents, a U.S. federal judge established that the United States had no jurisdiction in the case and ordered the treasure returned to Spain by Friday.
For days, a team of Spanish numismatic experts examined the precious coins, overseeing their packing into the same white plastic containers in which the coins were brought to the U.S. in 2007.
The cargo planes took off with the treasure despite an emergency appeal made by Peru to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday.
SLIDE SHOW: HMS Victory: Treasure Quest
It was claimed that the gold and silver coins were mined, refined and minted in Peru while the country was part of the Spanish empire.