Author Topic: Mexico City: Charles II, cob 8 Reales, Mexico mint, assayer off (D, P, or G)  (Read 279 times)

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Offline Overlord

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Mexico City: Charles II,  cob 8 Reales, Mexico mint, assayer off, Sedwick M20 or 21, KM46 (27.53 g)

Here is a Spanish 8 Real or "piece of eight". Intimately tied to the lore of piracy, these coins were manufactured in the Americas and transported in bulk back to Spain, making them a very tempting target for seagoing pirates. The coins, termed "cobs", were hand-struck on roughly cut planchets. The word "cob" comes from the Spanish phrase "Cabo de Barra", which means "from a bar". The freshly-struck coins were weighed by an assayer, who cut off any excess silver. The assayer's initial on this coin has worn off, but the denomination (“8”) is just visible on the right side of the obverse.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2018, 01:58:43 PM by Overlord »

Offline Figleaf

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Your coin predates the "pirates of the Caribbean" era. It was struck during the reign of Philip III, while the apogee of the pirates was during the reign of Philip IV. The best known pirates, like William Kidd, Edward Teach (Blackbeard) and Calico Jack were children at best when the coin was struck.

The type of your coin is Cayón 70. While the mint mark is off the coin, this type was struck only in Mexico city. Typical for this type is the missing heart shield of Portugal. Center down of the upper half of the arms should be the pomegranate of Granada, hidden between the left and right shields. It is there, in a triangle that is a grotesque exaggeration of the space between the arms. In the lower half of the arms should be another heart shields with a climbing lion (Brabant?) left and a spread eagle right. I can find the lion, but the eagle and the shield around them are missing. Of course, the type was produced over a long time and dies were hand cut, but these issues are too big to ignore.

I attach two pictures of a type 70 from Cayón. Notice that they have more detail and finer lines. Note also the catalogue quote of €360 in 2005. IMO, your coin is a contemporary forgery. It may well have circulated in the Pacific, as there was a scarcity of coins there and sources say even fakes were accepted, though by weight only.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Overlord

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I requested Daniel Frank Sedwick for an opinion and received a prompt reply: I don't see any reason to call it a contemporary forgery. The style looks like Charles II to me.

Here are some I found online for comparison:

https://www.sixbid.com/browse.html?auction=3450&category=72844&lot=2865123
https://www.coinshome.net/en/coin_variations-8_Real-Silver-Mexico-7iQKbzbiR04AAAFNRDux3SsI.htm

Their book, The Practical Book of Cobs is an excellent book on the subject.


Offline Figleaf

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The coin you link to does not have the enormous triangle yours has. On Sedwick's coin, I can see the outline of the lower heart shield, on yours it is missing. These two characteristics are what makes me doubt your coin.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.