Fernando VI, the Spanish monarch who ended the
cob coinage at Lima.
His ordinal (VI) is visible
at 7 o'clock on the cross side of our coin.
L61. El Peru, LIMA 1750 R four escudos. NGC "MS 64 EX LUZ".
An exceptional near gem media onza recovered from the wreck
of Nuestra Senora de la Luz (1752). Lustrous, mint state, golden
surfaces. The highest graded 1750 Lima four escudos. In fact,
the highest grade Lima four escudos for the entire 50 year period
1701-1750. A truly spectacular Lima 4 escudos.
Before the discovery of "Our Lady of Light" in April, 1992, the 1750 Lima four escudos was not known to exist. Many numismatists believed this rare denomination had been discontinued as a regular coinage after 1740 because only a single 1740's four escudos was known (this coin). The recoveries from the La Luz not only proved a 1750 four escudos mintage occurred, but also revealed that things totally unexpected and unprecedented transpired at the very end of the Lima cob coinage. For one thing, 42% of the 2635 four escudos coinage was struck in August and November of 1751 (because Lima had received no 1751 milled gold dies from Spain). For another, seven cross dies and three pillar dies were used to strike 2635 coins--and five of those cross dies were from off-denomination eight and two escudos dies. Besides being highly illegal to use out of date and off-denomination dies, this overuse of dies with a small issue makes absolutely no sense. The normal dies that we have for 1750 could have struck a 2635 mintage several times over. As it turned out, only about 40% of the mintage or 1050 media onzas were struck with normal four escudos dies.
Within a year of finding of the treasure of the Luz, most of the coins came to auction at a 1993 New York Sotheby's sale. The salvors of the La Luz were numismatists and quickly noticed something strange about the 1750 media onzas. They noticed, as we said, that seven different cross dies were in use where one die would be normal and sufficient. Five of these seven dies were not four escudos dies at all. They were of-denomination 8 escudos and even 2 escudos dies. The vast majority of the 1750 four escudos mintage was not even struck from four escudos dies! This was no mint error or mistake repeated 5 times over.
The workmanship of the Lima gold cob dies in the era of assayer Rodriquez (R) and his predecessor Vargas (V) never approaches the fine quality of the Hurtado (H) or Megarejo (M) Fleet-era coinage. Designs features like the lions and castles are often crude in design and carelessly punched into the dies. The Royal Board of Coinage repeatedly demanded that Lima improve its gold coinage. The new Superintendent, Andres de Morales, clearly made an effort to respond to this criticism with the normal dies coinage for 1750. This 1750 four is struck from one of the two (probably three) sets of normal dies he had prepared for 1750. The pillar die is from a conventional Lima four escudos design. The cross die features a Lorraine-style cross with doubled upper crossbar. Four unconnected tressures arc above the lions and castles in a reales-style seen only in 1750. Fifteen 1750 fours of this die combination were found. This coin is the highest graded 1750 four escudos and, because of its exceptional luster, centering and strike, the highest graded four escudos for the entire final 50 year period (1701-50) of the Lima cob coinage.
Available. Price on request.
Terravitan@aol.com or 480-595-1293
L61. Peru, LIMA 1750 R four escudos, a choice near mint state media onza struck from an 8 escudos die. Recovered from the wreck of Nuestra Senora de la Luz (1752) and certified by NGC as "Nuestra Senora de la Luz AU 55". From the Sotheby's March 1993 sale. [SOLD]
See what happens when you strike a four escudos from an 8 escudos die! This is not undersized planchet. It is very large for a 1750 media onza measuring 23.5 mm, but the cross on an 8 escudos die is almost 20 mm wide, leaving precious little room for anything else. The bottom loop of the 8 (escudos) is visible above the cross. Some of the L (Lima) to the left and R (Rodriquez) to the right. A beautiful centered and undoubled cross, sharp lions and crosses (very rare).
SOLD. Terravitan@aol.com or 480-595-1293
If you don't have a copy of the March 1993 Sotheby's catalogue, we strong recommend it for its description of the salvage of the Luz and its numismatic treasures. We have a few extra copies.