Gold Cobs from the Florida shipwrecks of the 1715 Fleet & other New World wrecks. Spanish Colonial gold cobs from Lima, Mexico, Cuzco, Bogotá, and Cartagena.

 

 

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From the 1715 Plate Fleet

1709 M Lima Two Escudos

 

 

 



Obverse: cross potent with quartered castles and lions. Border of dots. The legend reads PHILILLUP V D G HISPAN.

Reverse: crowned Pillars of Hercules rising from the waves. Two horizon lines intersect the pillars, creating three tiers. On the topmost tier L/2/H gives the mint (L for Lima), the denomination ( 2 escudos), and the assayer, Felix Cano Melgarejo. The middle tier P./V./A. abbreviates the royal motto “Plus Ultra.” The bottom tier 7/0/9 gives us a three digit date. The legend reads ET INDIARUM REX.
 

Weight: 6.7 gm Diameter: 22 mm

The 1709 Lima two escudos is a collectible Fleet issue. The Florida State Collection has an even dozen, with an additional 15 specimens in private hands. All of the 1709 Limas come from the same small sector of Colored Beach, first worked by Real 8 in 1963-64, and then revisited by Moe Molinar in the 1988 Season. Colored Beach is now known to be the wrecksite of the 1715 Fleet patache Nieves.

1709 was the first year of Felix Melgarejo’s twenty year tenure at Lima. Die quality was good in the first years. Fleet 1709 two escudos come from 3 obverse and 3 reverse dies. The denomination (2) on two of the reverses is normally positioned with two dots above. The legend on those reverses also ends REX A. The denomination on this reverse is positioned high with no dots above. The legend ends REX.

This a lustrous, beautifully centered two escudos on a huge planchet (22 mm). It displays almost complete legends. The coin shows no circulation wear and the lions and castles are well struck. Light coral on the obverse remind us of its Fleet origins. All and all, a premiere Fleet two escudos.


SOLD
 


 

1712 Lima Eight Escudos from the 1715 Plate Fleet

 

 


Obverse: cross potent with quartered castles and lions. Border of dots. The legend reads PHILIPPVS V. D. G. H[ISPANIARUM]. “Philip V by grace of God ( King) of the Spanish Kingdoms”
Reverse: crowned Pillars of Hercules rising from the waves. Two lines intersect the pillars creating three tiers or registers. On the topmost tier: L / 8 / M, denoting the mint of Lima (L), the denomination of eigth escudos, and the assayer, Felix Cristobal Cano Melgarejo (M). The middle tier P. / V. / A. abbreviates the motto Plus Ultra. The bottom tier 7 / 1 / 2 gives a three digit date. The legend reads ET INDIARUM REX ANO 712. “ and of the Indies King. In the year 1712.”

The 1712 Lima eight escudos is, after the 1708 onza, the most collectible eight escudos from the Fleet. More than a hundred collectible specimens exist—which for the Fleet gold qualifies as a “common date”!

This specimen is lustrous, well struck on both sides, and shows a bold second date in the reverse legend, a feature missing or only marginally present on most 1712’s. Detail is strong on the lions and castles, often missing on Fleet coins.

A full weight specimen at over 26.9 grams, the coin shows no signs of any circulation wear. This mint state specimen pedigrees to Stack’s Norweb sale.

SOLD

 

 


 

 

 

 

Mint: Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
Denomination: eight escudos
Date: 1716 Reign of Philip V
Assayer: M ( Felix Cristobal Melgarejo )
Weight: 27 gms Diameter: 34 mm

Obverse: Castles and lions in the angles of a Jerusalem cross, all within a
border of dots. Three “teardrops” adorn the bars at the end of each arm of the cross
( unique to Lima 1716-17 ). The legend beginning at 12 o’clock reads PHILIPPUS V D G HISPANIA.

Reverse: Crowned Pillars of Hercules rise from the waves; two dotted horizontal lines ( unique to the 1716 issue ) divide the central design into three registers. The topmost register gives the mint ( L for Lima ), the denomination ( 8 for 8 escudos ), and the assayer ( M for Megarejo). The middle register ( P V A ) abbreviates the motto Plus Ultra. The bottom register gives the date (1)716.

References: Calico ONZA# 254, Menzel type Lm-191, Fr-7, KM-38.2,

Preservation: A shipwreck coin showing a remarkably bold strike and much original luster, no worse for its nearly 290 years under the sea. Huge planchet ( 34 mm). A very interesting provenience: full details to the interested buyer. A recent Dan Sedwick photo-cert accompanies the coin.


Rarity: The 1716 is a rare one-year type with dots instead of lines separating the registers on the reverse and “teardrops” adorning the cross. The obverse is clearly the HISPANIA variety, of which approximately five are known to exist. Calico correctly labels this variety “muy rara”.
 

SOLD
 

 


 

From 1715 Fleet:

 

 

 

 

1710 H Lima Two Escudos
(four collectible Fleet examples known)

Obverse: cross potent with quartered castles and lions. Border of dots. The legend reads [PHILILLUP V D] G HISPANI.

Reverse: crowned Pillars of Hercules rising from the waves. Two horizon lines intersect the pillars, creating three tiers. On the topmost tier L/2/H gives the mint ( L for Lima), the denomination ( 2 escudos), and the assayer, Francisco Hurtado. The middle tier P./V./A. abbreviates the royal motto “Plus Ultra.” The bottom tier 7/1/0 gives us a three digit date. The legend reads [ET INDI]ARUM REX ANO 7.

Unlike the immediate preceding and succeeding dates ( 1709,1711), the 1710 is a very scarce Fleet Lima. Four collectible examples are known, all recovered by Real 8 in 1963, save one coin Moe Molinar found in 1990 by revisiting the same sector of Colored Beach. The State of Florida claimed Moe’s coin and 4 of the 8 coins presented for the 1963 Division, leaving four coins for collectors who want a 1710 Lima two escudos.
1710 was the last year of Francisco Hurtado’s fruitful tenure at Lima and the first year Lima began to add a second date in the legend. Two regular reverse dies give this date either as ANO 7 or ANO 71. This is the ANO 7 variety, die matching FL State coins (11.00)165 and 1744. Notice that the denomination 2 is positioned very high.

This specimen is lustrous and mint state. Testifying to its production with a hand-held reverse die, a slightly angling of the die caused a strongly raised rim along the top of the coin. The resulting scyphate or saucelike shape is not uncommon on Lima one escudos, but this is the only reported two escudos to show this interesting feature.


SOLD

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Mint: Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
Denomination: eight escudos
Date: 1716 Reign of Philip V
Assayer: M ( Felix Cristobal Melgarejo )
Weight: 26.98 gms

Obverse: Castles and lions in the angles of a Jerusalem cross, all within a
border of dots. Three “teardrops” adorn the bars at the end of each arm of the cross ( unique to 1716-17 ). The legend beginning at 12 o’clock reads PHILIPPUS [. V. D G HISPAN] IA.

Reverse: Crowned Pillars of Hercules rise from the waves; two dotted horizontal lines ( unique to the 1716 issue ) divide the central design into three registers. The topmost register gives the mint ( L for Lima ), the denomination ( 8 for 8 escudos ), and the assayer ( M for Megarejo). The middle register ( P V A ) abbreviates the motto Plus Ultra. The bottom register gives the date (1)716. The legend beginning at 1 o’clock reads [ ET YNDIARUM RE] X ANO 716. The second date is clear, though partially overstruck.

References: Similar to Calico ONZA# 254 but an unlisted new variety; Menzel type Lm-191, Fr-7, KM-38.2, Cal. Type 15

Preservation: A shipwreck coin showing a remarkably bold strike and much original luster, no worse for its nearly 290 years under the sea. A very interesting provenience: full details to the interested buyer.

Rarity: The 1716 is rare one year type: dots instead of lines separate the registers on the reverse and “teardrops” adorn the cross. Very few 1716’s have appeared at auction in the last 30 years. This is unlisted new variety of the “HISPANIA” obverse, probably unique. About five “HISPANIA” onzas can be traced in total. Calico labels the #254 variety “muy rara.”

SOLD
 

 


From the 1715 Plate Fleet

The 1711 Lima two escudos is a collectible issue from the Fleet. The Florida State Collection has an impressive ten specimens, evenly divided between this variety ( the “low 2”) and a second die ( the “high 2”). Most came in the early divisions, especially in the division for 1967.

The date was somewhat underrepresented in the six major Real 8 auctions held between 1963 and 1977. Six specimens, again evenly divided between the varieties, sold in five of those sales.

By the final sale in 1977, The Bowers & Ruddy Blauvelt and 1715 Fleet Sale, Real 8 had exhausted its supply of Limas. By comparison-- to give you an idea of the comparative rarity of Lima gold cobs-- Real 8 sold over 600 Mexican gold cobs from just one year (1714) in those sales. 1711 was the third year of assayer M’s fruitful and uneventful 21 year tenure at Lima. The name of assayer M we now know was Felix Cristobal Melgarejo. He retired in 1729, the 30th year of the reign of Spain’s first Bourbon king, Philip V. Until the chronic problems and mischief that that continued to dog production at Lima’s sister mint of Potosi, Lima’s production of gold & silver cobs was without problems or scandal in the Bourbon period.


SOLD

 

 


From the 1715 Plate Fleet

From the 1715 Fleet, Lima 1708 H,
Three collectible Fleet examples known.
 

 

 SOLD

 


Lima 1744/3 V Eight Escudos

 


The First of all, this clear double-date Vargas onza with strong, undoubled pillars and cross. That alone is a rare bird. Vargas’ tenure (1739-49) at Lima saw the absolute nadir in production quality from the mint. Many Vargas onzas are so badly doubled as to be unreadable. Clear second dates, which Post-Fleet collectors prize, are very scarce.


This is a 1744/3 overdate, unlisted in Calico’s Onza and unknown to previous cataloguers of the series. Cayon’s description of the coin wonders if it is unique, but one other very similar coin sold in a 1993 Sotheby’s auction, unrecognized as an overdate but clearly such.

That coin was lot one of the Sotheby’s Nuestra Senora de la Luz sale! And this is its sister coin, also shipwreck and unknown to cataloguers before the Luz was found in 1992. The deposits and surfaces of both coins are the same. I would suggest the conclusion that, though there is no hard documentation of provenience, this shipwreck 1744 Lima is likely from the Luz. (The Sotheby’s catalogue says their 1744/3 was the only Philip V onza found on the Luz, but it is now known that other Limas were found.)

27 gm. From Cayon’s December auction, lot #1355.

 

SOLD

 

 

 

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