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






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Charles II (1665-1700)






























































C12.  Cuzco 1698 M two escudos. Lustrous, well struck, and

          choice mint state. Quite rare in this condition as the

          vast majority of this one-year issue exhibit serious

          striking and planchet problems.

          NGC "1715 Plate Fleet MS63" 



           The full story of the failed gold mint at Cuzco (1698-99) hides in the archives of Spain and Peru.  We know some of it. After receving dies from Lima in May of 1698, Cuzco proceeded to strike what we believe was a fairly modest first issue. This first mintage is confirmed in an August letter to the virrey. Shortly thereafter serious riots broke in Cuzco involving calvary guarding the incomplete mint. This disturbance apparently put minting activity on hiatus until late in the year, when one or two mintages were undertaken in some haste. This we have from a January 1699 letter mentioning "dos labores" just completed. After that, we hear no more until July of 1699 when the mint building was finally completed--only to be put up for sale and sold within a month. A small quantity of gold remained at the mint in August and this was coined soon thereafter before all minting activity ceased premanently. It seems likely that this last small mintage in the fall of 1699 used 1698 diesWhat we can conclude from this account is that it had apparently become clear in early 1699 (if not late 1698) that the Cuzco gold mint was not a viable  institution.  What forced this conclusion is a topic for a longer essay.


But for the specimens found on the 1715 Fleet, the 1698 Cuzco two escudos would be an uncollectible coinage. Before 1964 numismatists knew of exactly one 1698 C M two escudos, whose attribution to Cuzco was widely doubted. The Fleet coins forced numismatists to acknowledge a Peruvian gold coinage at Cuzco, though why a Fleet lost in 1715 would be carrying dozens of gold coins from an ephemeral Carlos II mint remained a puzzle. 1698 Lima two escudos recovered from the Fleet total two coins, from what we believe was a larger mintage at Lima.

Our study of the Cuzco two escudos identifies three cross and five pillar dies used in the coinage, most of which were clearly made in Lima. The well-engraved pillar die used here is a Lima product, but compare it  with the cross die. The cross is malformed. The castles and lions are badly positioned, which caused premature die failure as they became attached to the cross. The beaded inner border is irregular. We seem to have a cross die prepared in Cuzco by a very inexperienced die cutter muled with a professionally prepared Lima pillar die. The planchet is remarkably round for Cuzco, the strike and centering are excellent, suggesting that at least those parts of the mint operation were operating satisfactorily.




Available. Price on request. or 480-595-1293






L103.  Lima 1700 H, two escudos. Rare (one of four known).

           A boldly struck, well centered Fleet Lima 1700 two

           escudos with no wear or ocean impairment. Beautiful

           color and surfaces. From the last year of Carlos II's

           unfortunate reign.  SOLD



If you are partial to Lima escudos that have high relief, this is going to be a coin you like. The strike on the pillar side especially is a sharp and deep as I've seen. The big guy with the hammer hit this one hard! If you like Fleet gold from the reign of Carlos II, here is a rare Carlos II issue with a surviving population of four. Real 8 auctioned one of these coins in 1964 and and sold three others privately, including this coin. This coin was bought by Xavier Calico in 1964 and was placed in a Spanish collection were in remained for 48 years. The Florida State Collection never acquired any 1700's Limas.






terravitan@aolcom or 480-595-1293.