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.






Contact Me





(Philip V 1700-1747)




M21. An exceptional Mexico 1713 MXo J eight escudos,

struck on a huge (36 mm) round planchet from a Royal die.


For reasons we don't yet understand, 1713 represented the absolute bottom of the barrel for the quality of coin production at Mexico City under Philip V (1700-1747). No effort was to produce round, Lima-style planchets or center-strike the planchets. More than 95% of 1713 Mexican 8 escudos are just plain ugly: they are struck badly off-center on very irregular, misshapen planchets.  When we encounter a rounded, very large planchet, where an effort was plainly made at centering---I have seen just TWO 1713 in 30 years of which this could be said---then we know this was not a routine striking at the Mexican mint.


Hand-engraved dies of remarkably crude quality were prepared for a 1713 Royal 8 escudos. Calico pictures the sole surviving 1713 Royal at #391 in his magnificent catalogue, LA ONZA(2004). This Royal sold publicly at the 1985 FUN Show for over $28,000 (I was an unhappy underbidder at $25,000). A cover photo from the FUN catalogue is below. The cross die used to strike the Royal is identical to the die used to strike the 1713 offered here. The poorly shaped right crosslet and innumerable details are the same.


Though I have never seen another 1713 from these dies, it is not surprising that Royal dies would be re-used. But they would not be re-used on a very large, rounded, well-centered coin if this this were just a business strike! Thanks to on-going research by Mike Dunigan and other scholars of the Mexican cob coinage, we now know that a fair number of "near Royals" or trial strikes were produced as Mexican coiners attempted the very uncertain task of producing a full Royal striking. Planchets tended to spread or notch (as here) when struck, and the quality of the strike was completely unpredictable since Mexico lacked machine presses in 1713.  A trial Royal that did not produce a perfect "round" was faceted (as here) to bring it down to normal 27 gm weight and presumably released as a business strike. The end product is a beautiful Royal-size 1713 Mexican onza, but one that is not of Royal quality. If you have $300,000 and 20 years to wait, you may have a shot at the 1713 Royal. If not, this is perhaps the best 1713 you can obtain.



This 1713 onza has a light reddish toning, as do several other Mexican onzas recovered from Douglas Beach. These onzas were in a leather pouch when the patache NIEVES sank. Long-term submersion in contact with the acids used to tan leather gives gold a light surface reddish toning. After 40 years of residing in a private collection, this remarkable 1713 onza surfaced again.