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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(Philip V 1700-1747)

 

FROM THE 1715 PLATE FLEET

 

M81. Mexico 1713 oMX J eight escudos, very well struck on a heavy (27.14 gm) and the large (36 mm) planchet, one of the largest known for the (single year) design of 1713. Mint state and lustrous (NGC AU 58). The shield side present a textbook picture of the rare 4th shield die for 1713. Notice the oMX J is bracketed by cross stops above and below, a unique feature of the 1713 issue.  The 4th "large X" shield features a large hand-cut X in the mint mark. From the Nieves site of the 1715 PLATE FLEET.

 

For reasons we don't yet understand, Mexico City used at least five shield and three cross dies, including a pair of Royal dies, to strike a modest, capped issue of 9000-9500 onzas. Two or at most three shield dies (the upper dies) should have sufficed, and one or two cross dies. Did Mexico City have problems with the dies it produced for 1713? One thing is clear, 1713 represented a nadir in the  quality of Fleet-era gold production at Mexico City. Though the War of Spanish Succession and the British blockade ended in the summer of 1713, no new minting equipment or personnel  reached Mexico City until 1714. Mexico City was forced to make due with old equipment and inexperienced personnel especially in the office of diesinker. No one at the Mexico mint in 1713 was able to engrave well executed dies, to produce round, Lima-style planchets, or even to center-strike these planchets. The result is that the majority of 1713 Mexican 8 escudos are not attractive: poorly executed shields and crosses are struck badly off-center on very irregular planchets. Here we have a very fortunate exception. Interestingly, it began life as an oversized and overweight planchet, probably weighing close to 29 grams. Heavy faceting brought it down to 27.1-2 grams, just at the limit of what Mexican minters called a "heavy." The maximum diameter after faceting remained at 36 mm, more than 1 mm larger than a royal. It is a big onza.

 

The first time that collectors see the shield of a 1713 Mexico onza they think "what a badly struck coin", but not necessarily!  The wavy lines, the crude lions and castles and fleurs, and all the other mistakes are in the dies, which were evidently hand-engraved by a novice tallador. The cross with crosslets on the other side is even more rough and irregular in execution. The fleurs in the angles of the cross look more like dolls than fleur-de-lis. The best that can be said is in defense of Mexico's 1713 gold production is that in the immediate post-war environment this was probably the best the mint could manage.

 

 

Much scarcer than the 1714 issue that follows it.  The 1713 Mexican gold issue was very rare before the Fleet salvages. With a 1715 Fleet pedigree to Douglass Beach, the Nieves site, this is an excellent example of the unique features of the one year design of 1713 dies. And if you like 8 escudos on a large planchet, they do not come any larger than this.

 

Available. Price on request.

 

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