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(Philip V 1700-1747)









Mexico City 8 Escudos of 1714

 From the 1715 PLATE FLEET

M107. Viceroyalty of Nueva Espana, mint of Mexico City, 1714 J eight escudos. So-called "normal" variety. Lustrous, boldly struck with sharp full date, and very choice mint state. Seriously undergraded by NGC as MS63..



After the first shield die of 1714, originally dateless but then re-engraved as 1714/GRAT, failed and was discarded, this shield die with the date normally positioned was brought into servce. We are not sure why the date on reverse experiment was tried, but this design by new working tallador Hipolito de Sarmiento certainly represents a needed advance over the horrible dies of 1713. A simplified and elegant shield and crown surround an enlarged Bourbon eschutcheon with three fleurs. The ugly truncated lower castle is discarded completely. This is design Mexico City keeps until the end of the cob minatges in 1732.

Unfortunately, Mexico City's streak of bad luck with dies was not over. After a limyed run the new shield die also began to fail in the area of the date--an unusual event suggesting some recutting had already occurred at this site. In short order the final 14 digits of the date were rendered illegible by cracks and chips in the die. We can see here the first signs of trouble around the 1 and 4. Mexico City had not prepared a third production die for 1714 in case something like this happened.  The only 1714 shield die left was the die prepared for galanos (Royals), and it had to be co-opted to continue the production coinage.


After the original dated cross die was discarded, this "stardard" cross die struck the 1714 onza coinage. What is interesting about this die is the shape of the fleurs in the angles of the cross. This die represents the final time Mexican talladors prepared "jellyfish" style fleurs. Hereafter the cross side fleurs much more closely resemble the compact fleurs in the shield side Bourbon escutcheon.

This is stellar example of a 1714 onza struck with the normal dies. The shield, crown and date are boldly struck, once not the case. The cross and tressure are virtually in high relief, as are four perfect fleurs in the angles of the cross. The luster and color are exactly right. Recently another example of this onza sold at auction: its strike was weak in several places, including the date, and its luster described as "muted", yet NGC had called it MS64. It realized $20,000. This is a far superior coin that needs to revisit NGC if you care about their grading. 



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