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(Philip V 1700-1747)









Mexico City 8 Escudos of 1714

 From the 1715 PLATE FLEET

M108. Viceroyalty of Nueva Espana, mint of Mexico City, 1714 J eight escudos. Struck from Royal dies. Rare! Very Lustrous, sharply struck, and choice mint state.


The unfortunate sequence of events which required Royal dies to be pressed into service for production strikes is now understood. Mexico had prepared the usual two pairs of dies to the handle the production of about 9000 onza. That should have been sufficient, but both pairs of dies failed prematurely. The first shield die of 1714 had a dateless GRAT legend, which was re-engraved as 1714/GRAT, but this recut die quickly disintegrated and had to be discarded. The second shield die had the 1714 date normally positioned. This die worked well for a while, probably allowing the coiners to complete 2/3 of mintage, but then it too failed suddenly (in the area of the date). At this point the coiners had a problem. They needed to complete a production run, but they had no serviceable 1714 shield die. Production could not be halted, so the decision was made to use the only 1714 shield die left, the die prepared especially to strike Royals and normally never sacrificed to ordinary production. Production resumed and very shortly the second cross die failed. Having already sacrificed the Royal shield die to ordinary production, it was obvious decision to bring the Royal cross die into production.   Royal shield and Royal cross completed the production run, probably striking no more a few hundred coins.


Though the main devices (shield, crown, cross) are the same, just much more carefully engraved, the Royal dies for 1714 differ in many small details from the production dies. On the cross side, notice the textured lobes of the tressures. Outside the tressure in the fields, notice the four dagger-like ornaments aligned with the inner fleurs. We don't know what these ornaments are supposed to represent. They become standard on post-Fleet onzas, but there they seem to resemble cotton blossoms with long stems.  On the Royal shield dies, quadri-fold stops appear in the fields above and below oMJ and flanking the VIII denomination.

Four known examples of the Royal dies variety are known (plus a badly impaired fifth coin that seems to be from these dies). This coin and a specimen that sold in April of 2012 (for almost $49,000) are by far the best. Both somewhat undergraded as MS63. A nearly dateless example struck on a boxy planchet with heavy faceting realized $29,375 in 2013. No other examples have been on the market in at least the last decade.


Collectors who might like to know more about the Royal Dies variety of 1714 and other 1714 varieties are invited to consult our study "Varieties of the 1714 Mexico City 8 Escudos", published in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of the US Mexican Numismatic Association. This onza is pictured and discussed on page 11 of that article. Copies available on request.


Now Available.   480-595-1293