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.
















1714 Mexico Escudos with "J" in the date:

the 17J4 one escudo & the J714 two escudos


Below is pictured a dated 1714 Mexico one escudo from the 1715 Fleet. Everything about it looks normal except the third digit of the date seems clearly to be the letter "J", not the digit 1. "J" is the initial of the assayer for 1714 Mexico City gold, Jose de Leon. Did Mexican die cutters confuse a punch for the letter J with a punch for the digit 1? But they had just used the correct punch for the first digit of the date. Presumably it was still at hand.

It has been suggested that the third digit/letter might be in fact a damaged 1 with the bottom right serif broken off.  Notice the diagonal flow lines running uninterrupted across the fields just below the "J". Nothing broke off or clogged up after the the "17J4 " date was pressed into the die. It was not a damaged 1 punch. 

The assayer's initial J is somewhat doubled on this coin but on other 1714 one escudos is clear and sharp. When we compare those J's with the 17J4 we see here, it is clear that the third "digit" is exactly the same shape as the assayer's initial. The Mexican die sinkers mistakenly punched in a J as the third "digit".  What an odd error!


Next we have a Mexico City 1714 two escudos also from the 1715 Fleet.  I apologize for the quality of the scan but that is all that is currently available. In this case the first digit resembles an inverted "J".  There is no suggestion that this is from a digit 1 punch with broken serifs. A circular loop of raised metal arcs left from the vertical stroke of the letter/digit. This loop seems a little wide for a typical Mexico City "J", but all the digits and letters in this part of the legends are stretched and somewhat distorted. Look at the G and the 7. It is very hard to render a definitive verdict here. It is possible that we have various striking problems in the legend that work together to create what happens to look like an inverted "J". Or maybe a "J" punch was mistaken used for the first digit of the date.

These interesting "J" varieties of the 1714 one and two escudos clearly exist. The question is how they were created. By using a defective 1714 digit 1 punch, or by mistakenly using a J punch, or by some more complicated die scenario? I'm not sure! We need more examples of these varieties, especially the "J714" two escudos. Fully dated earlier die states of these issues could lead us to a solution. Those of you who own dated specimens of the 1714 Mexico one and two escudos might want to look at your coins to see whether you have "J" varieties. Please be in touch if you have coins that may help us resolve this question.