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)









Mexican Four Escudos of 1713

From the 1715 PLATE FLEET


M97. Mexico 1713 Mxo J 4 escudos, cross with crosslets design.  NGC MS 64 1715 Fleet, tied for the highest grade with a coin Heritage  auctioned in April of 2012 for $11,000 (the Heritage coin has only a partial 3). Unimprovable luster and color. The date (1713) absolutely complete and struck in the highest relief. Likewise the MXo  mintmark SOLD      

One of the technical problems the Mexican mint had not solved by 1713 was how to produce a 26 mm planchet to match the prescribed size of its four escudos die. Mexican planchets were too small and irregular: for some reasons they could not exceed 22-23 mm. If a small planchet is centered on a bigger die, legends are necessarily lost. Two pieces of information that absolutely could not be lost on a gold coin were the date and the assayer.  The solution arrived at Mexico City was to strike the obverse offset to the right. This insured a more or less clear date but at the cost of completely eliminating PHILIPPVS and the denomination (IIII). All Mexican escudos of 1713 show this right offset. Mexico in 1714 would try again to solve this small planchet problem by moving the date to the reverse, but this solution also failed.

1713 was the 35th year of the Mexican gold cob coinage. Despite the technical excellence of personnel like Manuel de Leon (1677-1705, assayer L) and his brother Jose de Leon (1705-23, assayer J), which showed itself in the exceptional special production gold coinage called galanos or "royals", the quality of the regular gold coinage was universally deplored. Arguably, 1713 represents the nadir of the oddly shaped planchets and poorly hand-engraved dies produced at Mexico City's Casa de Moneda. In that year the Treaty of Utrecht ended the British embargo, and Spain began to resume regular communication with her New World colonies, but no new minting equipment or mint experts arrived in Nueva Espana in 1713. Mexico City continued to struggle, with a conspicuous lack of success, to strike a decently made gold and silver coinage. Die cutting was the beginning of the problem:  the 1713 gold dies are among the worst produced by the Mexican mint in the cob era. Escudos dies produced at Mexico City in 1713 display one style of cross, the cross with crosslets design, also known as the cross-fleury, first introduced in late in 1711. Crossbars and crosslets on these dies are inevitably bent and warped in every direction. On the obverse a simplification in the design of the shield was affected by eliminating the pomegranate of Granada in the upper left quadrant. The shields of 1713 have no straight lines. 1713 planchets can be round, lunate, pear shaped or almost any shape.


Less than thirty collectible 1713 Mexican media onzas survive, all but one a gift of the 1715 Fleet. Tauler's census now has 19 specimens, our census knows 24 coins. All, to my knowledge, were found on Douglass Beach, reputedly the wrecksite of Gen. Ubilla's patache Nuestra Senora de la Nieves. Some 1714 media onzas have earned AU grades because of ocean-impaired luster and/or poor strikes. Douglass Beach has active currents. A handful, perhaps five or six, 1713 media onzas can be considered choice mint state. This and one other coin have earned the highest mint state designation, MS 64.