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  • Spanish Silver: General Introduction
  • Spanish Cobs Introduction

    Spanish Cobs


    TWO REALES COBS


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    2 R     Potosí                  Philip II (1621-1665) cob

    Obverse:  [PHI]LIPPV[S] . D . G . HISPANA[RUM]
    Reverse:  [REX] [Fleur de lis] [E]T IND[IARVM]

    Weight:  99.8 g   (6.48 grams)                  Diameter:  28.0 mm

    Comments:   The use of the form Philippus (with pp) and no number following the name is found on coins of Philip II. The P to the left of the Hapsburg shield is the mintmark for Potosí, Bolivia. To the right of the shield is denomination II. At this time the mintmark P was also used by the mint in Lima, Peru. However the Lima two reales coins usually have the mintmark to the right of the shield. The two varieties of the Lima two reales with the mintmark to the left have a very different reverse shield border (called a tressure) that is rather round instead of pointed as is our example (see Sellschopp, figures 64 and 65). Our example in not illustrated by Sellschopp but is close to several Potosíexamples as figures 165-6, 191, 204 and others. Unfortunately the coin is holed is the exact spot where the assayer initial would have been located. According to Thomas Kays holed coins were like modern traveller's checks. A traveller would sew or pin several of these coins into the lining or inside of their jacket and use them as needed. (Note: see the bibliography to the introduction to this section for citations to Sellschopp and Kays.)

    Provenance:  From the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Collection.


    obverse

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    2 R     Mexico          Assayer D over P              Philip IV cob, dating between 1622 and 1636

    Obverse:   [almost totally clipped off, part of a P and part of a roman numeral I are visible, most probably from PHILLIPVS IIII]
    Reverse:  [almost totally clipped off, only the M of INDIARVM can be seen]

    Weight:  102.6 g   (6.65 grams)                

    Dimensions:  25.7 x 28.6 mm

    Comments:   This is a heavily clipped coin with almost no legend remaining, most probably this was originally a four reales coin that has been clipped down to the size of a two reales piece. The present weight of the coin is slightly less than the full authorized weight for a two reales, which would be 6.77 grams, but substantially below the authorized 13.54 grams weight of the four reales. Unfortunately much of the mintmark has been clipped off. Nevertheless, the location can be determined from the reverse cross. Each of the ends of the cross display the fleur-de-lis in the shape of a ball, a style that is unique to the Mexico City mint. On the obverse to the left of the shield the assayer initial D is visible. This probably refers to the unidentified assayer D who was active between 1618 and 1636 (see Pellicer i Bru, Glosario, p. 92). Other Mexican assayers in the years 1671 and 1724-1730 also used the initial D, but the Hapsburg shield on the obverse of the coin gives further evidence for the earlier assayer. The shield is an early style of the Hapsburg arms exactly as is found on Philip IV coins (see Pradeau, plate 3, especially the four reales example shown as item 3). This would date the coin to the period between 1621 and 1636. In March 2001, Mr. Scott Campbell of Sebastian, FL pointed out the assayer mark P is visible under the D. The assay mark P was used at the Mexico mint from 1622-1667, because the P mark was used through a 45 year period it has been suggested the mark may have been used by two distinct unknown assayers, (Pellicer i Bru, Glosario, pp. 40 and 167). Interestingly, the two reales example shown here is quite unusual in that it has been stamped with the mark of assayer P and then overstamped with the mark of assayer D.

    Provenance:  From the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Collection.


    FOUR REALES COBS


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    4 R     Mexico          Assayer O            Philip II cob Mo-O between 1572-1598

    Obverse:  [PHI]LIPPV[S] : II : DEI : [GRATI]A
    Reverse:  HISPANIARVM : ET : INDIARVM

    Weight:  212.1 g   (13.74 grams)                  

    Diameter:  32.7 mm

    Comments:  The legend identifies this coin as from the time of Philip II. The obverse mintmark, to the left of the shield is somewhat worn but can be distinguished as M with a superscript o for Mexico City. Directly below the M is a more worn assayer initial most probably an O. According to Pellicer I Bru's, Glosario, p. 161 this unidentified assayer O was active during the entire reign of Philip II 1556-1598. As this coin is a Mexican cob it cannot date to before 1572 when the dies used on the cobs first arrived in the New World. To the right of the shield is the denomination designated by IIII with a superscript o. Note the numeral passes through the beadwork border and almost touches the legend. The reverse displays the arms of Castilie and Leon with the standard Mexico city mint cross in which each end of the cross displays the fleur-de-lis in the shape of a ball. On this four reales coin see Josep Pellicer I Bru, El Medio Duro (Barcelona, 1971), item 349 and Pradeau, plate 2, item 4.

    Provenance:  From the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Collection.


    EIGHT REALES COBS


    obverse

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      reverse

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    8 R     Potosí                     Philip IV (1625-1665) cob

    Obverse:  [PHI]LIPV]S IIII [D.G.] HIS[PANIARUM]
    Reverse:  [ET IN]DIARVM REX [ANN]O [----]

    Weight:  418.0 g   (27.09 grams)                  

    Diameter:  44.0 mm

    Comments:  This is a typical crudely made cop "piece of eight" with large fissure cracks at two ends. However, this is not a heavily clipped coin for it weighs close to the full authorized weight of 27.47 grams. Unfortunately the date is missing but the legend identifies this coin as from Philip IV. The obverse mintmark, to the left of the Hapsburg shield is mostly obscured but the bow of the P for Potosícan be distinguished. The assayer's mark which would be located below the mintmark is completely obscured. Note that the obverse has been double struck. Doubling can be seen around the 8. More obviously the numeral IIII in the lower obverse legend is stamped over the rim of the shield. Also, the inner bead border is actually within the shield while the outer bead border is almost aligned with the inner bead border near the 8. Such doubling is common with the hammer strike method employed in producing this coins.

    Provenance:  Purchased through the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment from the EANA auction of Novemmber 16, 1996, lot 407.



    obverse

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    8 R     Mexico ?                      cob

    Obverse:  fully obscured
    Reverse:  fully obscured

    Weight:  361.6 g   (23.44 grams)                  

    Diameter:  38.4 x 32.7 mm

    Comments:  This is a badly worn and heavily clipped example of a Spanish "piece of eight." Only the central features of the obverse Hapsburg shield can be distinguished. The denomination, mintmark and assayer as well as the legend is completely obscured. Likewise, on the reverse only the central features of the Castile and Leon shield can be distinguished. The top end of the reverse cross is slightly visible and appears to have a ball at the end, locating it to the Mexico City mint. Without legends or other distinguishing features the dating of this cob is not possible.

    Provenance:  From the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Collection.



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    Spanish Cobs: p.1 Section Contents Spanish Milled Coins: p.1



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