Thousands of tons of gold and silver were sent from the New World to Spain during the colonial era. Small ships transported coins and ingots in trips that were far from being easy and safe. In fact, many of these ships sank.
One of the most famous disasters occurred on the 31st July 1715, when 10 ships were lost because of a hurricane near the coast of Florida. The treasure lost was so big that gold and silver coins are still found in the area from time to time. Taking into account that the ships departed from the Caribean sea in 1715, it is not surprising that they carried many coins minted in Mexico in the year 1714. One of them is now offered in the auction.
Spanish cobs were minted in a very rudimentary way. Their quality is such that their data (legends, essayer, mint mark…) was not struck in many specimens. For this reason, cob collectors do not only consider the state of wear of the coin when judging its price, but also the details that were struck on the coin.
The reverse of the specimen in the auction nicely depicts the cross but does not show the legends; its observe clearly shows the data, the assayer, and the mint mark, while the shield and the crown are almost complete. In addition, its grade is really high. Hence, we can consider a top specimen of this rare coin (even if it is more common than most of the 8 escudos Spanish cobs).
We can use the marvelous gold-cob search system by Rafael Tauler in order to define a price. This search system includes specimens sold in auctions since the 1960’s. However, we should only take into account the hammer prices of high-quality specimens that were auctioned the last few years: this one was hammered for 11.800 euros in 2011, this one for $42.500 in 2012 and this not-so-beautiful one for $7.500 in 2014. I would, then, consider that $15.000 to $20.000 are reasonable hammer prices for the specimen in the auction.
Description from the seller
Mexico City, Mexico, cob 8 escudos, 1714J, encapsulated NGC MS 64, from the 1715 Fleet (stated in slab). Mexico City, Mexico, cob 8 escudos, 1714J, encapsulated NGC MS 64, from the 1715 Fleet (stated in slab). S-M30; KM-57.2; CT-108. Bold full cross, 100% full date and oMJ, nearly full crown and shield, muted luster and toning but technically very well preserved. NGC #3349433-001. From the 1715 Fleet.