A Mexican 8 reales, Philip III, (1)611, Assayer F, from the "Sana'a Hoard"

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by robinjojo, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    For that past two or so years Spanish colonial coins, primarily from the reign of Charles II of Spain and a few early coins of Philip V, but also from earlier kings, have appeared on the market with very distinctive "hoard" characteristics: encrusted, dark and very crude (not at all unusual for Charles II coinage from Mexico, for those who collect this challenging ruler).

    This coin, as well as others are from a hoard from Sana'a Yemen, I have been told. That's about the limit of the information regarding these coins. Apparently some Maria Theresa thalers are also coming out of this hoard, which is not unexpected; that coin circulated widely throughout Arabia.

    Getting back to the coin below, it has lots of deposits, especially on the reverse (cross side), as well as nice earthen deposits, mainly in the devices of the shield.

    It is an 8 reales of Philip III, Assayer F, dated (1)611. The date on Mexican cobs, can be found from roughly 9 o'clock to around 10 o'clock, and reads (1)611, with the 6 quite soft but the 11 quite bold.

    This coin, when it was deposited into the group, must have had very little circulation. The details are quite crisp and the strike very well centered.

    I have some other cobs from this hoard, all Charles II, that I hope to post in the future.

    Mexico, (1)611
    8 reales
    Philip III
    Assayer F
    Obverse: Spanish Hapsburg shield, denomination "8" to the right, o over M and F to the left, legend and date on the periphery.
    Reverse: Mexican-style cross, lions and castles in quadrants, legend on the periphery.
    KM 44.3
    27.5 grams

    D-Camera Mexico 8 reales Philip III, F, Sana'a Hoard, 27.4 g. , 9-18-20.jpg

    Does anyone else have coins from this hoard? Please post them or any other coin you wish.

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
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  3. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    Very interesting. It really was the first international currency.

    I don't have one from the Sana'a Hoard, or Mexico, or even a hoard, but I do have a Charles II 8 reales cob:

    upload_2020-9-19_0-18-43.png Charles II, 8 reales, 1676, Potosí, Peru (Bolivia), assayer E (Antonio de Ergueta). PLV·SVL·TRA, POTOSI ANO EL PERV. CAROLUS·II·D·G·HISPAN·. Recovered from Consolación, sunk in 1681 off Santa Clara Island, Ecuador.

    Apparently, they're all so crude because the Spanish wanted a quicker method of production. That involved simply clipping a 'cabo' (cob) off a silver bar and hammering it between two dies, missing out the bit where you rolled out and smoothed the silver. That, and because like mine they often ended up at the bottom of the sea.
    Seattlite86, NOS, serafino and 2 others like this.
  4. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a nice Potosi cob. I'd say that it is above average in condition for this wreck.
    John Conduitt likes this.
  5. serafino

    serafino Well-Known Member

    I was wondering why these coins are so crude, the much older Roman coins were better made than this issue.
    robinjojo and John Conduitt like this.
  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    The hammer struck coins produced by the Spanish mints were essentially silver ingot, in a manner of speaking, with the Spanish arms and other identifying information usually haphazardly imprinted with little or no regard for centering or detail. It is not uncommon to find double and even triple struck pieces.

    I think these coin compare poorly with ancient Roman and Greek coins, in terms of workmanship of the dies, flans and production, because the primary goal was to produce coinage as quickly as possible for export to Spain and her eastern possession, the Philippines. Some coins struck during the reign of Philip II were produced with great care, but beginning with Philip III the quality generally declined, eventually hitting bottom with Philip IV, when coins, especially those produced at Potosi became very crude, and debased, due to fraud at the mint.

    The "pillars and waves" design introduced in 1652 created better quality coinage at Potosi. Mexico continued with the older shield design until the introduction of milled coinage in 1732. In terms of quality, the coins from Potosi started to decline during the reigns of Charles II and Philip V. Some improvement did occur under Philip V's later years.

    I have quite a few cobs that I hope to photograph and post in the future, but I hope this helps answering your question.
    Seattlite86 likes this.
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