Spanish gold and the Portuguese Moidores

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by AussieCollector, May 28, 2022.

  1. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Hi all

    I’m pleased to say that I picked up a new coin this week, but I didn’t set out to acquire it.

    When I started my search for a new coin, I was looking for a Spanish gold cob coin, to go with my existing collection of Spanish and Spanish colonial coins spanning the 16th to 19th centuries.

    Some time ago now, I purchased a 2 escudos, pictured below:

    Description: Seville, Spain, gold cob 2 escudos. Philip (1556 to 1598) II or Philip III (1598 to 1621), assayer and mintmark not visible. Full cross. Shield crudely struck. 6.74g

    Although I love this coin (particularly with its full cross), I feel like it needs some company in the collection. In particular, I was toying with either a 1 Escudo gold cob or a 4 Escudo gold cob minted in either the 16th, 17th century, or early to mid 18th century. Being minted in the Americas was also a key part of the search, as I wanted a coin that had seen trade in the colonies. Lastly, I’m not particularly fussy when it comes to wear and tear, and in fact a prefer a bit of ‘character’ on my coins, as it tells me they saw the world, and didn’t just sit in a safe somewhere gathering dust. I figured that with these criteria, I would be able to find something within budget.

    However, after several auctions, I have found that the cost of a Spanish colonial gold cob is beyond what I’m willing to pay (much higher than it was 5 years ago). Perhaps I’ll get lucky at some stage, but not for the time being it seems.

    So I started to think about other possibilities.

    I already have a few gold coins from the various European powers that had colonies in the Americas, including France and the Netherlands. But, I didn’t yet have a Portuguese coin.

    Looking into them a bit more, they had quite the trade in the West Indies, and of course a substantive colony in Brazil. So they ticked that box. The Portuguese coins also have a nice look to them, bold crosses, and shields, with the design clearly influenced by the Spanish. Another box ticked. Then, after looking at the 400 Reis, 500 Reis and 1000 Reis varieties, I found the 4000 Reis – and fell in love.


    Description: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 4000 Reis. Obv: Crowned Portuguese arms, 4000, and 3 flowers. PETRVS.II.DG.PORTVG.REX (Translation: Pedro II, by the Grace of God, King of Portugal) Rev: Saint George's cross flanked by ornaments and date. ET BRASILIAE DOMINVS ANNO (Translation: and Lord of Brazil) 1699. Weight: 8.01g

    Thanks for reading.

    Feel free to post your Portuguese or Spanish colonial coins.

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2022
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  3. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    Nice one. I recently purchased a similar Brazilian 1771 1000 Reis.
    robinjojo and AussieCollector like this.
  4. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    The one on top is a serious beauty! thumbsup.gif Both super great finds pricey gold coins for sure! thumbupp.gif
    AussieCollector likes this.
  5. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    That's a nice 2 escudos and 4000 reis! Gold cobs have always been pricey, especially those associated with the 1715 fleet.

    I really like the rough beauty of the 2 escudos. The centering is very nice, with a good shield and cross. I think there's B to the left of the shield. That would make your cob one from the reign of Philip III.

    I only have one 2 escudos that I've owned since the early 1990s, purchased from a local coin shop. This coin is from Colombia, Bogota. I place this coin in the early 1630s, with lower parts of the 1 and 6 visible to the left of the cross. The NR mint mark is fairly clear on the obverse, to the left of the shield. The assayer mark below it, A, is extremely weak. To the right is a bold horizontal II.

    6.7 grams

    D-Camera Colombia Bogota 2 escudos NRA c 1630s Phil IV 6.7g Austin 2-25-22.jpg
    Last edited: May 28, 2022
  6. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    Now that I am back to my desk I will share my coin. As mentioned, it is much later but the design doesn't change much.

  7. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Thanks @fretboard :)

    Agreed @robinjojo - the rough beauty of 2 Escudos (and most cob coins for that matter) is something special. You have a really beautiful coin, one like that (or more worn even) is what I was after. But they are commanding prices beyond what I'm willing to pay at the moment.

    In re to mine above, I'd probably disagree on the "good shield" - it's a bit of a mess really. But I bought this one for the cross, not the shield, and the cross is full.

    One question - you mention there's a B to the left of the shield on my coin. I don't see anything to the left of the shield, and Sedwick himself couldn't ID it beyond Philip II or III. What am I missing?
    fretboard likes this.
  8. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Stunning coin @Chris B !

    You're right, even though the better part of a century had passed, the design was much the same.
  9. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    While the shield on your 2 escudos is typically very crude, it is quite complete as these coins go.

    The assayer B is a guess. If you look to the left of the lower lion on the shield there appears to be a faint outline of a B. I tried to enlarge your photo, but it is somewhat pixelated. Again, this is a guess on my part based on the photo. The coin, in hand, might be different,

    Blowup of assayer Spanish 2 escudos 5-28-22.jpg
    Last edited: May 28, 2022
    AussieCollector likes this.
  10. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    I bought this moidore several years ago as one of the original "pirate" coins.

    Portugal Moidore 4000 Reis 1704
    Gold, 29 mm, 10.71 gm, minted in Lisbon

    Crowned shield of Portugal
    (Peter II by the Grace of God, Portugal and Algarve, King)
    Order of Christ Cross

    Last edited: May 29, 2022
    AussieCollector, talerman and Chris B like this.
  11. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    I don't think I'm not seeing what you're seeing. But all good.

    I think you're right in any event, it is most likely to be a Philip III - even just by eyeballing the design.

    Lovely Moidore @willieboyd2

    To me these coins have so much historical value because they were popular and well recognised, and therefore used! If these coins could talk...
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