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    Spanish Cobs


    ONE-HALF REAL COBS


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    1/2 R     Mexico                   Philip IV (1621-1665) cob

    Obverse:  . V .  /  P S   /   [quatrefoil]
    Reverse:  [no legible legend]

    Weight:  15.8 g   (1.02 grams)                  Diameter:  16.0 mm

    Comments:   The obverse give the monogram PVS with dots on either side of the superscript V and a quatrefoil below the monogram. The P and S are joined by a line extending from the bottom of the bow of the P through the center of the S. To the right of the P is part of the superscript O in MO, the mintmark for Mexico. The border legend is worn away. On the reverse is a cross with the arms of Castile and Leon. Again the border legend is completely worn away. The shape of the cross with balls at the ends is unique to Mexico City. This specific design was minted by Philip IV (1621-1665), and is similar to the example found as item 4 on plate 3 in Alberto Francisco Pradeau,Numismatic History of Mexico from the Pre-Columbian epoch to 1823,  Pradeau: Los Angeles, 1938.

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


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    1/2 R     West Indies                   clipped cob

    Obverse:  [R]E[X] [the remainder is obliterated]
    Reverse:  [legend off planchet]

    Weight:  27.4 g   (1.80 grams)                  Dimensions:  17.5 x 13.8 mm

    Comments:  The obverse of this extensively clipped cob is mostly obliterated. To the far right there is a counterstamp (an oval depression) with a faint image of a star or pointed cross, most probably representing a West Indies counterstamp as from Montserrat, which at times used both of these elements. Near the top of the coin the bottom of the E in REX is visible. The reverse bears the remains of the Jerusalem cross with the arms of Castile and Leon. The size of the cross indicates this coin was originally minted as a two reales coin, or possibly as a one real piece. However, through clipping and mutilation it is now just slightly over the authorized weight for the one half real (which is 1.69 grams). A full weight two reales would be 6.77 grams and a one real should average 3.38 grams. Heavily clipped and defective pieces such as this circulated throughout the West Indies and in Colonial America.

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


    ONE REAL COBS


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

    Obverse:  [PHILIPP]VS . II . DEI GRATIA
    Reverse:  [HISPANIARVM] . ET : INDIARVM [REX]

    Weight:  44.5 g   (2.88 grams)                  Diameter:  22.7 mm

    Comments:  This coin has been heavily clipped and is well below the authorized weight of 3.38 grams. Most of the upper potion of the legend letters has been clipped and in parts the entire legend is missing. According to Pradeau (p. 42) there should be colons between each word. Although this coin is clipped it is better than the plated coin in Pradeau (plate 2, item 5).

    Obverse bears the crowned Hapsburg shield, to the feft is the mintmark 'Mo' for Mexico City, while to the right is the assayer's initial '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. The reverse bears a cross with fleur-de-lis transformed into balls at the ends, which is unique to the Mexico City mint. The Castile and Leon arms are completed with castles in the upper-left and lower-right quadrants and lions in the upper-right and lower-left quadrants all surrounded in what in heraldic termonology is called a tressure (here represented by a border consisting of four arcs and four pointed sections).

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


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    1 R   1746     Potosí         Assayer Q       KM Bolivia 28a       Philip V cob

    Obverse:   [no legible legend]
    Reverse:   the legend is in three rows, with each row divided into three sections:   top row: [all sections obscured]; second row: [left section obscured] | VL | TR   third row: [left section obscured] | 746 | P

    Weight:  47.1 g   (3.05 grams)                  Diameter:  18 mm

    Comments:   The obverse and reverse designation for this coin is sometimes confusing. On any coin of this period the side with the royal symbol, either the ruler's shield, name or portrait was the obverse. In this case the obverse is the side with the Jerusalem cross with crossbars at the ends and the Castile and Leon symbols, namely castles in the upper-left and lower-right quadrants and lions in the upper-right and lower-left quadrants. Some books, as Sedwick, have mistakenly called this side the reverse. The situation is somewhat confusing for on earlier coins, like the Philip II one real described above, the ruler's name and shield are on one side (which would make that side the obverse) while the Castile and Leon shield are on the the other (in such a case making it the reverse). In the present situation the Castile and Leon shield side is the only side with a royal symbol making it the obverse!

    The reverse actually gives more information about the coin. On this example the assayer's initial is obscured, but as the date and mintmark are visible we can assign the coin to the Potosíassayer Luis de Quintanilla (1744-60) who used the initial Q. (see see, Pellicer i Bru, Glosario, pp. 44 and 175.) On the reverse the two vertical pillars, representing the Pillars of Hercules, intersect three horizontal lines of text, giving the overall appearance of what is frequently called the "tic tac-toe" design. The top line of text is obscured in this example but the top left square would include the mintmark P, the center square would have the denomination I while the right square would contain the assayer's initial Q. The center line contains an abbreviated form of "PLUS ULTRA" (More beyond). In this case the center left square is obscured but probably had PL or some combination for PLUS. The center square has VL with TR in the square on the right as an abbreviated form of ULTRA. The final line repeats some of the information on the top line but in reverse order and adds the date. The square on the left is obscured but would have contained the assayer's initial Q; the center box has the last three digits of the date 746 for the year 1746 and the right hand box gives the mintmark P.

    Provenance:  Donated to Notre Dame in 1887 as part of a 2,300 item coin collection (see: The Notre Dame Scholastic,   vol. 21 (September 1887) 45.



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    Charles and Johanna Coinage Section Contents Spanish Cobs: p.2


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