Thursday, April 7, 2011

4/8/11 Report - Two Eight-Reale Royals

Two Mexico Mint Royals From the Early 1700s.

When people find cobs or look to buy cobs, they find out how difficult it can be to identify a cob. Cobs often don't have mint marks, assayer initials or dates. As the survey showed the majority of this blog's reader who have found reales have found eight reales. Therefore I decided to present some of the best examples of the types of cobs you are likely to find on the Treasure Coast.

Of course many of the cobs found on the Treasure Coast come from the 1715 Fleet, even though there are wrecks from other time periods here. Therefore I selected some examples just prior to 1715, which are common dates found on the Treasure Coast wrecks.

I was looking through the Menzel book on treasure coins and noticed this one Mexican 8 reale that really stuck out. It is a royal, or presentation piece, but it just looked especially fine to me. I think it must be about the best looking workmanship that I've seen on a cob. I'm talking about the coin shown on the left above.

As you can see, it shows the OM, indicating the Mexican mint and the J, indicating assayer Jose Esutaquio de Leon y Losa, who worked at the Mexican mint from 1700 - 1724, under the reign of Philip V, and who later went on to serve at the mint in Guatemala in 1733. He is known for his workmanship and variety of design styles.

In this coin you can also easily see the date, 1714 at about the ten o'clock position above the shield.

For beach finds, you seldom find a "royal," but rather an oddly shaped and much more poorly executed cob with corrosion on top of it all. Therefore you would be lucky to find all of that information clearly displayed on any single cob.

To me, that coin looks almost too good to be true, even when compared to other royals of the same general time period.

I thought you Treasure Coast treasure hunters might find this coin to be a useful example.

The one on the right is not bad either, but doesn't look as fine to me. I added it for comparison and to show a few things. It was done under the same assayer (J), but in the year 1705. You can see that the design is slightly different.

There are numerous differences between those two coins. All of the different designs and varieties makes studying cobs very challenging. It is pretty overwhelming for me.

There are some rather obvious differences and some you have to look for. One of the more noticeable differences is the crown. A more subtle difference is in the shield. Even though both cobs show the same shield, on the 1705 example, the Bourbon crest in the middle covers part of the castle to the left of it,while in the 1714 cob, the Bourbon crest covers the entire castle. That design began in 1714.

As you can see, if you really know your cobs, and I don't, there are a lot of clues to a coins origination and date, even when you don't see the date or other marks.

The 1714 example also has rosettes above and below the denomination (8) and above and below the OMJ. Jose maintained this design from 1714 on through his work at Mexico.

There are also differences to be found on the reverse as well.

I personally like half reales. There is something about the monograms that I like better than the shields. Maybe it is the fact that you seldom get anything close to a full design on any one half reale, so you have to piece together what you learn from a variety of different examples. It's like a puzzle.

If you stashed away your old gold and silver finds in a safe deposit box, you should be very happen with the way prices have increased.

I mentioned before that Chinese antiques are bringing very high prices these days.

Kovels Komments reports on a jade plaque that sold for over $94,000. Here is what they said about that.

A carved Chinese celadon jade plaque, an oval just 6 inches high, sold for a surprising price at Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland, California, in March 2011. Estimated at $1,500, it sold for $94,800 to a collector from Taiwan. If you have a piece of Asian jade, pottery, or ivory that has a family history dating before 1950, it would be wise to take it to an expert, preferably at a museum. It might be very, very old and worth a lot of money. Most likely it is just a recent piece or a good copy. But we have recently reported on at least four pieces that went for unexpectedly high prices.

I found a nice virtual book about the Nuevo El Constante Shipwreck. You might want to take a look.

Treasure Coast Beach Conditions and Forecast.

The weather is beautiful. The water was a little rougher today than I expected, yet still pretty calm. The tide was pretty low too.

The wind is now from the southeast and the seas will remain calm for a few days. The cut that I showed two days ago has basically disappeared, but the shells and fossils have reappeared on some beaches.

Not a bad day for water or low tide hunting, or again, for spring break beach hunting.

I know you might get tired of this reminder, but don't hunt in the water where there are shipwreck leases. I've talked about that in the past. I've provided information in the past about shipwreck lease areas, but I don't know about any possible changes and I can't define it for you precisely, so I won't try. I don't want to risk making an error and getting you into trouble. You are responsible for obeying the laws.

Cob hunting conditions remain poor. I've been having a lot of fun with junky artifacts though. Which reminds me, I have some to show after I learn more about them.

Oh, one more thing. They will be dumping new sand onto the south end of Bathtub Beach.

And I started a new survey on the blog. Don't forget to vote.

Happy hunting,