Sunday, June 10, 2012

6/10/12 Report - Spanish Colonial Silver Coins Data From the Florida Collection

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is one more of those crazy mounted gold escudos from the 2010 Manor Auctions sale.

I provided a link to the web site a couple of times before in recent posts.

Did you ever wonder what kind of Spanish Colonial cobs you would most likely find on the Treasure Coast beaches? That is hard to say, but if we go by data provided by the Florida Collection, we can draw a few conclusions. Too bad the data that I have is incomplete, not a good representative sample, and not up to date. Nonetheless, it is better than not having any data at all to go by.

I’ll use the data from the Florida Collection as published in Alan Craig’s book, Spanish Colonial Silver Coins in the Florida Collection.

Going by that data, the most likely mint to find a treasure coin from is Mexico. Craig found 21,170 Spanish Colonial treasure coins in the Florida Collection minted in Mexico. That is a lot of coins, or in many cases, more correctly, cobs. As lacking as that data is, it coincides well with my personal experience. Of course, my experience is very limited and someone that spends more time than I at different wreck sites might well have different results. If you spend most of your time detecting at Jupiter , for example, you are likely to have found more Potosi and Lima coins.

Overall, though, the second greatest number of coins in the Florida collection are from Potosi, and third, the coins from Lima.

Craig also listed small numbers of coins in the Florida collection from Cartagena, Guatemala, Santa Fe, and Zacatecas, as well as a small number from mints in Spain rather than the New World. Those included the mints of Valladoid, Sevilla, and Madrid.  Only about one tenth of a percent of the coins are from mints in Spain.

A specific mint could not be determined for about four percent of the coins. That does not mean a mint mark was found on the identified coins, because the mint can often be determined from other factors, For example, it is often easy to quickly identify a Mexico minted coin from the cross.

Including all denominations, ½ reals to 8 reals, around ninety percent of the coins in the Florida Collection do not show an assayer mark. That can occur either because the coin is corroded, the original strike was not centered so as to show the assayer mark, or the coin die did not include an assayer mark.

Of the Mexican minted coins (the most probable using the Craig data), if an assayer mark is shown, it is overwhelmingly most likely “J.” That is consistent with my own personal observations. Second most common is the “L” assayer mark.

Using the data for the Mexico minted coins in the Florida collection, over 90% do not show an assayer mark.

To sum up part of what I’ve gone over so far, if you find a Spanish Colonial silver coin on the Treasure Coast, the greatest probability is that it will be a Mexico minted coin of assayer J, but not showing the mint mark.  That conclusion assumes that the Florida Collection as it existed at the time of Craig's book is an adequate sample to generalize from, even though it may not be. 

You are fortunate if you find a coin that shows the date, mint mark and assayer mark. That is especially unlikely with smaller denomination coins such as half reals. Fortunately there are often other things that can help identify the mint, date and assayer.

Only one more day left to respond to the blog poll.  I hope you'll take a few seconds to do that if you haven't already.  

As far as beach detecting conditions, it is more of the same.  The southeast winds continue.   It is hot, humid, with occasional rain. 

Seas remain down around one or two feet, and that will remain the same for a few days. 

I won't elaborate on that anymore today.

Happy hunting,