Tuesday, July 24, 2012

7/24/12 Report - Carlos II Cobs From 1715 Fleet Beaches

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

According to Wikipedia, Charles II (or perhaps more correctly, Carlos II) ruled Spain from November 1661 through November 1700.  His name appeared on New World coinage during much of that period, while immediately before and after that, you'll see King Philip indicated on the cobs.  The transition was not always precise.  I know of at least one cob with the name of Carlos on one side of a cob and Philip on the other side of the same cob. 

I'm certainly not an expert on cobs or coinage of any type, but I do like to discuss what I have observed and am learning about these subjects. 

I said the other day that I would be discussing cobs from the reign of Charles II.   I especially like half reales and the monograms that they display.   From my personal experience, I think you can expect to find more Philip than Carlos half reales on 1715 Fleet beaches, but there are a good number of Carlos half reales to be found.

One of the things that I like about half reales is that they are all different, and there are so many variations on the monograms which can provide clues about the source and date of the cobs.

Here is one half reale that was found on a 1715 Fleet beach that bears the Carlos monogram.  Carlos reales would be in the range of somewhere around the 1660s up to about 1700, a time period that would not be uncommon for cobs transported by the 1715 Fleet. 

As you know, half reales usually don't show much of the cobs design due to being poorly centered, shaped or corroded.  This one shows a good bit of the monogram, but not all of it.  Certainly there is enough to clearly identify the Carlos monogram.

Carlos II Half  Real

You can see almost all of the "A" with part of the "C" to the left and coming up and ending near the middle of the horizontal bar of the "A".  You can't see any of the "S," which would be to the right.

You can often make out the Carlos monogram when there is only a small part of it showing on the cob.  Sometimes you can see what I refer to as the fish hook at the end of the C.  Sometimes you can tell by the 45 degree angles, or the big curve of the C.  Anyhow, it doesn't take much when you know what the monogram should look like.  There are however a lot of little variations, and some of them are diagnostic.

The half real shown above is from the Mexican mint.  You could easily tell that if I showed the style of cross seen on the other side of the cob. 

Here is a stylized Carlos monogram.  As I said you will find a lot of variations.
Stylized Carlos II Monogram

I don't know how it got rotated.

The illustration is from the Sewall Menzell book, Cobs, Pieces of Eight and Treasure Coins.

On the Carlos half real shown below there are additional clues to the mint that can be seen even though much of the monogram is missing.

You can see two important clues on this monogram that verify the Mexican mint.  Neither of those features are seen on any Potosi or Lima Carlos half real that I have been able to find in the reference books.

First, is the assayer mark, just to the left of the lower part of the C, but above the end of the left leg of the A.  In the photo it looks like a "C" but it is actually a "G."   That would be for assayer Geronimo Bercerra, and would place the cob in the range of 1666 to 1677.

Potosi did have an assayer "C" during the period of Carlos II, but Potosi did not typically place the assayer mark at that position, and did not have another important clue that we can see on this cob.

Another Carlos II Half Real

If you look just to the right of the C, and just above the left leg of the A, you will be able to see what you might be able to make out as the bottom of a very small R.  The "R" of Carlos.   You do not see that on Potosi or Lima cobs.  Even if I couldn't see the cross on the other side, these two clues would make me very confident that this is a cob from Mexico.

I added Clausen's 1970 report on the Fort Pierce Collection in my reference link list.  You might want to check out some of the links there. 

Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Forecast and Conditions.

The seas are running about three feet today, and the beaches still are very sandy.   Low tide is around 6:15 today.  No significant change in conditions yet.

The water will be calming down gradually the next couple of days.

Happy hunting,