Tuesday, November 8, 2016

11/8/16 Report - The Florida Collection and Hoards. Narrowing Down The Date of Potosi Cobs From The Column Cap.

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

1715 Fleet 1714 Eight-Escudo
This is one of several NGC graded 1715 Fleet escudos in the current online Sedwick Coins auction. The current bid is already $11,000.

There are a good many graded escudos in this auction.  

I also noticed a lot of Potosi half-reales and a few quarter-reales.


In Alan Craig's book, Spanish Colonial Gold Coins in the Florida Collection, he mentions a couple times that the Florida citizens own the collection.  "Own" implies control.  I don't know how you can say that the collection is in any way "owned" by the citizens.  Other than paying for its maintenance, few of them even know of its existence.  And their database is only for "internal" use, unlike the Mel Fisher artifact database.

As I've shown through my blog polls only a small minority(5%)  have ever seen any of the items in the Florida Collection.  And the poll results are based upon readers of this blog, who you would think would be much more interested in the collection than the average citizen.  About 73% of those who responded to the same poll said they knew virtually nothing about the collection - and those are detectorists and treasure hunters.  Most learn about Florida's treasures through non-government sources, including web sites, auction catalogs, magazines or expensive books such as Alan Craig's.

By the way, compared to his book on silver coins in the collection his book on gold coins was a disappointment to me, so check it out in the library or something before you spend the money.  There are a few interesting things to be found in that book though.

In his book on the gold coins in the collection, Craig includes a section on coin hoards.  He says that large hoards are uncommon, especially those that include coins in fine conditions covering a large time span.  That seems rather obvious, but it makes me think of some of the clusters of cobs found near or in the dunes along the Treasure Coast.  I could easily imagine that in the chaos following a shipwreck, that some survivor might take the opportunity of burying whatever he could gather.  It wouldn't be difficult digging.  All you would need to do would be to kick some sand over it, maybe during the night.  No metal detectors back then, so you might have a hard time finding it again - harder than you might think.

Several times I've recovered keys or rings or other things that beach goers buried for safe keeping while they took and dip and then found when they returned that they couldn't locate the items.


If you have a pillar Potosi cob without the date or assayer information being visible, you might be be to narrow down the date by matching the cap on the pillars to dated examples.

Below are three examples of column caps.  All three examples came from the current Sedwick online auction.

Match the cap with those shown in a good book such as the Sewall Menzel book.  Some caps might look different because they were not struck as sharply and some may be more worn.  The second one above is similar to the first, but was either not as well struck or is more worn than the first, but I think it is different.  The third one is from an earlier period and very different from the other two.  Many times you'll at least be able to narrow down the date from the cap.


We're supposed to have something like a 6 - 8 foot surf on Wednesday and a north wind.  That could possibly do something, depending upon the how the water hits the beach.

Happy hunting,