Jamaica (1758) 5 pounds

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Heritage sale 3030, lot 24636
photo courtesy Heritage Auctions

The island of Jamaica was captured by the British in 1655, and formally ceded to them in 1670 by the Treaty of Madrid. Foreign silver abounded in this colony rich in sugar and wealth pirated offshore. In 1758 the Jamaican legislature authorized the countermarking of all denominations of Spanish colonial pillar reales, mostly from Mexico City and Lima. The countermark consists of the letters GR (Georgius Rex). Effort appears to have been made to center the counterstamps but did not always succeed.

This specimen was lot 24636 in Heritage sale 3030 (New York, January 2014), where it sold for $32,900. The catalog description[1] noted,

"Very Rare Jamaica 1758 Doubloon on Lima 8 Escudos British Occupation - Jamaica Authority of November 1758 gold Doubloon (valued at Five Pounds), XF45 NGC. Under coin nice Very Fine, countermarks Extremely Fine. A Lima 1759-JM 8 Escudos counterstamped centrally on both sides with a floriate 'GR' in a circular indent (same punches as those used to stamp the silver 4 Reales). Very rare and important, and long considered one of the classic world rarities. Nine or ten specimens of the doubloon have been confirmed by the cataloguer, including four or five over a Lima 1751 8 Escudos, one each over a Santiago 1753 and a Mexico 1742 8 Escudos, and three specimens over a Lima 1759 8 Escudos, including the present coin. The references to the latter 3 specimens are as follows:

- 1) The present coin. Ex Alexander Patterson (Bonhams 7/1996, lot 619 for £9,000).

- 2) The KM plate coin. Ex SBC (Auction # 24, 1/1990, lot 2208 for $28,900). That coin is perhaps half a grade better than the present piece.

- 3) The specimen referenced by Gordon. Ex Madrid collector (Glendining's 6/1937, lot 415, for £ 78). This is comparable in grade to the present coin, but had small flan flaws and was more a bit more softly struck, rendering it less desirable overall. Incredibly, that 1937 Glendining sale also included the same specimen of the very rare countermarked pistole that is being offered in this sale!

Only recent sales of the Lima 1751 doubloon (the more available under type) have been traced (DNW 11/2011, lot 382 is the VF Ray Byrne specimen for £18,000, and DNW 10/2012, lot 4245 is the XF Farouk specimen for £ 22,000). Probably the most iconic rarity in the challenging West Indies cut and countermarked series."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 27 g, .916 fine gold.

Catalog reference: KM 11.4, Fr-1, Prid-1, Gordon-1.

Source:

  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and David Michaels, Heritage World and Ancient Coins Auction 3030, featuring the RLM Collection, the Isaac Rudman Collection, the Hans Cook Collection and the Collection of Donald E. Bently, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2013.
  • Byrne, Ray, Coins, Tokens, & Medals from the West Indies, Jess Peters, Inc, auction catalog - Sale #78, June 13-15, 1975.

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