Mexico (1536)-Mo 8 reales

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Goldberg sale 46, lot 1073
photo courtesy Ira & Larry Goldberg
another specimen, photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries
This specimen was lot 1073 in Goldberg sale 46 (Beverly Hills, May 2008), where it sold for $270,000. The catalog description[1] noted,

"Mexico. 8 Reales, No Date-M (Mexico City, c. 1535-6); Assayer R (Francisco del Rincon). Carlos & Joanna, 1516-1556. Prior to Early Coinage (1538-1541) issues. Crowned arms of Castille and Leon; gothic-style mintmark. Reverse: Crowned pillars, rhomboidal panel containing PLVS; above and between pillars, a circular incuse with cross potent within; assayer mark below, Latin-style R. Bold, well-centered strike on nearly round flan. Spots of minimal weakness; areas of contact corrosion limited mostly to one edge of both sides. Toned. Excessively Rare -- one of only 3 specimens known. Of the highest significance for the history of New World coinage. Emphasizing the experimental nature of this issue, one can discern that this coin is a test strike. Apparent in the fields are flattened designs, indicating that the present piece was overstruck on itself at least once, if not two or more times! NGC graded EF-40.

"Carlos and Joanna, or Johanna, issued the first coins from Europe for the New World. Johanna was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, and heir to the Spanish throne. She married Philip the Handsome, and they had a son named Charles. Both Johanna's mother, Isabella, and her husband, Philip, died young. By all reports this made Johanna mentally unbalanced. Her son claimed co-regency with Johanna, and had her imprisoned in the castle of Tordesilla. He then ruled in name with her, but effectively he ruled alone. So much for filial love.

"Only 3 pieces were found in a shipwreck. One is held by a collector who wants one million dollars for his example. Another brought $373,750 at a Heritage sale last year at New York. The salvage group that found the shipwreck, and who at one time had all three coins in their possession, consigned it. The winning bidder, a well-known Latin-American collector, was prepared to pay much more for this coin. At the time of the sale, there were rumors of many more known examples; thus, many major buyers did not attend the sale or bid on this important coin. Mr. Daniel Sedwick, who represented the salvage group at the sale, stated that this was the last piece from the shipwreck. Since the auction, it is now confirmed that only three of these coins are known. The discovery specimen is being offered here."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 27.07 g, .931 fine silver.

Catalog reference: KM--; WR --, Cayón no. 3129.

Source:

  • [1]Goldberg, Ira, and Larry Goldberg, Goldberg Sale 46: the Millenia Collection, Beverly Hills, CA: Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, 2008.
  • Krause, Chester L., and Colin R. Bruce II, Standard Catalog of World Coins: Spain, Portugal and the New World, Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2002.
  • Cayón, Adolfo, Clemente Cayón and Juan Cayón, Las Monedas Españolas, del Tremis al Euro: del 411 a Nuestros Dias, 2 volumes, Madrid: Cayón-Jano S.L., 2005.
  • Calicó, Xavier, Numismática Española: Catálogo General con Precios de Todas las Monedas Españolas Acuñadas desde Los Reyes Católicos Hasta Juan Carlos I, 1474 a 2001, Barcelona: Aureo & Calicó, 2008.
  • Menzel, Sewall, Cobs, Pieces of Eight and Treasure Coins, New York: The American Numismatic Society, 2004.

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