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The Cob Corner


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Maybe it's not a corner.  It is a nicely alliterative title, better than Cob Octagon or Cob Triangle. 

I thought it would be nice to have a thread dedicated to these fascinating and historical coins, a venue where I can share my enthusiasm for these coin and one where we can share information and coins, perhaps instilling the collecting bug in some of you who are interested and need just a nudge to become full blown cob collectors.

I have accumulated and documented many cobs over the past 40 plus years.  I have posted many here and at CoinTalk.  My postings are rather messy, not very systematic, jumping from one mint or king as I pull coins for photographing.  Please bear with me, and I hope that the coins posted herein are both entertaining and informative.

I'll start with coins that I have photographed on file.  I'll continue to post and please share your cobs.  If you have any questions, I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

First, Potosi:

Potosi 7 1/2 reales, Philip IV, 1651 E, crown CM revaluation, salvaged.

KM C19.15

26.4 grams



Potosi 8 reales Philip V, (1)712 Y.

KM 31

26.66 grams



Potosi 8 reales, Charles III, (1)770 VY possibly J.  From the Sedwick 2021 auction.

KM 45

27.0 grams



Potosi, 8 reales, Philip IV, 1626 P.  From the Sedwick auction of May 2017. 


26.52 grams



Potosi, 8 reales, Philip  IV, 1632T, Indonesian salvage.

Paoli 187; KM 19a

26.7 grams



Potosi, 8 reales, Philip IV, 1646 R over P. 

KM 19a

26.2 grams


Potosi, 8 reales, Philip IV, 1651 E, modern style 5 in date, counterstamp F.

KM c 19.3 (counterstamp) KM 19b (coin)

26.7 grams



Potosi 8 reales  Philip IV, 1652 E, transitional type, shield reverse, salvaged.

KM A20.4



Potosi 8 reales, Charles III, 1770 V.

KM 45

26.9 grams



Potosi, 8 reales, Philip V, 1746 q, round,  Purchased from Freeman Craig.

26.3 grams



Potosi. 8 reales, Philip III, 1617 M.  Purchased from World Wide Coins of California in 1990.

Atocha Reference Collection no 208.

KM 10

27.2 grams



Potosi, 8 reales, Philip II, No Date, Assayer B.  Acquired from Hal Blackburn around 1981.

Paloetti Group 5B No 83



Potosi, 8 reales, Philip IV, 1652 E, transitional type, salvaged.  Acquired from Daniel Sedwick.

KM A20.6

26.4 grams







Edited by robinjojo
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23 hours ago, robinjojo said:

I thought it would be nice to have a thread dedicated to these fascinating and historical coins, a venue where I can share my enthusiasm for these coin and one where we can share information and coins, perhaps instilling the collecting bug in some of you who are interested and need just a nudge to become full blown cob collectors.

I've never really paid any attention to coins like these before. However, these look outstanding. You've got me interested - that's for sure!


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  • Benefactor

Thank you.

I'll continue with the Lima cobs that I have on file.  I have far fewer compared to Potosi or Mexico.

Lima, 8 reales, Philip II, undated  (1577-1587),  Diego de la Torre.

S-L4; KM-14; Cal-655

27.38 grams



Lima, 8 reales, Charles II, (16)86, Assayer R.

KM 24

27.0 grams



Lima, 8 escudos Philip V, 1715, Assayer M.  Partial second date on pillars side, upper left.  Purchased from Daniel Sedwick in 2001.

KM 38.2

26.8 grams



Lima  8 escudos, Philip V, 1738 N. 

KM 38.2




Lima, 8 reales, Philip V, 1743 V, apparent hand recut 3 over 2.  From a small hoard found in Sanaʽa, Yemen about 8 years ago.

KM 34a

26.47 grams



Lima 8 escudos, Ferdinand VI, 1750, Assayer R.  Salvaged from the Luz (1752).  Purchased from Pat Johnson, Huston, Texas in the 1990s.

KM 47



I have other Lima cobs and 4 reales from various mints that I hope to photograph in the future.


Edited by robinjojo
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  • Benefactor

Thanks, everyone!

Here are the Colombia cobs on file.  Colombia, like Brazil, was gold rich and silver poor, as exemplified by the large number of gold coins and comparatively fewer silver coins on the market for the colonial period. 

The two mints in Colombia were Santa Fe de Bogota and Cartagena de Indies.  The later is a fabled city, whose port, the fortresses and the monuments are  UNESCO heritage sites.

About Cartagena

The fortress of Cartagena, Colombia, lit up at night.


The cobs that I own are the cumulative result of buying these elusive coins over decades.

Colombia, Cartagena, 8 reales, Philip IV, (RN)E to left of shield, 1629.

KM 3.4

27.3 grams

The first cobs produced at both mints was the shield type, introduced in 1622 by the Bogota mint, using dies from Spain.  The shield coinage was sporadic, especially for silver coinage.  Distinguishing Colombian cobs from other cobs, especially those from Spain, can be challenging at times.  The keys to look for are the mint  and assayer marks, which are sometimes off the flan or incomplete due to striking anomalies.

How do we know that this is a cob from Cartagena?  Looking to the left of the shield, flatly struck are a N (very weak) and an E, or (R)NE, running vertically.  Cartagena at this time use the RN,.  Very confusing!  However, the assayer E worked at Cartagena, so, based on that information the coin was minted in Cartagena in 1629.  That date is speculative on my part.  It runs on the reverse from around 10 to between 11 and 12 o'clock.  The 1 and 6 (faint) are legible, but due to a bend in the flan, made at the mint, the 2 and 9 are extremely weak and can only be detected with high magnification.  Even then those last two numerals are not conclusive.



This is my only Colombian gold cob, a 2 escudos from Bogota.

Colombia, Bogota, 2 escudos, Philip IV, NRA, circa 1630s.  Purchased in the early 1990s from a local coin dealer, Austin and Company.

6.7 grams

Here, we have a coin that has a minor die shift, struck from rusted dies, and with weakly struck mint and assayer marks.  Still, it is possible to see the N, part of the R and a very weak A, NRA - NR for Nuevo Reino de Granada, the name of the colony, and the A for the assayer.  The date on this coin runs from about 9 to around 10 o'clock.  The 1 and the bottom of the 6 are visible, but the remainder of the date is off the flan, as is very often the case with these coins.  



In the 1650s Colombian cobs switched, along with Potosi and Lima to the pillars and waves design that remined for the duration of this coinage.

Colombia, Bogota, 8 reales, Philip IV,  1660s, PoRS NR.   Purchased from Superior Galleries in the early 1990s.

KM 7.1

27.1 grams

I was fortunate to win this coin in a Superior auction.  The pillars and waves cobs from Bogota are quite expensive and often salvaged.  This coin, with its slightly oxidized surfaces might be from a salvage, but it is full weight and attractive in its crude way, with strong centers on both sides.  With cobs in general, collectors will pay more for coins with complete or nearly complete center strikes.

This cob shows typical areas of strength and weakness in the strike, so even with the obverse date situated towards the coin's center, the last two numerals are muddled and weak, the last one really not visible.  For a while I though the date was 1665.  I am pretty sure that the third numeral is a 6.  With the help of Krause, that puts the coin in the period of 1663-1665.  



I think that I have one more cob, a shield type from Bogota that I need to photograph.

Next up will be the cobs of Mexico on file.


Edited by robinjojo
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  • Benefactor

Today I thought I'd move on to the mint of Mexico City, the oldest mint in the Americas, founded on May 11, 1535.  As such this mint has a rich legacy and longstanding impact on the economic and political history of Mexico, North America, Europe and much of the rest of the world.  

It is difficult, at least for me, to say which mint had the highest production of cobs, Mexico or Potosi?  It seems almost a dead heat in my view, as both mints had continuous production, without the interruptions experienced by Lima or the extremely sporadic production of Bogota and Cartagena, Colombia.  I guess I'd give the edge to Potosi, since cob production continued until 1773.  Mexico began ending cob production with the introduction of the milled pillar and waves coinage in 1732, with the last cob type appearing in 1734. 

Here are some of the main types of Mexican cobs that show up on the market.  I have other cobs that I will photograph and post in this thread.

The first pillars cobs, the "Charles and Johanna" type, in the denominations of 2, 4 and 8 reales began when the mint was established.  There are two distinct types: coins with waves and coins without waves. The latter are by far the rarer of the two varieties.  Only a very few 8 reales of the no waves design were produced, making these coins exceedingly rare as the first silver dollar produced in the Americas.  One example sold at auction for $373,750, the highest price ever paid for a Spanish colonial coin at the time.  It could still be the record.

My first Mexican cob, without waves, is far humbler, but it is a pretty one.

Mexico, Charles ,I 4 reales, No Date (1536-1538), Assayer R (Francisco del Rincon).  Purchased from Rick Ponterio.

KM-16; Nesmith-6c

13.47 grams



The pillars without waves design was modified to include waves around 1542, with production running until around 1571, when the shield design was adopted, replacing the pillars and waves, under Philip II.  Of the two pillars types, this design is far more common, although locating a nice example is no mean feat.

Mexico., Philip II, 4 reales, circa 1570, assayer L (Luis Rodriguez).

KM 0018

13.8 grams

The assayer can be found on this coin to the left of the shield.  The pillars and waves cobs, including the 1/2, 1, 2 and 4 reales cobs, can have mint marks and assayer marks in various positions.



Shield types (this basic design remained largely unaltered to the end of cob production)

Following the pillars cobs, silver production and mint capacity allowed for the reintroduction of 8 reales cobs.

Mexico, Philip II,8 reales, No Date (circa 1571-1578), Assayer O (Bernardo de Onate and Luis de Onate).  Purchased from Rick Ponterio.

KM 43

27.2 grams

Assayer O appears below the oM mint mark, to the left of the shield.  This will remain the assayer's position on cob coinage for 2, 4 and 8 reales for the duration of coinage, with a few minor exceptions.



Mexico, Philip III, 8 reales, No Date (1599-1607), Assayer F (Francisco de Morales).  Ex Richard Long 12-1982

KM 44.1

Seed coin for fake Philip III 8 reales, 

27.4 grams

The undated cobs of Philip II and Philip III are quite difficult to distinguish if not enough peripheral information is visible.  However, as a rule of thumb, the inner part of the central crown above the shield has vertical lines for Philip III.  Philip II cobs lack these lines. 


Another interesting aspect of this coin is that it was used as the seed coin, to produce the casting mold, for replica Philip III Mexico 8 reales cobs by a couple of brothers in Mexico City back in the 1960s.  These fakes sometimes surface, and they can be tricky to detect since they are often made of good silver.

Here is an example, courtesy of Daniel Sedwick.  Note how the flan cracks are filled in and not sharp, and overall detail is flat.  The color is also off, indicating lower silver content, as indeed the weight indicates.  Still, as copies the quality is not bad.

Fake Mexico Philip III 8 reales.

24.8 grams 



Dated coinage began in 1607.  The date, when visible, runs from roughly 9 o'clock to 11 o'clock, but that can vary.  Unlike Potosi, the Mexican cobs only have one position for the date, so if it is off the flan or poorly struck and illegible, you're out of luck.  Often times the date is only partially visible and muddled, leading one to engage in some detective work and an educated guess.

Mexico, Philip IV, 8 reales 1667, Assayer G over P.  Musi River Sumatra salvage.

KM 45

25.4 grams

As coinage under Philip IV progressed, the flans became less round, with some very "barrel" shaped.



The year 1665  saw the passing of Philip IV and the ascension of Charles II to the throne of Spain, under a regency for many years.  Mexico began to mint cobs with his name in 1667.  Over the years of his reign, the quality of the coinage declined dramatically.  Indeed his coinage is easily the crudest in every respect: oddly shaped flans, crude dies and often times horrendous strikes.

Mexico, Charles II, 8 reales, (166)9, Assayer G (Geronimo Baccera).  Purchased from the Mexican Coin Company

KM 46

26.7 grams



Here's a 4 reales of Charles II, Mexico, that has a flan shaped like a cat or some other animal.

Mexico, Charles II, 4 reales, date not visible (circa 1690s), Assayer (L).

KM 39

13.7 grams



While the early cobs of Philip V continued the trend for odd shaped flans, his later cobs became often square or rectangular shaped.  With is cobs comes the Bourbon shield of three fleur des Lis in the middle of the obverse shield.

Mexico, Philip V, 8 reales 1710, Assayer J (Jose Eustaquio de Leon).   A bird-shaped flan.  From Sedwick Treasure Auction 26, lot 405.

KM 47; S-M22; CT-unlisted

26.77 grams



Mexico, Philip V, 8 reales Philip, 1730, Assayer F (Felipe Rivas Angulo).  Acapulco Hoard.

KM 47a

27.06 grams

By the 1720s to early 1730s the flan became very square and chunky.  



Finally, for this post, is a final hybrid cob, a beautiful coin, that was produced for a couple of years 1733-1734, contemporaneously with the milled pillar waves coinage.  These coin are called "kilpped" cobs, due to the angular edges.  Indeed it is hard to tell if these coins were hand or machine struck.  The fans are irregular, similar to cobs, but the strikes are often so uniform, one can see how only a press was used.  The dies are unique to this type.  They were not used to produce milled coins

Mexico Philip V 8 reales, 1733 MF, 'klippe' type.  Ex Ponterio Auction,, COIN, June 1988.

KM 48

27.3 grams




I forgot to include my one 8 escudos from Mexico.  The old brain is going fast!

Mexico, Philip V, 8 escudos, 1713 J  (Jose Eustaquio de Leon).  Purchased at Long Beach, January 1990

KM 57.1




To bring this post full circle, here's a milled 1733 8 reales, the second year of the new design, actually a revival of the pillars and waves design of nearly 200 years prior.

Mexico, Philip V, 8 reales, 1733 F, milled pillars and waves, Marathon Florida find.  From the 1733 Fleet.

KM 103

25.70 grams

This coin, purchased over 20 years ago from Daniel Sedwick, is said to have been found under a nineteenth century building in the Florida Keys, at Marathon.  The small structure was and old wooden building about 14 feet by 20 feet.  The coin was lying in the sand underneath.





Edited by robinjojo
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