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A wonderful Potosi 8 reales cob, probably from the Piedmont (1795)


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Just arrived today...

I have been "off" Spanish colonial coins for a few years now, having directed or redirected my obsession to ancient coins, but every now and then I revert to my old form, mostly through the auctions of Daniel Sedwick, whose semiannual treasure auctions are a highlight for collectors in this field, and whose myriad offerings are often accompanied with very healthy hammer prices!  

This cob came by way of eBay. 

Potosi, Charles II, 8 reales, (16)79 C over E.  Likely salvaged from the Piedmont (1795).

KM 26

25.88 grams



While obviously a salvaged coin, it still retains excellent central "tic tac toe" design detail on the obverse and a very nice cross/lions/castles on the reverse.  Additionally, I think this coin has the assayer letter C over an earlier letter, E, most visible under the lower left C on the obverse.  The corrosion, as such, is not intrusive.  For those who like their cobs in nice grade and unmolested by excessive cleaning, as is the case, unfortunately, with coins from the Atocha and other shipwrecks, this coin punches the ticket!

I think this coin came from the British ship Piedmont.  Daniel Sedwick notes in his reference The Practical Book of Cobs that coins from this salvage tend to have a dark gray coloration. 

There is one other possible shipwreck, the Consolacion (1681) which sank off the coast of Ecuador.  However the vast number of coins from that salvage are heavily corroded and over-cleaned.  My theory about this heavier corrosion is that the coins were immersed in water of higher salinity and probably were less protected on the ocean floor over an extended period.   Here is one such example (not my coin):

Consolacion Coins, Pirate Treasure Coins

The story of the Piedmont is an interesting one.  The Spanish colonial coins carried by that ship are thought to have been treasure recovered or captured by the British over a century earlier and subsequently stored at the Bank of England.  The Piedmont was part of fleet of 300 ships sent to suppress a French uprising in the West Indies.  The fleet encountered a hurricane on November 18, 1795.  Seeking shelter in Lyme Bay, on the Dorset coast, ships were scattered by the storm and many sank, including the Piedmont.  Salvors call this wreck the Lyme Bay Wreck. 

Now I don't have any documentation that the OP coin is actually from the Piedmont, but it is fun to speculate about these things, and anyways, it is a very nice example.


I forgot to include a tattered slip of paper that came with the coin.



Edited by robinjojo
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@robinjojo That's a nice looking, and interesting coin. I collect Spanish colonial coins. I have 3 silver cobs from the New World, and 1 milled silver piece of eight from the New World from 1793. 1 of these days, I'm going to take photos of all of them. Currently, I only have decent photos of 1 of them, the oldest. Here it is. I've been following the Sedwick auctions since 2019. I agree, that Sedwick is the premier auction for Spanish colonial coins. I have Sedwick's book. And I agree, that the hammer prices are often quite high. My coin, pictured below, I won at a Sedwick auction, and it's the most expensive coin in my collection. The other 2 silver cobs, I bought at local coin shows, for approximately $100 each. They are from the 1700s from the Mexico mint. I used to shop on Ebay for cobs, until I discovered Sedwick. I like the fact, that Sedwick seems to be very good at identifying fakes. However, I may try Ebay again someday. I'd like to have a pillars and waves cob, such as yours, but I've never found 1, that was under my maximum allowed dollars per coin, which met my requirements. There are some very good Youtube videos, about cobs. Especially good, are some cob videos by a guy named "CaptainMyCaptain".



Spain. Philip II. Silver 8 Reales "Piece Of Eight". Minted 1589 AD To 1591 AD. Potosi Mint (In What Is Now Bolivia). Assayer RL. Maximum Diameter 37.7 mm. Weight 27.20 grams. Paoletti 97. Sedwick P13. KM 5.1.

Edited by sand
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