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Mystery coin - old Spanish? Help!


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I got this one in a group lot containing mostly small, old silver coins. It looks like a Spanish "cob" coin of some sort but I am having difficulty finding more exact information.

The maximum diameter is 21.38mm, and the weight is 3.00 grams. (Weighed by me.)

I'm also wondering if it is genuine since there are a couple poor "replica" or "fantasy" coins in the lot as well - this one seems fine as far as I can tell but I'm not experienced enough to be able to know for sure.



Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!


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I was advised to contact Daniel Sedwick about it - he is probably the foremost expert on this type of coinage - so I sent him an email with photos and here is what he had to say:

"Looks OK [as far as authenticity] and your description [Felipe II one-reale] is accurate, Seville mint (Spain). Might be clipped or shaved around the edge. Not very high in value."

Wow! I am pretty happy about that! This would date it from 1556 to 1598. Not bad for a group lot find!


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Your coin looks like a one reale, Spain, Seville.  The assayer below the "S" on the reverse is very hard to discern, but it might be a 'B".  That's a shot in the dark.  The coin has no apparent date.  With this hammered type, when dated during the reign of Philip II the date was on the obverse, usually to the right and running parallel to the shield. Eventually the date was moved to the reverse around the 12 o'clock position.  So, I think your coin is one of the undated types, Seville Mint.

During Philip II's reign, starting in 1586, machine-struck coins were produced at Segovia.  Segovia, noted for its famous Roman aqueduct, is situated near a reliable source of water to power the presses that produced roller die coins, all the way up to the formattable 50 and 100 reales coins.

This coin was struck in 1590, two years following Spain's failed attempt to invade England.  Note the reverse date and "three dimensional" castles and the detailed Roman aqueduct on the obverse to the left of the shield.  The dies were German made.

Davenport 8478

27 grams




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On 8/19/2022 at 11:33 PM, CPK said:

One question: does the word "cob" refer only to Spanish colonial coins of this type, or does it apply to all of them, including those struck in Spain itself?

It's only colonial coinage. 'Cob' refers to the bar these colonial coins were cut from, giving them their distinctive look. But I think I'm right in saying 'cob' isn't what anyone Spanish-speaking would call them anyway - they called them macuquina, itself a New World name. Cob was the English word for the coins, which were used in English colonies.

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  • 2 months later...

The English word "cob" is derived from the Spanish word cabo, meaning "end". "Cobs" are coins struck on blanks roughly cut from the end of a bar of metal. Spanish mints, both in the Americas and in Europe, needed to produce coins more quickly than could be accomplished by carefully preparing round flans. My experience is that the term is applied equally to Spanish coins produced by this method in Mexico, Potosi, Seville and elsewhere. A search for "Seville cob" brings up more than 1,400 results at acsearch, mostly from Sedwick. For better or worse, if Dan Sedwick says a coin is a "cob", it's a cob - at least as far as the hobby is concerned. It may well be that Spanish collectors use macuquina only for coins of American mints.


Image courtesy Tauler and Fau, described as "monedas macuquinas".

Edited by DLTcoins
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