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December 2023 – Treasure of the Month

For our December Treasure of the Month, we usually showcase an item that we would like to find under our Christmas tree. This year is no different. Our featured item is this most unusual 1713 dated Mexico eight reales from the Spanish colonial mint at Mexico City. The coin is accompanied by a Real Eight Company Certificate of Authenticity signed by Bob Johnson. Bob became a member of the Real Eight Company in 1964. According to Robert Westrick who did the first serious work on the evolution of 1715 Fleet certificates of authenticity the certificate here is a Type I Certificate which he describes as follows:

“The earliest certificates were printed on tan paper and featured a maroon or burgundy colored frame and lettering over a mahogany red background. It also contained the silhouette of an 18th century Spanish galleon inside a 2 ½ – inch square box. The outline of the accompanying coin was often traced over the galleon illustration. The lack of contracting color shades makes this certificate more difficult to perceive and distinguish the smaller font text from the similar colored background. These certificates measure 8 ½ x 11 inches.”

(See Westrick, R. (2020). The Treasure of 1715: A Guide to the Official Certificates of Authenticity, Galleon Research Group, LLC.)

What makes this coin and certificate different is that the coin, rather than being traced or outlined on the certificate, is actually “cut” into the certificate to become a part of it. This is something we have never seen before, so we reached out to our resident expert Frank Noga (Member #1) to see if over the years he has ever encountered a certificate with an imbedded coin before. After some discussion he indicated that he had never seen such a certificate before. He surmised that a prior owner decided to cut the outline of the coin onto the certificate and then mounted it on a cardboard base prior to framing. Also, the certificate is faded which is an indication that it has been framed for quite some time as fading does occur when these documents are exposed to sunlight after the framing process.

It occurred to us that this may actually be the first “slabbed” silver coin from the 1715 Fleet. Although not officially graded and incapsulated by a grading service, there is no doubt that as it is currently mounted it is a genuine certified coin from the 1715 Fleet which is nestled gently into the frame, much like a slabbed coin. What possessed someone to come up with this arrangement will never be known. There is no doubt that it is certainly unique and may be a one-of-a-kind article. It is precisely why we certainly would like to find this item with our name on it on Christmas morning.

For other Fleet related Christmas gifts see our Treasure of the Month for December 2011, December 2014, December 2016, December 2019, December 2020 and December 2021.

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