January 2013 Treasure of the Month

From the 1715 Fleet, a choice Potosí eight reales. About 2.3 percent of the reales recovered from the Fleet come from this Peruvian mint. The pillar side of the coin shows both El Peru and most of Potosí in the legend. The assayer is Pedro de Villar, VR in monogram. The (16)87 date is very bold. The cross-side legend has the king’s name in full, CAROLUS, something rarely seen on silver cobs. The unfortunate Carlos II, last of the Hapsburg monarchs in Spain, was 26 years old in 1687 and destined to live another thirteen years. The crowned Jerusalem cross is sharp and well centered. The stylized lions of Leon look like Aztec warriors. Little or no corrosion, but maybe a little Cabin Wreck tar near the edge on the cross side. Typical large striking cracks are evident as Potosí was given to cold striking its silver. All in all, a very choice Fleet Potosí eight reales.

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