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May 2024 – Treasure of the Month

May’s Treasure of the Month is this exceptional group of eight reales and four reales silver coins (also known as “cobs”) from the Spanish colonial mint at Mexico City. What makes this grouping so special is that each coin bears a full date and is sequentially dated from 1712 to 1715. It is estimated that perhaps only 1 or 2 per cent of all Mexico cob coinage salvaged from the wreck sites of the 1715 Fleet were, in fact, dated. Of those that were dated a significant number had only partial dates, and not all four digits. Each coin of our featured treasure has what most collectors consider to be a “full date”. But what does that mean? 

The Fleet Society has developed its own classification when it comes to dated Fleet silver. These classifications consist of 1. Full Date Complete. 2. Full Date Incomplete. 3. Partial Date, fourth digit visible and 4. Partial Date, fourth digit not visible.  

A coin that is considered to be Full Date Complete must have four digits that are individually complete. If any part of any digit is not complete then it would be designated a Full Date Incomplete. Below is a prime example of a Full Date Complete Coin. Each individual digit is sharp and clear and can stand alone. Below are examples of Full Date Complete and Full Date Incomplete coins. 

1715 Full Date Complete eight reales from the Mexico City mint.

The 1715 dated eight reales (below) has a very sharp “715” but a partially obliterated “1” which keeps it from the Full and Complete designation. The four reales has four digits which clearly identifies it as a 1715 dated coin, but regrettably, the top half of the “715” has been cut off and the “1” is barely there. 

1715 Full Date Incomplete eight and four reales.

The 1714 dated eight and four reales are also examples of Full Date Incomplete coins. Notice how the very top point of the “4” on the eight reales  is not visible. This is apparent when comparing this digit to the very sharp “4” located on the four reales coin beside it. The four reales is also a Full Date Incomplete when examining the first digit “1”. The base of this digit is not clear and appears to blend in with the outer edge of the obverse shield. While a good argument can be made that both of these dates are Full Date Complete, we conclude otherwise. 

1714 Full Date Incomplete eight and four reales.

The 1713 dated eight and four reales are the clearest examples of Full Date Complete coins that we have in this group. The eight reales date is sharp and clear with every digit independent. The four reales likewise exhibits four digits that are all clearly complete.  

 1713 Full Date Complete eight and four reales.

The 1712 dated eight and four reales have full dates but exhibit some slight detriments that keep them from being Full Date Complete coins. Environmental factors interfere with the sharpness of the date  on the eight reales giving it a rather mottled appearance. The “1” on the four reales  has an incomplete base  and the “2” is also flat and incomplete. 

1712 Full Date Incomplete eight and four reales.

For more examples of Full Date Complete and Full Date Incomplete cob coinage see our Research Collection.

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