Our Treasure of the Month for October is this beautiful (and extremely rare) two escudos gold piece from the old Spanish colonial mint of Santa Fe de Bogota located in Columbia. There is a fascinating history behind this coin and it is provided to us by Fleet Society member Dann Jacobus (#92) who is the proud owner of our featured treasure. Here is his story:
“Back in early May of this year, I acquired (in Vero Beach) an undated two escudos gold piece which was produced at the old Spanish colonial mint located in Santa Fe de Bogota. I purchased it because it was a wonderful crisp strike, nicely centered cross and marvelous detail to the shield side. When I got home I showed it to my wife and wanting to know a little more about the coin, I took out my copy of Lasser & Restrepo’s “The Cob Coinage of Colombia”. Anyone familiar with the book can appreciate the quality photos – they are in fact mostly 100% to scale. Flipping through the pages, we got to page 89 and there was a photo that looked pretty close to my coin. What a surprise when it actually turned out to be my new coin. Listed as Type M79, it features CAROLVS on the obverse and PHILIPPVS on the reverse. And at the time of the books printing in 2000, it stated, “only one specimen known”. At that point, I began getting curious.
When I purchased the coin, along with it’s new certificate, it also came with a Mel Fisher photo certificate dated February 2008. So at this point, there was an 11 year spread between my purchase and the Fisher certificate. I read through my auction catalogs to see if the coin had changed hands. Then, I found it had been auctioned at the NY 2005 Ponterio auction in NYC, lot # 849, where it was highlighted as Extremely Fine and Extremely Rare. Assayer attribution was Buenaventura de Arce with a circa date of 1701/1702.
Going further, I read an article on Daniel Sedwick’s webpage written for the July 1985 Numismatist by Dr. Frank Sedwick entitled “In Search of Colombian Cobs”. In that article, a caption under the photos of the coin states “Error discovered by Ernest Richards”. I wrote to Dan Sedwick and he generously offered some insights. Seems two similar coins with dual monarchs have come to light and passed through two Daniel Sedwick Treasure Auctions. Dan also attributed the date to 1702.
The coin is also a plate coin in Krause/Mishler “Standard Catalog of World Coins” and in R. Friedberg’s “Gold Coins of the World”. I am thinking that maybe a few others of this type have come to light since it’s first appearance in Frank Sedwick’s Numismatist article back in 1985. It seems it’s a well traveled coin but it’s back here in Vero now where it’ll stay for a little while.”
Our thanks to Fleet Society member Dann Jacobus for providing the text and images for this months post.