Plus Ultra Cover Coin – 1st Quarter 2011

Welcome to our newest regular feature from the archives of the Plus Ultra Newsletter. The Plus Ultra Newsletter was published from 1983 until 2016 and was at the time considered by many to be the leading authority on all things related to the 1715 Fleet. A regular feature of each issue was the “Cover Coin” which was highlighted on the cover of each issue. Along with the coin was a short paragraph or two explaining the significance of the coin. We are indeed pleased to be able to present this “Cover Coin” from the annals of the Plus Ultra Newsletter.

For more information about the Plus Ultra Newsletter and other publications by Ernie Richards, visit En Rada Publications at

In his efforts to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the sinking of King Philip V’s Spanish treasure fleet of 1715 off Florida’s coast, Ben Costello (Washington, PA) incorporated these “royal” gold issues into his latest coffee mug design (see p. 4). Not one to waste (personal) energy, as long as I had dug out photos of these two special pieces and overlaid the obverses in color for Ben, I also did likewise for the reverses … and the two groupings became this issue’s Cover Coins! You may have seen these 8- and 4- escudo pieces before, but not on PLVS VLTRA covers … they accompanied an article within our hallowed pages called “A ‘Royal’ Treasure” in the 3rd-Quarter 1987 issue. The story, as told by Bob Weller, is of his Pandion crew’s recovery of these two gold gems from the Douglass Beach (Ft. Pierce) wreck site. Diver Bob Luyendyk found the 8 escudos on July 3rd; Margaret Weller recovered the 4 escudos nine days later…not far from where Luyendyk had brought up the 8E. Read or re-read the exciting account.

The obverses (photo) are posed to allow the two dates to be seen: 1712 on the 8E and 1711 on the 4E. Both pieces display the oXMJ mint mark-assayer notation left of the shields and the denominations in Roman characters VIII and IIII, respectively, to the right. The crosslet-cross (with an elaborate tressure) of those years graces the reverses of these proof/presentation pieces, and the legends, beginning on the obverse, read: PHILIPPVS • DEI • G • 1712 • … HISPANIARVM ET INDIARVM REX. Of course, the 4R legend differs in the date (1711). It is quite an honor for this pair of “royals” to be selected as representatives of the fabulous treasures being remembered for the upcoming 300th Anniversary festivities in 2015. — EJR

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