In cooperation with the 1715 Fleet Society and its 300th Anniversary Commemoration of the loss of this famous Spanish fleet, Cover Coins, whenever possible over the next six issues, will be selected from the Society’s website study set. First up is this ruggedly handsome piece-of-eight minted at the Potosí facility and described on the 1715FleetSociety.com site as follows…
“Coin Description: From the 1715 Fleet, a choice Potosí 8 Reales. About 2.5% of the reales recovered from the Fleet came from this Peruvian mint. The pillar side of the coin shows both El Perú 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, CAROLVS, 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 13 years. The crowned Jerusalem cross is sharp and well centered. The stylized lions of León 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 crack—Potosi was given to cold-striking its silver. All in all, a very choice Fleet Potosí 8 Reales.”
OBVERSE: At the compass points of the cross side, we see the Hapsburg crown (North); the date “87” (South); the mint mark “P” (West); and the assayer’s initials “VR” at the East. “CAROLVS” of the peripheral legend is quite prominent, as are the Lions and Castles in the quarters of the cross.
REVERSE: In the crosshatch of the “pillars and waves” we can see part of two diagonally-opposed mint marks “P”; opposed assayer monograms “VR”; the denomination “8”; and the date “87”. Across the center of the crosshatch some of the motto (P)LV || SVL || (TRA) is visible. Additionally, (P)OTOS(I) and (E)L PERV of the legend may easily be read. This “keeper” measures 34mm in the major diameter and weighs 26.3 grams. —ER