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Plus Ultra Cover Coin – 2nd Quarter 2012

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

Featuring strikes by the “royal” dies of 1714, this “gem” was offered in the Sedwick “Treasure and World Coin Auction 11” held on April 10-11, 2012. A “cob” coin by definition, this piece missed its royal destiny by virtue of its “cobby” planchet. Let your mind wander: perhaps it was a test piece for the fancier cross and tressure intended (or used) on the presentation pieces of that year. The textured lobes of the quatrefoil tressure and the floral extensions of the fleurs-de-lis at the junctions are like those seen on the “royals” of 1714 and 1715. The obverse strike exhibits an essentially 100% crown and shield, while the thicker (and narrower) planchet disallowed a complete legend. A full date (1714) and a portion of “PHILIPPVS” are quite visible in the periphery of the piece, though not much else made the strike. The floral punctuation and crown are also of the1714 design, with the “periods” being visible bracketing the date, mint/assayer marks, and the denomination.

Our reverse displays the well-centered cross and tressure ensemble described above, while much of the reverse-side legend is off planchet or lost in the beveled edges of the coin. However, a partial (readable) HISPANIARVM ET INDIARVM may be discerned with ease. The catalog description read, in part: LOT-3: “Mexico City, Mexico, cob 8 escudos, 1714J, Royal dies (special ornamentation), extremely rare, from the 1715 Fleet, plate coin in The Practical Book of Cobs. S-M30; KM-57.2 (for type); CT-unlisted. 27.1 grams. For reasons that are still uncertain to us, in 1714 the Mexican mint experimented with the designs of the 8 escudos, creating some rare, one-year varieties … Estimated At: 15,000—30,000 USD” This piece cost its new owner $48,875, incl. 15% buyer fee! —EJR

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