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Plus Ultra Cover Coin – 2nd Quarter 2013

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

The “queen” of 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet coins —in my estimation— is the fully-dated 8-escudo Mexican piece of 1714. The “king”, of course, would be a fully-dated 8E issued from that mint in 1715. The real royalty in this series would be a crisp 1714 or 1715 gold presentation piece from the Mexico City mint, which is commonly called a “royal” anyway. Our Cover Coin this time is a choice specimen of the Mexican workmanship of 1714, the fully-struck date being located well within the edge of the planchet. In fact, if it were not for the weight adjustments on the perimeter of this piece, it could have become a “royal.” [Oops, wrong reverse die for that…!]

Besides the full date, a full and bold oMJ and the denomination VIII are bracketing a perfect shield. Some of the Crown and PHILIPPVS, and all of DEI • G • 1714 •, are present in the legend. A centered Cross, with Fleurs in its quarters and surrounded by the four-lobed Tressure of the period, dominate the reverse, where parts of HISPANIARVM, INDIARVM, and REX are visible in the peripheral legend.

Lot #6 in Sedwick’s “Treasure, World & US Coin Auction #13”, its catalog description reads: “Mexico City, Mexico, 1714J, from the 1715 Fleet. S-M30; KM-57.2; CT-108. 26.8 grams. Full date, oMJ, shield and denomination, also full cross-and-tressure, all well-centered and high grade (Mint State). From the 1715 Fleet.” Estimated At: 10,000 – 15,000 USD, this piece brought the seller $11,000 and the house $1,925 for a total price of $12,925. Congrats to the lucky bidder! — EJR

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