Out of the 2016 F.U.N. Coin Convention —this year held in Tampa, FL— comes this very interesting 8-reales piece. One of 70-some eights and fours which arrived at the FUN Show for sale … with links to Real-8 founder, Kip Wagner (1906 – 1972) was instrumental in the formation of the team that later became the Real Eight Company and one of the greatest salvage groups that ever explored the 1715 Fleet wrecks. He ... (see page-6) … this piece-of-eight is extremely appreciated by its new owner, Ben Costello of Washington, PA.
It is a full-weight, undated coin with very little in the way of a strike on the obverse. But … its field is quite covered with “hammer marks”, a feature highly desirable to high-end collectors as being representative of the manufacturing practices of the 17th- and 18th-centuries at Spanish colonial mints.
The coin’s planchet had been hammered to such an extreme that only a small area of its face across the center was raised enough to accept the intended obverse strike. This left the piece with scant markings for identification, yet to the trained eye it reveals enough detail to classify it as having been struck in 1714 at Mexico City. (Details of the shield’s style, the oM mint mark, and part of the “4” of the date can be discerned.)
The “flip” side of this “keeper” of a coin displays enough of the cross to confirm it as the typical “flowered cross” of the Mexican mint, despite most of the reverse perimeter being void of any more detail.
Further adding to its value are the several “go-withs” which came with the coin: a certificate of authenticity signed by Kip Wagner (1906 – 1972) was instrumental in the formation of the team that later became the Real Eight Company and one of the greatest salvage groups that ever explored the 1715 Fleet wrecks. He ...; the book, “Pieces of Eight”, signed by Wagner and nine of his crew; and an assortment of Real-8 pamphlets … plus, plus, plus! Such historic artifacts were also purchased by several other collectors at the FUN Show that I missed! —EJR