June’s Treasure of the Month has been chosen because of a recent distinction bestowed on it by the Fleet Society. Before we describe this item, a little background is necessary. The State of Florida owns a vast collection of Spanish Colonial coins salvaged from shipwrecks in Florida’s waters. It is the largest such collection in the United States.
In December of 2015, the Fleet Society was granted permission by the Bureau of Archaeological Research to post some images online. The images were of a select group of Mexico eight reales from Florida’s Collection of Spanish Colonial coins. What was so special about this group was that each coin bore either a full or partial 1715 date.
These coins were selected by the Bureau of Archaeological Research for that reason. In the end, a total of 105 Mexico eight reales from the State of Florida Collection were found to have either a full or partial 1715 date. After posting the 105 coins, several Fleet Society members decided to examine them with the objective of deciding which stood out as exhibiting the best full and complete date. (A fully and completely dated specimen is de ned as a coin wherein all of the individual numerals of the date are fully visible.) All the coins were reviewed, and the coins with the best dates were then segregated.
There were a number of specimens that exhibited full and complete dates. However, from that assemblage, one stood out as the best dated 1715 Mexico eight reales in the State of Florida Collection. That coin is identified in the State catalog as # 72A.013.000176.0062 (Click images for larger view).
Weighing in at a hefty 26.38 g, this coin shows an especially strong four-digit date, with every digit sharp and clear. It is estimated that only 2 percent of all silver coins found on the Fleet wrecks have any trace of a date. The percentage of fully and completed dated coins is a small fraction of that.
For those interested, the runner-up in this contest can be found at catalog # 72A.013.000174.0027 (also a hefty coin at 26.62 g).
We have included a close up comparison of our choice as best dated 1715 Mexico eight reales (catalog number 72A.013.000176.0062) and our runner up (catalog number72A.013.000174.0027). One can see that each coin exhibits a full and complete date. However, the first digit on the coin to the right, although complete, is slightly weaker than the other digits of the date. The coin to the left (our choice) exhibits four digits which are strong and sharply struck (with some minor doubling on the “5”).
Either way, we believe that our choice for June’s Treasure of the Month is appropriate. It’s the best full and complete dated 1715 Fleet Mexico eight reales in the entire State of Florida Collection!
Ben Costello, Director, 1715 Fleet Society
To see additional full and complete 1715 dated Mexico eight reales visit our research collection.