Little compares to the excitement of seeing a piece of Mexico City Mint Royal coinage cross the block. Most all Royal pieces are quite rare. Some dates appear more often than others, some rarely come up for sale at all, but the general rule of thumb is to never let an example slip by without making an attempt at acquisition.
In November, Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC’s Auction 28 presented an 8 Escudo Royal, the last date of the KM-R57.1 type issued in the name of Philip V with the “MXo” mintmark. This Royal 1713 MXo J 8 Escudos is a brilliant piece, graded MS-66 by NGC. Bearing a respected provenance from its long time in the Isaac Rudman collection, this piece is one of only two known examples of this date and denomination. As the finer of the two, it is not a shock that it sold well above its base estimate, closing for $396,000 including fees. I’m sure that everyone in the cob collecting world was watching or participating.
I say cob collectors because in essence Royals and cobs originate from the same source. In this case the Mexico City Mint. However, their production is eminently different as anyone can tell simply by looking at the coins comparatively.
In basic terms, a cob is struck on a rough-cut, uneven planchet whose only purpose is to measure at the specified weight and fineness. The dies used to strike cobs are often rather crudely cut and, though they have certain style characteristics, their overall quality is indicative of the speed with which they were created. Cobs were produced in mass quantities primarily for shipment of the wealth of the new world back to Spain.
Royals, on the other hand, were produced with a great deal of care and precision. The die-makers were allowed proper time to create little works of art. The planchets were cut round and made to a uniform thickness to display the entire extent of the die makers’ art and allow for full strikes. Likely made for special presentation, Royals were and remain limited, beautiful and rare.
While parts of legends and designs are visible on cobs, the entire design and full legends are on display with a Royal. It’s not a case of apples and oranges’ it’s more like Ferraris and Fords. Both can be durable, collectible and valuable, but the Ferrari is, in addition, gorgeous.
That’s just the basics of cobs and Royals. If you want to learn more, I suggest adding to your library a copy of The Practical Book of Cobs by Daniel and Frank Sedwick, now in its fourth edition. You can buy a copy directly from Sedwick’s website. This leads us back around to the Royal at hand, which sold in Daniel Frank Sedwick Auction 28 in November.
“This was our first offering of a Royal cob 8 escudos and we’re very pleased with the result,” said Daniel Frank Sedwick, president and founder of the company. “Strong collector interest and energetic bidding confirmed this coin’s place as a pinnacle of Spanish colonial numismatics.”
Daniel Frank Sedwick’s knowledgeable staff provided this background:
“The over 300-year history for this coin stretches back to its striking at the Mexico City Mint during the reign of King Philip V. Shortly after being minted, the coin was loaded on to one of eleven ships in the combined Tierra Firme and New Spain fleets leaving Havana, Cuba for Spain. The fleet’s destruction during a hurricane off the east coast of Florida in July of 1715 scattered the fleet’s treasure. Although some of it was recovered by Spanish authorities and pirates in the area, much of it was lost for over 200 years. In August of 1998, salvage diver Clyde Kuntz found this 1713 Royal 8 escudos along with another dated 1698 during work on the Corrigan’s wreck site of the 1715 Fleet. Shortly after its recovery, this coin was acquired by renowned numismatist Isaac Rudman and kept in his collection for some time.”
Overall, Auction 28 realized more than $3.4 million, a new record for Daniel Frank Sedwick. While the Royal 8 Escudos was a grand focal point of the sale, there were many other significant coins that caused a stir.
Here are a few of the highlights, with prices including the buyer’s premium: Lot 22, a Mexico City, Mexico, gold cob 8 escudos, 1714J, struck from Royal dies, graded NGC MS-65 and designated as being from the 1715 Fleet, sold for $54,000 on a $35,000 and up estimate. Lot 598, a Potosi, Bolivia, silver cob 8 reales Royal, 1669E, graded NGC AU-58 Star, sold for $48,000 on an estimate of $25,000 and up. Lot 1176, a Seville, Spain, gold 8 escudos, 1729P, graded NGC MS-62, sold for $42,000 on an estimate of $10,000 and up. Lot 921, a Nassau-Weilburg (German States), silver taler, 1812-L/CT, with a possibly unique pairing of an “old bust” obverse and “young bust” reverse, graded NGC MS-61 Prooflike, sold for $31,200 on a $1,000 and up estimate. For this piece I also recommend reading two articles from the December 2020 and January 2021 issues of World Coin News, which report a European sale of a similar die pairing, with similar results.
Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC’s next auction will be held in May of 2021. Consignments are currently being accepted for that sale through February of 2021; interested consignors can email the firm at firstname.lastname@example.org.