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Spain Spanish Colonial Silver Cob Coin  1570 to 1780
Spain Spanish Colonial Silver Cob Coin 1570 to 1780

Exploring the New World, Spain soon discovered plenteous deposits of gold and silver. To export the precious metal to Spain quickly, the colonial mints produced irregular coinage called cobs. A bar of silver was cut into bite-sized chunks of the appropriate weight, and then struck with a hammer between crude dies. The size, shape and impression of these cobs is highly irregular, but they were the proper weight. Often only a small portion of the image on the die was impressed on the silver. See our page about Spanish Colonial coins for a thorough description of these fascinating pieces.

The most important feature of any cob coin is the date. If your cob has an intact date, it is worth much more than a cob where the date was never imprinted on the piece of silver. The values remain basically unchanged with date; the presence or absence of a date is what matters.

Loading the cobs onto gallion sailing ships, they headed up the coast of Florida before turning east toward Spain. With no Weather Channel at their disposal, hurricanes often sunk the ships and the cobs became treasure coins. To this day people still use metal detectors along the beach to uncover these cobs of gold and silver. It is a lot of fun, and really fun when you find one!

Many collectors enjoy these coins and are willing to pay premium value over raw precious metal content. The coin in the photo is in marginal condition and would probably fetch $80 US dollars or so in retail value. Prices go as low as $20 for crude, uninteresting specimens. The coin catalogs indicate typical values for cobs as shown below.

The front side of these coins look approximately the same, with a Jerusalem cross. The back side varies (at least in general appearance) with the specific Spanish colony in the New World.

WITH DATE SHOWING: 1/2 REAL (1.7 grams, about 14 mm diameter)
crude: $80 US dollars approximate catalog value
well preserved: $250

WITH DATE SHOWING: 1 REAL (3.4 grams, about 18 mm diameter)
crude: $100
well preserved: $300

WITH DATE SHOWING: 2 REALES (6.8 grams, about 22 mm diameter)
crude: $140
well preserved: $400

WITH DATE SHOWING: 4 REALES (13.5 grams, about 26 mm diameter)
crude: $220
well preserved: $650

WITH DATE SHOWING: 8 REALES (27.1 grams, about 32 mm diameter)
crude: $200
well preserved: $650

WITHOUT DATE:
1/2 real: $60
1 real: $40
2 reales: $100
4 reales: $160
8 reales: $120

If you have an old cob in good condition with clear dates and markings, seek out a knowledgable collector or coin dealer to get an accurate estimate of value. CoinQuest provides only very approximate guidance.

These are catalog values. Use our Important Terminology page to gain an understanding about catalog value.

Coin: 1673 , Genre: Colonizers and Colonies
Requested by: jr, Sun, 25-Oct-2009 22:46:19 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Mon, 30-Jun-2014 15:47:40 GMT
Updated by CoinQuest. Appraisal ok., Mon, 30-Jun-2014 15:47:40 GMT
Requester description: its is a shipwreck coin i got in florida
Tags: spain spanish colonial colony silver cob espana spainish hispan espanas hispanirvm spanich hispana espania espa hisp espanola colonies cobs shipwreck treasure i florida sunk sunken wreck atocha cross fisher fisherman fishery fishing coat arms shield coats crests insignia crest creast

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Sun, 26-Oct-2014 03:38:31 GMT, unknown: 809261