A Wonderful NEW WORLD Columbian GOLD 2 Escudos "COB" Professionally set in an 18K Gold Bezel
A Wonderful NEW WORLD Columbian GOLD 2 Escudos "COB" Professionally set in an 18K Gold Bezel.
The coin was most likely recovered from the CAPITANA (wrecked in 1654 off of Chanduy, Ecuador) or the Nuestra Senora de las MARAVILLAS, a Spanish ship that wrecked off of Grand Bahama Island in 1656. The other possibility (but unlikely) the 1715 Plate Fleet that wrecked along the East Coast of Florida.
MINT - "R" or "NR" or "RN" (Nuevo Reino de Granada, New Kingdom of Granada, the name of the region, Bogota', Columbia.
ASSAYER - nv. or "R", Pedro Ramos (Principal assayer for 2 escudos coins recovered from the Maravillas, sunk in 1656). The assayer and mint mark alternated and were located on both sides of the shield. Ref. see p. 138 THE PRACTICAL BOOK OF COBS 20th Anniversary Edition by Daniel Sedwick and Frank Sedwick. c. 2007.
DATE - nv., circa. 1627-1635 ?, pre 1656. Ref. see p. 127-128, THE PRACTICAL BOOK OF COBS 20th Anniversary Edition by Daniel Sedwick and Frank Sedwick. c. 2007., C7 illustration noting the mint mark of "R" or "RN" or "NR".
REIGN - PHILIP IV (1621- 1665)
GRADE - I
NOTE - It is important to note that Bogota' was the first mint in the NEW WORLD authorized to make 1 and 2 escudos gold coins. The mint did not produce 4 and 8 escudos until the year 1743. The new mint in Columbia was established in 1620 and started production of "cobs" in 1622 and started with the mintmark "S", then "RN" (Vertically), then "NR" (Horizontally or vertically), then "NR" (Horizontally or vertically with small o's above the N and R), then starting in 1717 "NR" (Monogram with or without a small o above), then "SF", backwards "FS", "S" alone, or "F" alone (all Santa Fe). It is noted that Bogota' 1 and 2 escudos minted between 1701-1715 period typically bear neither mintmark nor assayer initial. Ref. see, THE PRACTICAL BOOK OF COBS 20th Anniversary Edition by Daniel Sedwick and Frank Sedwick. c. 2007.
The coin has been professionally set in an 18K gold bezel.
WEIGHT - 11.9 grams total weight. COIN = 6.7 grams. BEZEL = 5.2 grams of 18K gold.
HISTORY REGARDING THE Capitana SHIPWRECK -
Capitana (Jesús María de la Limpia Concepción), sunk in 1654 off Chanduy, Ecuador
This wreck was the largest loss ever experienced by the Spanish South Seas (Pacific) Fleet, of which the Jesus María de la Limpia Concepción was the Capitana (“captain’s ship” or lead vessel) in 1654. Official records reported the loss of 3 million pesos of silver (2,212 ingots, 216 chests of coins, and 22 boxes of wrought silver), augmented to a total of as much as 10 million pesos when contraband and private consignments were taken into account. By comparison, the entire annual silver production in Peru at that time was only about 6-7 million pesos !
Obviously overloaded, the Capitana sank technically due to pilot error, which drove the ship onto the reefs south of the peninsula known as Punta Santa Elena, a geographic feature the pilot thought he had cleared. Twenty people died in the disaster. For eight years afterward, Spanish salvagers officially recovered over 3 million pesos of coins and bullion (with probably much more recovered off the record), leaving only an unreachable lower section for divers to find in our time. Ironically, the main salvager of the Capitana in the 1650s and early 1660s was none other than the ship’s silvermaster, Bernardo de Campos, who was responsible for the ship’s being overloaded with contraband in the first place.
The wreck was rediscovered in the mid-1990s and salvaged (completely, according to some) in 1997. After a 50-50 split with the Ecuadorian government in 1998, investors sold most of their half of the more than 5,000 coins recovered at auction in 1999. Almost exclusively Potosí 8 and 4 reales, the coins were a healthy mix of countermarked issues of 1649-1652, transitional issues of 1652, and post-transitional pillars-and-waves cobs of 1653-1654, many in excellent condition and expertly conserved.
As an interesting footnote, the very coins salvaged from the Capitana by the Spanish in 1654 were lost again on the Maravillas wreck of 1656 (see next), and some of those coins salvaged from the Maravillas were lost again in the wreck of the salvage vessel Madama do Brasil off Gorda Cay (Bahamas) in 1657. Furthering Spain’s woes was the destruction of another treasure fleet in 1657 by English marauders fresh from a victory in the Bay of Cádiz off Santa Cruz on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
Ref. Daniel Sedwick's website www.sedwickcoins.com (2023)
HISTORY REGARDING THE Maravillas SHIPWRECK -
Maravillas, sunk in 1656 off Grand Bahama Island
As the almiranta of the homebound Spanish fleet in January of 1656, the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas was officially filled with over five million pesos of treasure (and probably much more in contraband, as was usually the case). That treasure included much of the silver salvaged from the South Seas Fleet’s Capitana of 1654 that wrecked on Chanduy Reef off Ecuador (see above). The ill-fated treasure sank once again when the Maravillas unexpectedly ran into shallow water and was subsequently rammed by one of the other ships of its fleet, forcing the captain to try to ground the Maravillas on a nearby reef on Little Bahama Bank off Grand Bahama Island. In the ensuing chaos, exacerbated by strong winds, most of the 650 people on board died in the night, and the wreckage scattered. Spanish salvagers soon recovered almost half a million pesos of treasure, followed by more recoveries over the next several decades, yet with over half of the official cargo still unfound.
The first rediscovery of the Maravillas in the twentieth century was by Robert Marx and his company Seafinders in 1972, whose finds were featured in an auction by Schulman in New York in 1974. Included among the coins in this sale were some previously unknown Cartagena silver cobs of 1655 and countermarked Potosí coinage of 1649-1651 and 1652 transitional coins, in addition to many Mexican silver cobs and a few Bogotá cob 2 escudos. The second big salvage effort on the Maravillas was achieved by Herbert Humphreys and his company Marex in the late 1980s and early 1990s, resulting in two big sales by Christie’s (London) in 1992 and 1993, which featured many Bogotá cob 2 escudos, more Mexico and Potosí silver cobs, and several important artifacts. The most recent big sale of Maravillas finds, presumably from one of the many salvage efforts from the 1970s and 1980s, took place in California in 2005, again with a good quantity of Bogotá cob 2escudos. The wreck area is still being searched today, but officially the Bahamian government has not granted any leases on the site since the early 1990s. It is possible the bulk of the treasure is still to be found.
Ref. Daniel Sedwick's website www.sedwickcoins.com (2023)
UPDATED - 2019 - The Bahamian Government granted AllenX a salvage license and its leader, Philanthropist and explorer Carl Allen has taken on the project and has been recovering fabulous treasure and artifacts. 2023.
Ref. Photo from the Smithsonian Magazine article July 31, 2022.