Mexico. "Royal" 8 Escudos, 1714-Mo-J

Mexico. "Royal" 8 Escudos, 1714-Mo-J. Fr --; cf. KM World Coins, 1700-1800, p. 753; Grove 888. 26.94 grams Philip V, 1700-1746. Crowned arms, value of VIII in field. Reverse: Cross within quadrilobe, angled scepters. Trivial planchet flaw below date, otherwise remarkable centering and strike. Excessively rare. One of the finest known examples. NGC graded MS-65. . This coin the plate coin in Krause, Mishler, et al., Standard Catalogue of World Gold Coins, Fourth Edition, Iola, Wisconsin 20000; "Mexico," p. 756. Combined in this coin is the "classic" Spanish, and Spanish colonial gold coin. The usual idea of Mexico's "treasure" coins are the crudely struck, thin-flan early coins, or the slightly later, and truly wretched "cob" coinage of the 17th and 18th centuries. Here one sees what a coin from a mineral-rich realm, belonging to a still-significant world power, should look like. Impersonal, and "anonymous," in that there are no portraits displayed, the insignia-laden shield bespeaks of ancient tradition and royal bearing, the large cross implies divine right, and above all, the coin's size and material speak most emphatically of power. Spain had started making milled coins in 1586, beginning with the Segovia mint, and then off and on with varying quality. By the end of the 17th century, a major portion was being mechanically struck. Such was not the case with the colonies. In Mexico, it wasn't until the 1730's that milled coinage became a regular feature. Thus the "royal," or presentation strikes. These were struck on specially selected, round planchets with special dies - the dies not necessarily having the same designs and inscriptions as those coins of the same date and mintmark in the regular coinage. Some of the better specimens may have well been sent to Spain so that the king could see for himself what fine handiwork was being done at the various mints. On the other hand, for this issue there might be another reason. In 1714 Philip V, who was the first Bourbon king of Spain and a grandson of Louis XIV of France, married the ambitious and strong-willed Elizabeth Farnese as his second consort and queen. Coins such as these might have been among the gifts from the various colonial government seats that were assuredly bestowed on the "happy" newly-wed couple.