A tremendous quantity of silver coinage sailed in the hulls of the 1715 Fleet. By themselves the Capitana and Almiranta of Ubilla’s Nueva Espana Flota carried 2390 chests of Mexican cob reales at 3000 pesos per chest. Over the last 50 years the State of Florida has amassed an amazing collection of 22,000 cob reales (92% Mexican cobs).
Dr. Alan Craig has studied this collection and in 2000 published an excellent monograph on collection. But many spectacular examples of 1715 Fleet silver cobs remain in private hands and unstudied. One of the goals the 1715 Fleet Society has set for itself is to publish on this website a sample of the finest Fleet silver cobs known to us in private hands. Dated and undated specimens (eight, four, two and one reales) will be featured.
The majority of the reales will naturally be from Mexico City, but Lima and Potosi will not be neglected—Echeverz’s Squadron, remember, came with treasure from Panama and Cartagena. Most dated specimens will be Mexican Philip V reales from the 1711-1715 era, but Fleet Mexican and Peruvian reales have been recovered from the reign of Carlos II (1665-1700) and even his predecessor Philip IV (1622-1665). We hope to have this project mostly completed by the tercentenary.
“Important Notice – The coins appearing in these photographs are not owned by the 1715 Fleet Society. Many of the coins in the 1715 Research Collection have been photographed and made available through the generosity of private collectors. The 1715 Fleet Society appreciates the support of these private collectors and welcomes any loans others might make to increase the size of the 1715 Research Collection. All rights are reserved to the individual owners of the photographs of these coins. Please contact us for proper permissions and licensing clearances before making commercial use of these photographs. You are welcome to link to our fine collection but please use proper attribution.”
The Plate Coin
No Research Collection focusing on cob coinage of the 1715 Fleet would be complete without mentioning what has come to be known as the “Plate Coin”. This coin is recognized as the finest known example of a full and complete date 1715 Mexico eight reales known to exist. The Plate Coin was chosen by members of the Real Eight Company for the Company stationary. Real Eight members searched through thousands of coins before choosing the coin depicted below.
The Company wanted to find a coin dated 1715 since that was the year that the Fleet was destroyed in a violent hurricane. There is little doubt why this particular coin was chosen. The 1715 date is strong, bold and complete. Additionally it has a full “OMJ”. The reverse has a well centered cross with visible lions and castles, although the lions and castles are not complete. The obverse is what makes this coin so striking. With its pleasing shape, weight and hammer marks, it is truly a one of a kind piece. Chosen specifically for its date there are certainly none better.