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Eight real coin from Mexico, excavated from the wreck site of the VERGULDE DRAECK

Date: 1653
Overall: 24.3 g, 42 mm
Medium: Silver
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transferred from Australian Netherlands Committee on Old Dutch Shipwrecks
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Coin
Object No: 00048864
Place Manufactured:México
Related Place:Ledge Point,

User Terms

    This 1653 eight reales coin is one of several hundred objects recovered from the wreck of the VERGULDE DRAECK, a Dutch East India Company vessel wrecked off the West Australian coast in 1656.
    It bears a cross with lions and castles in the four quadrants on the obverse and was minted in Mexico. The reverse depicts a shield representing the Spanish Empire. This coin is a cob, produced by cutting bars of silver into appropriate weights and then stamping them. The irregular shape and inconsistent quality of the stamping is common to cob coinage of this period.

    SignificanceAssociated with the oldest Dutch shipwreck discovered on the Australian coast this silver coin is representative of European presence near the Australian continent in the 17th century.
    HistoryThe eight reales coin originated in the Spanish colonies of South America during the sixteenth century. In an effort to export the silver of the New World back to Spain quickly, the colonial mints produced irregular coinage called cobs. These were made from a bar of silver cut into pieces of the appropriate weight and stamped with official insignia. This production method resulted in cobs of various sizes, shapes and with inconsistent impressions.
    Once in Spain, some cobs were melted down to produce other silver items, however many found their way into circulation and were commonly used in trade. It was not uncommon for cobs to be clipped, reducing the weight and value of the piece. The crude production of these coins meant that such practices were hard to stop.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Eight real coin from Mexico, excavated from the wreck site of the VERGULDE DRAECK

    Assigned title: Eight real coin from Mexico

    Collection title: ANCODS (Australian Netherlands Committee on Old Dutch Shipwrecks) collection

    Related Sites Ledge Point

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