Cobs and Macuquinas from Potosi, Bolivia coins

Silver Cobs of Potosi, 1574-1773

Bolivian silver cobs

Potosi, BoliviaWhen it comes to silver cobs, no mint was more prolific than Potosi, Bolivia, where an entire mountain of silver was discovered in the early 1500s. It took a little while before authorities figured out that a mint was needed on site, where the silver was being mined, even though the extreme remoteness and elevation presented major problems that were never fully resolved. The most egregious problem, perhaps, was an almost lawless environment where silver barons controlled the government and took full advantage by owning and profiting from mint offices and even by debasing the silver itself, causing a major scandal that put the entire world on its financial ear in the mid-1600s. Up to that point Potosi struck shield-type cobs, some of which were then recalled and either melted or countermarked (to attest to proper fineness) in 1652. To rectify the whole system, a new design was begun in that year, starting with some "transitional" issues and culminating in the pillars-and-waves design that became a global mainstay again throughout the rest of the 1600s and most of the 1700s. In 1773 the last cob ever struck came off the press in Potosi, long since superseded by milled coins (begun there in 1767).

__________________________________________

Shield type: 8 reales | 4 reales | 2 reales | 1 reales | 1/2 reales | 1/4 reales

Pillars-and-waves: 8 reales | 4 reales | 2 reales | 1 reales | 1/2 reales

 

 

Potosi, Bolivia

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

Shield type 8 reales

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, Philip IV, assayer not visible (1640s), debased and underweight. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, Philip IV, assayer not visible (1640s), debased and underweight. 20.45 grams. Fascinating example of the type of coin that was wrecking the world economy and was eventually recalled (this one somehow overloooked), as it was clearly struck underweight (although part of the edge shows slight shaving, too) and the spaces around the details are loaded with a rusty layer of coppery oxidation and sediment, also typically crude in strike (off-center shield but good full cross), Fine or so. g041818221001 $240

      Back to top

Shield type 4 reales

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

      Back to top

Shield type 2 reales

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip III, assayer C, rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip III, assayer C, rare. Bold assayer, full but weaker shield and cross, Fine with surface corrosion (salvaged), patchy toning. g061604191049 $140
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip III, assayer C, rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip III, assayer C, rare. Corroded from salvage and silvery from cleaning, bold assayer and cross (slightly off-center), Fine or so overall. g061604191050 $135
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip IV, assayer T (1640s), quadrants of cross transposed. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip IV, assayer T (1640s), quadrants of cross transposed. 6.58 grams. Broad flan with full but doubled shield and cross (the latter with "furry" lions in incorrect quadrants), full assayer T, AVF. g051704191051 $115
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip IV, assayer P (1620s). Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip IV, assayer P (1620s). Bold P-dot-P, full but weak shield and cross, Fine+. g051704191047 $110
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, (164)9O, rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, (164)9O, rare. Full P-O and clear 9 of date, most of shield and cross despite flatness, somewhat silvery VF with toning in crevices. g061604284012 $195

      Back to top

Shield type 1 reales

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, Philip II, assayer B (3rd period). Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, Philip II, assayer B (3rd period). Thin, round flan with full but weak shield and cross and crown, full P-B, Fine+ with very light toning. g061604193021 $70
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, Philip II, assayer not visible (3rd-period B). Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, Philip II, assayer not visible (3rd-period B). Full cross and shield and nicely toned but with surface corrosion, Fine overall. g061604193033 $60
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1626T, rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1626T, rare. With clear bottoms of digits of date, this coin could easily be read as 1620 (as were similar specimens identifed by Sellschopp), but there is also a full P•T, which indicates post-1622, also nearly full shield and cross, Fine with toned fields. g061604191053 $195
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, (1649)O. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, (1649)O. Crude Fine with dark toning, good full cross, scarce. g061604193041 $60
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/2 real, Philip II, assayer B below monogram, mintmark P to left. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/2 real, Philip II, assayer B below monogram, mintmark P to left. 1.64 grams. Full monogram and cross, much legend, AVF with toning around details, holed at top of cross / bottom of monogram. g121703051047 $35

      Back to top

1/4 reales (Cuartillos)

      Back to top

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer R (Rincon) to right, mintmark P to left, rare, rainbow toned. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer R (Rincon) to right, mintmark P to left, rare, rainbow toned. g081504146017 $975
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer R (Rincon) to left, mintmark P to right, rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer R (Rincon) to left, mintmark P to right, rare. Richly toned AVF with full inner details, nearly full crowns and legends, broad flan, tiny hole near edge. g081504146018 $975
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer R (Rincon) to left, mintmark P to right, rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer R (Rincon) to left, mintmark P to right, rare. Broad flan but with small pieces of edge missing, AVF with full castle and R-P. good full lion (tall, standing), richly toned. g081504146019 $595
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer B  (1st period) to left, mintmark P to right, very rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer B (1st period) to left, mintmark P to right, very rare. Clear B-P flanking castle, early Seville-style lion and fine-dot borders, salvaged AVF with dark toning and chips in edge. g081504146021 $975
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer B  (5th period) to left, mintmark P to right, border of boxes on obverse, rare.

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer B (5th period) to left, mintmark P to right, border of boxes on obverse, rare. Lightly corroded surfaces (salvaged) but with clear B and lion.

g081504146026 $495
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer B  (5th period) to left, mintmark P to right, border of boxes on obverse, large castle, rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/4 real, Philip II, assayer B (5th period) to left, mintmark P to right, border of boxes on obverse, large castle, rare. Thin from salvage but with bold VF details (castle and lion, B-P), darkly toned. g081504146024 $495

      Back to top

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, (1652)E Transitional, McLean Type II. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, (1652)E Transitional, McLean Type II. Bold full pillars with F-I-IIII / PLV-SV-LTR / E-I-E, top half of shield (and full crown) with I-A-(P-5) to left and I-O-E-(2) to right, VF with toned fields, some flatness. g021704373001 $195
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, (1652)E Transitional, McLean Type II. Full pillars, most of shield, broad-flan but unevenly-struck Fine+ with dark toning in crevices, small hole at edge. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, (1652)E Transitional, McLean Type II. Full pillars, most of shield, broad-flan but unevenly-struck Fine+ with dark toning in crevices, small hole at edge. g021704373002 $95

 

      Back to top

Pillars-and-waves 8 reales

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1667E. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1667E. S-P37b; KM-26; CT-342. 27.91 grams. Good full cross with date below, full but partially flat pillars with clear date in legend, three assayers, darkly toned Fine+ with large edge-crack. g111604193021 $435
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1676E, Calbeto Plate Coin. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1676E, Calbeto Plate Coin. S-P37b; KM-26; CT-351. 25.84 grams. Very crude coin with low contrast due to dark toning and light surface corrosion (possibly from a wreck, otherwise Fine), but with two dates and mintmarks, three assayers, one nice crown, and desirable for its pedigree (this date considered rather scarce in Calbeto's time but now more common due to the Consolacion wreck of 1681). Plate Coin #1081 in Calbeto's Compendium VIII Reales (1970). g061604192019 $395
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1707Y. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1707Y. S-P43a; KM-31; CT-867. 26.84 grams. Chunky flan with full but doubled pillars and cross, toned Fine, three dates. g111604192003 $295
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1712Y. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1712Y. S-P43a; KM-31; CT-872. 26.34 grams. Good full cross, messy pillars on crude (chunky) flan, two dates (very scarce thus), VF for the era (sharp edges) with light toning all over. g061604192022 $295
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1712Y. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1712Y. S-P43a; KM-31; CT-872. 26.82 grams. Chunky and crude, with central details only, the pillars side doubled, but with two dates visible and traditionally scarce, technically no worse than AVF, nicely toned. g061604193067 $250
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1712Y. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1712Y. S-P43a; KM-31; CT-872. 26.01 grams. Very crude strike (chunky and mostly flat) but with clear date, About Fine with uneven toning and spots of green, scarce. g051704191062 $225
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1718Y. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1718Y. 26.53 grams. Broad flan (not so chunky as most) with decent cross and pillars but much peripheral flatness, bold but doubled main date and part of a second one in the legend, Fine+ with toning around details, parts of edge jagged (as made), scarce. g071218151003 $395
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1721Y. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1721Y. 26.83 grams. Full but mostly flat cross with clear date below, full but crudely doubled pillars, lightly toned Fine overall with sharp points on edge (hence probably technically higher grade). g071303806002 $295
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1737E. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1737E. 26.38 grams. Bold date and assayer and mintmark above full waves, nearly full but doubled cross, uneven toning and light surface corrosion, VF details. g081718051001 $240
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1745q. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1745q. S-P50; KM-31a; CT-909. 26.94 grams. Very chunky flan with crude but well-centered pillars and cross, bold date, Fine, deeply toned. g121604340001 $275
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1761V-Y-V. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales, 1761V-Y-V. S-P57; KM-45; CT-948. 26.97 grams. Chunky but round, with somewhat flat strike for the era yet with two clear dates and two bold assayers, AVF with patchy toning. From the Marco Gardini collection of Potosi cob 8 reales. g061604193070 $295

      Back to top

Pillars-and-waves 4 reales

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 4 reales, 1738M. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 4 reales, 1738M. S-P47; KM-30a; CT-1121. 13.25 grams. Toned Fine with crude strike (especially the cross) and flan (especially the edge) but with two full dates. g111604193026 $295
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 4 reales, 1744C. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 4 reales, 1744C. S-P49; KM-30a; CT-1129. 13.67 grams. Bold full cross (nicely toned), crude pillars-and-waves (uneven black patch) on a chunky flan, date and assayer clear (scarce), AVF. g111604193038 $295
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 4 reales, 1745(q). Potosi, Bolivia, cob 4 reales, 1745(q). S-P50; KM-30a; CT-1131. 13.69 grams. Interestingly diamond-shaped flan (still chunky as usual), good full pillars and cross, two dates, VF+. g061604191078 $495
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 4 reales, 1753q. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 4 reales, 1753q. S-P52; KM-39; CT-441. 13.67 grams. Full date over bold full waves (very scarce, missing in Sellschopp), very bold full cross, crude flan as usual but atypically high grade (XF), lightly toned. g061604191080 $435

      Back to top

Pillars-and-waves 2 reales

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1663E. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1663E. 6.37 grams. Salvaged VF with light surface corrosion but technically full pillars-and-waves and cross, clear date. g051704191080 $110
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1665E. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1665E. 4.78 grams. Crude flan with bold waves and tops of pillars, off-center cross, lightly corroded Fine with flat spots. g061604284005 $110
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip IV, assayer E (1660s). Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, Philip IV, assayer E (1660s). 6.03 grams. Good full cross and pillars but flat on dates, naturally crude edge, non-toned VF. g061604284008 $90
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1674E. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1674E. 7.32 grams. Full cross and pillars, two dates, solid VF but with lots of dark toning and staining and verdigris (needs cleaning). g061504191115 $165
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1676E. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1676E. 6.35 grams. Good full cross, full but off-center pillars, two clear dates and mintmarks and assayers, lightly toned VF with small edge-split. g051604275001 $195
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1676E. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1676E. 8.16 grams. Bold date below and bold P to left of nearly full cross, full but off-center pillars with flatness, Fine with nice toning, oddly overweight. g111602161004 $175
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1686VR. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1686VR. S-P40; KM-24; CT-617. 6.17 grams. One pillar full and choice, off-center cross, two bold dates, king's ordinal II, AXF with spotty toning. g061604191081 $165
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1745q. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1745q. 6.93 grams. Nice but off-center full cross, full but encrusted pillars, darkly toned VF. g011607201001 $175
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1747q. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1747q. 6.91 grams. Good full pillars with bold date, good but off-center cross, oblong flan, nicely toned VF+. g011607201003 $195
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1748/7q, rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1748/7q, rare. 6.29 grams. Full pillars with bold date showing clear 8/7 (first we have seen), bold but incomplete cross with second date below (lacking the overdate), nicely toned AVF. g051704191107 $195
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1755q. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1755q. 5.71 grams. Clear date, bold assayer, toned but very worn (AVG). g071513031012 $65
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1767(V-Y). Potosi, Bolivia, cob 2 reales, 1767(V-Y). 6.60 grams. Crude chunky flan with very sharp points (hence high grade, like XF for actual wear), full cross, unevenly toned. g061604284009 $85

      Back to top

Pillars-and-waves 1 reales

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1684V. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1684V. 2.89 grams. Good full pillars and cross, VF+ with hairline edge-split, three assayers. g061604191135 $75
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1718Y. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1718Y. 3.88 grams. Toned About Fine with clear date, much flatness. g061604191137 $65
Potosí, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1726Y, (Louis I), rare. Potosí, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1726Y, (Louis I), rare. 2.96 grams. Somewhat lustrous VF with a couple small black spots but otherwise non-toned, most of cross, nearly full pillars-and-waves, two dates. g121703051028 $45
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1773(V-Y). Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1 real, 1773(V-Y). 3.38 grams. Toned Fine with surface encrustation, fairly clear date (desirable final date of cobs), oversized cross. g121703051043 $40

      Back to top

Pillars-and-waves 1/2 reales

Image Preview

(Click image to enlarge)

Description

Item #

Price

Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/2 real, (1654), P•H at top, 1/4R flan (unique). Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/2 real, (1654), P•H at top, 1/4R flan (unique). Good cross, full crown above P•H but monogram off the flan (poorly centered), very small flan (thin) that appears to be for a 1/4 real (which did not exist this late), VF with light toning. g081504146031 $395
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/2 real, 1656 (date in legend), distinctive monogram superimposed on cross with 4 dots, rare. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/2 real, 1656 (date in legend), distinctive monogram superimposed on cross with 4 dots, rare. Broad enough flan to show bottoms of all four digits of date in cross-side legend, good cross but messy (doubled) monogram, richly old-toned Fine with hole. g061504192014 $95
Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/2 real, 1744. Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/2 real, 1744. Bold date (possibly 4/3), incomplete monogram and cross, Fine with patchy toning. g061604191149 $50

      Back to top

Buy The Practical Book of Cobs

Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC

P.O. BOX 1964 | Winter Park, Florida 32790

Phone: 407.975.3325  |  Fax: 407.975.3327

 

Click here to contact us

 

We welcome your order, want lists, comments, material for sale or consignment and suggestions.