Spanish 8 Reale Cob (Philip IV, 1621-1665 ?)
Spanish Colonial Mexico, 8 Reale Cob. N.D.
Based on the partially visible mintmark on the left of the Hapsburg shield on the obverse of the cob, this piece was stamped in the Mexico mint. The reverse shows the distinctive Jerusalem cross with a ball at each extremity which confirms that the piece was produced at the Mexico mint. The absence of any assayer's initials or date on the obverse side makes it difficult to date the period of stamping, but our assumption is that it dates from the period of the Philip IV (1621-1665).
Weight: 27.8 grams
(1) (Combined character, in relief, 5-6 mm): 68
(2) 王 (Wang, in relief, diameter 3-4 mm ): Last name
(3) 凡 (Fang, in intaglio, diameter 4-5 mm): Ordinary
(4) 木 (Mu, by engraving, length 6-7 mm): Wood
(5) (Symbol, in relief, 3-4 mm)
(6) (Symbol, in intaglio, < 2mm)
The chop of , that combines two words, i.e., and , is stamped on the cob 4 times. Obviously, some one tried to deliver an important message by repeating the stamp.
and were both written in the traditional commercial script. Their meanings are respectively "6" and "8". My belief is that the character combining these two words was meant to indicate that this cob has a silver content of 6 maces and 8 candareens (6.8 maces or 0.68 tael). This character chop is therefore an assaying chop.
The weight of an 8 reale cob was about 7 maces and 2 candareens in the Chinese weighing system, but because the fineness of a cob was usually lower than that of the fine silver circulated in China, merchants had to melt it down and recast it as Chinese sycee. As a result, the value of a cob was determined by the weight of its silver content, rather than the weight of the cob.
Given the above, the piece shown, with a weight of 8 reales or 7.2 maces, and a fineness of 94.44%, was recognized by Chinese merchants as having the same silver content as a sycee of 6.8 maces with the customary fineness of 100%.
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