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So José Cobs Defined

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Home Products > Coin Jewelry So José Cobs Defined Additional Information

Treasure coin

Cobs are the original "treasure coins."  Struck and trimmed by hand in the 1500s through 1700s at Spanish mints throughout South America, silver and gold cobs are handsomely crude, nearly all with a cross as the central feature on one side and either a coat-of-arms (shield) or a tic-tac-toe-like "pillars and waves" on the other side. Silver cobs are known as "reales" and gold cobs are known as "escudos," with two 8 reales (about 27 grams each) equaling one escudo. Some cobs were struck with a date, and most show a mintmark and an initial or monogram for the assayer, the mint official who was responsible for weight and fineness. Size and shape were immaterial, which means that most cobs are far from round or uniform in thickness. Cobs were generally accepted as good currency all around the world, and were the exact coins referred to as "pieces of eight" (8 reales) and "doubloons" (any gold cobs but originally 2 escudos.)

The Anatomy of a Cob
How is a cob made?  
These coins are created by forming slabs of silver and alloy into long rolls of irregular thickness. These rolls, while still warm, would be sliced with metal shears or a chisel to form blanks or planchets. Depending on the mint, these blank slices were snipped to form basic round shapes. Since this process was done by hand and much guesswork, many coins had flat edges from the trimming process. The leftover snips were collected and re-melted and used again. Due to this rudimentary process, no two cobs look exactly alike.
Design Attributes
Design attributes

What drives value?
Detail – More detail on the coin directly relates to a higher value. 
Rarity – Level of detail is critical in determining rarity which is driven by many different coin characteristics. Locations of mint and assayer marks, full dates, double assayer marks and die errors are just some examples.

Provenance & Authenticity – Important for coins that carry historical significance.  Proving a coin’s background and authenticity is a critical component and will greatly increase the value.



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