G.M. writes: Dear Doc, A friend of mine was visiting his Grandmother’s 16th century Hacienda near Guadalahara, Mexico over Christmas, and by accident discovered a hidey-hole in an adobe brick pillar in the courtyard. In the hole was an old leather purse containing 8 identical coins that appeared to be gold. A test proved that they at least aren’t 14kt. Maybe 10k or alloyed. They are in varying stages of wear, from absolutely mint to somewhat worn. THE DESCRIPTION: 38mm Dia./2.5mm thick/Reeded edge On side; Cross surrounded by three outlines with the inscription “*HISPAN*ARUM*REX*(WHAT LOOKS TO BE A CROSS IN A BOX OVERSCORED)(MINTMARK?)*F(ASSAYER?)*4(DENOMINATION?REALES/ESCUDOS?)*1724 OTHER SIDE; de Bourbon Spanish Coat-of-Arms topped with a crown(no cross on top) and a lamb hanging from a cross at the bottom. This is surrounded by what appear to be double chain links separated by flowers, all surrounded by the inscription “*LUDOVICUS*I*DEI*GRA*.
I have no reason to doubt my friend’s story, and from all the research I’ve done, it seems to be some sort of coin/medallion commemorating the Coronation of Louis I (17 year old son of Phillip V who died eight months after succeeding his father). If the coin is original, I can’t seem to find anything about it anywhere. Before he brought it to me, some jackass coin dealer kept it for a week, then said he couldn’t find any info on it, but offered him $3500 for it. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated, even if it is just a point in right direction.
Coins of Luis I are extremely rare. You are describing a 1724, 8 Escudos from the Segovia Mint (assayer F). This is a one year issue, only 8 and 4 escudos were struck in that year under Luis.
There are several problems with your coin:
- 38 mm is the approximate diameter of an 8 escudos. They weigh 27.07 grams and are .917 gold (22 Kt).
- 4 escudos are about 25 mm in diameter and weigh 13.54 grams and are .917 gold.
- 8 or 4 escudos do not have reeded edges, that would be anachronistic for this period but they do have an edge decoration.
Note that these coins were a part of an intrinsic monetary system, that is, the gold (or silver) was money. You can’t have a coin that is below or above the above standards and still be a 4 or 8 escudos. Note also, if the coin is genuine, cleaning, making edge cuts for testing or other alteration will substantially reduce its value.
Genuine Segovia 4 or 8 Escudos dated 1724 can bring as much as $100,000 when offered for sale at auction. Counterfeits in base metal that have been gold plated, abound. You might weigh your coin and see if it meets the above standards. You can also send the coin for authentication and certification. (See Grading Services on the CoinSite Links page.