For everyone who has dreamed of discovering a treasure chest of gold, silver and gemstones – perhaps the loot of a swashbuckling pirate of the Caribbean – take heart because this is the real thing.
Spanish conquistadors and missionaries flocked to the americas in search of wealth or in hopes of spreading the gospel in the new world. Most of the mineral wealth they could gather was melted and turned into coins, which were struck, loaded onto ships, and sent across the atlantic ocean to the king of Spain. Because of the haste from mine to mint, to shipping, and the crudity of the technology of the times, the detail of the coins is rarely clear. These historic coins are known to Collectors as “cobs”, an abbreviation of the spanish term “Cabo de Barra,” meaning cut from the end of the bar. Although often unclear because of the ragged shape, the front features a cross that ranges from a plain cross to one with bars on the end, known as a “Jerusalem cross.” The reverse depicts the crest of either the Hapsburgs or the Bourbons, powerful european families who ruled in Spain.
Gold coins were referred to as doubloons. The term doubloon originally came from the word double for a two Escudo coin. A common working man, in the 17th century, had to work one month to earn one piece of eight.