Coins & Money

Latin American Colonial & Shipwreck Coins Command Attention at Auction

A Long Island collection of Latin American coins probably reads like an oxymoron as two very different locations. A collection that resembled long lost buried treasure from an era of great wooden sailing ships does better to capture the interest of serious collectors that aren’t just in search of rare coins. The collection sold on March 27 (2022) in a Heritage Auctions event. This featured Laton American coins back to and after their own colonial periods.

What made the collection most significant were the low population of examples for each coin. While comparison sales are rare we did find a couple provided by Heritage Auctions. Whereas various nationalities of gold and silver were once protected from pirates, collectors showed they had interest when compared to previous auction sales.

The very low population coins that made up the Long Island Collection of Latin American Coins included many which have only single digit populations. That scarcity is a key driver of value in coins just like it is in most other aspects within collectibles.

Collectors Dashboard evaluates high-end collectibles as an alternative asset class. Are rare coins from Latin America attracting the same capital that could have been invested into stocks or bonds? Some of the coins from this Heritage Auctions event cost thousands of dollars, which means that heavily devoted numismatists may have to compete directly against investors who are just looking make a profit down the road.

The high sale of the entire auction was a Philip II Cob Real ND (1582-1583) Bo-AP Clipped NGC authenticated coin that was not part of the 1585 Santiago shipwreck. This coin was instead recovered in the Rimac River in Peru, according to Heritage Auctions. The coin sold for $25,200.00 after 43 bids on March 27, 2022. It was 1 of only 3 Panama minted Reals in NGC census. The new owner was shown to be open to offers of $37,800.00 or more.

Collectors Dashboard wanted to feature other examples that sold in this auction. Images herein have all been provided by Heritage Auctions and included NGC Photo Vision. We have featured the prices that were seen in bidding early on in the auction as well as the final realized prices.

Sombrerete de Vargas Ferdinand VII “Royalist” 8 Reales 1810 VF30 NGC. The coin is a coveted first year issue of Sombrerete War of Independence 8 Reales from Mexico. The bid was $8,250.00 after 27 bids on March 23, 2022. The coin sold for $12,000.00 after 29 bids on March 27, 2022. According to the NGC population guide provided by Heritage Auctions there are only three examples that have been graded in this condition by NGC and they represented 50% of the known graded examples total. Heritage Auctions sold a VF20 example on January 7, 2013 for $3,525.00 after 8 bids.

Philip V gold Cob 2 Escudos 1715 Mo-J UNC Details (Environmental Damage) NGC. The coin was minted in Mexico City and had a bid of $6,750.00 after 14 bids on March 23, 2022. The coin sold for $11,400.00 on March 27, 2022 after 20 bids. The total population in all grades for NGC is only two examples.

Ferdinand VI gold Cob 8 Escudos 1748 L-R AU Details (Mount Removed) NGC. According to Heritage Auctions the dark crevices suggest possible salvage, which when imagining years in a tropical sandy environment only adds to the character. The coin had a bid of $6,500.00 after 13 bids on March 23, 2022. The coin sold for $7,800.00 on March 27, 2022 after 14 bids. This was the only known AU details graded example by NGC.

Ferdinand VI gold Cob 8 Escudos 1750 L-R AU55 NGC, Lima mint had a bid of $6,500.00 on March 23, 2022. The coin sold for $13,200.00 on March 27, 2022 after 28 bids. This coin was the last year of Peruvian gold Cobs. According to Heritage, the coin is double-dated and well centered, with slight doubling that does not interfere with the clarity of the devices. Though not in Sotheby’s March 1993 catalog of the Uruguayan Treasure of the Río de la Plata (the La Luz shipwreck), the dark crevices suggest it likely came from the wreck, with reportedly very few examples of this date and denomination recovered. Heritage Auctions sold an NGC AU58 of this coin for $5,520.00 on August 15, 2019.

British Colony Jose I gold contemporary counterfeit “Coconut Wreck” 6400 Reis 1776-R XF (clipped) example from the Rio De Janeiro Mint. The coin had a bid of $6,250 after 18 bids on March 23, 2022 — and it sold for $10,200.00 on March 27, 2022 after 22 bids. The coin was listed as #7 from 13 recovered from the wreck. A near visually identical example listed as #6 from the same 13 in VF condition was titled Jose I gold Contemporary Counterfeit “Coconut Wreck” 6400 Reis 1762-R VF example from the Rio De Janeiro Mint and sold for $4,080.00 on March 27, 2022 after 28 bids. Nicknamed the “Piña Colada wreck” and “Atlantic Target Expedition wreck,” the wood vessel was loaded with coconuts, hence the name given by Stack’s in the original 2008 sale. 1300 silver coins were retrieved from a chest, along with an ornate gold box that contained 13 gold coins wrapped in a newspaper dated August 6, 1809. The example offered is number #7 from the 13 recovered, with original salvors tag. The differences between example #6 and #7 highlight collectors’ desire to own the finest known examples.