Authentic Spanish Silver Cob - 2 Reales - Cross & Shield design

Denomination: 2 Reales

Mint: Mexico City

Assayer: Not Visible

Weight: 6.83 grams

Reign: Philip Ill 1598-1621

The Royal Mint at Mexico City was the very first Spanish Mint to open under the Crown of Spain in the year 1536. The Mint is unique that it had its very own cross, seen here, and is depicted with a fleur-de-lis motif at the end of each perpendicular arm. This cross is known as La Cruz Florenzada, or the Florenzada Cross. Depicted in each quadrant are the Lions of Leon and the Castles of Castile, Leon and Castile being two provinces which were unified under the marriage of Isabela and Ferdinand I in 1474. Under the following reign of Carlos and Johanna (1504-1556), the first minted coins of the Americas appeared. No dates were struck on Mexican coins prior to the year 1607. The design seen here, the Cross and Shield, would reign dominant at the Mexican Mint. The only Mexican coins that were not of this shield design were the very early Carlos and Johanna Pillar and Wave coins of the early 16th century. At the beginning of the 18th century, Mexican silver coins were more crudely struck as Spain was desperate for the arrival of their treasure, and concern for aesthetics took a backseat. Quality and care was exchanged for rapid production at the Royal Mints of the New World, and in the 1700's, Mexican coins took on a more rectangular shape rather than the uniform, rounded species of the early New World minting processes. The Mexican silver coins were of this shield design until the invention of the Screw Press Mechanism, developed in 1732. These new Pillar Dollars were not struck by hand, but machine pressed to make near perfect coins. What makes a silver hand struck coin such as this coin so unique is that no two hand-struck coins are ever alike.