Amy sent us this picture of her neat old coin from Bolivia. It is a cob coin, made by hand striking a disk of silver lopped off the end of a silver rod, and it bears the name of King Charles (Carolus) II of Spain, who reigned from 1665 to 1700. Amy's coin also sports a small circular countermark with a mountains-and-sun pattern common to Bolivian and Peruvian coins.
Such coins are intensely interesting. Genuine specimens are eagerly sougth by experienced collectors. They belong to a major subclass of collectible coins known as Spanish Colonials, i.e., coins minted under the Spanish flag by mints in New World colonies.
Probably the best known expert, worldwide, on Spanish Colonials is Daniel Sedwick of Sedwick Coins in Winter Park, Florida. He has coins like Amy's on his web site for sale in the neighborhood of $100 to $300 US dollars. Click to this page for an example. That is the retail price range. Selling your coin to a dealer generally brings about one-half retail.
Amy's coin has problems, however. First, the hole drilled through it represents severe damage and lowers value substantially. Second, the coin has been cleaned or polished with silver polish. This is pretty common for old, crusty coins, but it lowers value. But the biggest problem is that Amy's coin is a counterfeit, worth zero. Old cobs are heavily counterfeited and sold at high premiums to unsuspecting buyers. If you are unsure of authenticity:
DO NOT BUY COB COINS FROM DEALERS YOU DO NOT KNOW
It takes an expert to properly authenticate cob coins. If you are not an expert, seek one out. Daniel Sedwick has a terrific online database of fake cobs that you can consult easily.
At CoinQuest we are far from experts on Spanish Colonials. We contacted Mr. Sedwick to ask his opinion of Amy's coin. Here is his reply:
Yeah, it's a fake -- see the attached photo of its (uncleaned) twin that we own, and also note the very low weight (16 grams). For future reference, always ask for the weight first: When the design details are accurate, as they are on this example, then the only way it could be done is by casting from a genuine example, which makes for a lower weight. I am sure you would see evidence of casting if you had the coin in your hand too, but if all you have is a photo, get the weight too.
Daniel Frank Sedwick
P.O. Box 1964
Winter Park, FL 32790