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Mexican Silver Piece of Eight Expected to Fetch over Half Million Dollars at Auction
Numismatic auction house Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC is announcing that an example of Mexico's first 8 reales (the first silver dollar of the New World) will be sold at auction on November 6 in Orlando, FL.. Pre-auction est. is $500,000-$1 Million
"We cannot overstress the importance of this auction, both for the history of Mexico and the larger field of North American numismatics,"
The coin up for sale was minted in 1538, during the joint Spanish reign of Charles I and his mother Joanna, in the private residence of Hernan Cortes himself, who at the time was still exploring the territory after the Conquest. This coin is widely acknowledged as the first dollar-sized coin struck in the New World and is one of only three known, all of which were found on a shipwreck in the early 1990s. Prior to that find these coins were considered conjectural, for testimony in 1545 said they were made only briefly, and with considerable difficulty, around two years after the commencement of coining in Mexico City.
Two of the three coins found on the shipwreck have been sold at auction already, in 2006 and 2008, before it was known with certainty that only three existed. Those coins sold in the range of $300,000-$400,000, one of them corroded and deemed inferior, and the better specimen held down in price by false suspicions of further examples. This is the first time the third specimen has been offered publicly.
Company Vice President Agustin Garcia-Barneche stresses that the market in 2006-2008 was not as healthy as it is today. "We already have several interested parties with money at the ready."
"The wild card will be the US-dollar collector community," says Cori Sedwick Downing, the company's Administrative Manager and author of the NLG award-winning article "The Charles and Joanna Coinage of Mexico City, 1536-1571." "An example of the first dollar struck in the US in 1794 just sold for $10 million last year, and our 'true first dollar' is actually rarer and more historically important."
Unlike the 1794 dollar, of which over 100 examples are known, the Mexican "first dollar" is not represented in any museums anywhere in the world, even ones with significant numismatic holdings like the Smithsonian in the US, the Banco de Mexico in Mexico City or the Museo Arqueológico de España in Madrid.
"Only three people or institutions, at most, can own a specimen of this highly important coin," emphasizes Sedwick, "and opportunities like this are as rare as the coins themselves."
Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC will hold the live floor auction on Thursday, November 6, 2014, at the DoubleTree Hotel Lake Buena Vista at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Lot viewing will be available the day before the auction at the hotel as well as at two coin shows around the US: The U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona, October 16-18; and the Whitman Baltimore Coin & Currency Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, October 30-November 2.
Lot viewing will also be available by private appointment at Sedwick's office in Winter Park, Florida, with a minimum of 72 hours' notice.
Printed catalogs will be available for order on Sedwick's website, http://www.sedwickcoins.com. For more details about the auction, including hotel reservations, please call 407-975-3325 or email office(at)sedwickcoins(