item was shown to me by Louis Hudson. It is 23.8 grams, and has obviously
been cut off the end of a bar. The Roman numerals XV and the three
dots indicate 15.75 carat fineness. The crowned C must refer to Charles
I of Spain, who else? The item was recovered off Grand Bahama in
1992, from the wreck of the Tumbaga. About ten other gold pieces
were found with it. Many were not marked at all, but some were reported
to bear bear assay marks indicating fineness as low as 9 carats. Pradeau
mentioned a 1528 statute requiring the re-assaying and stamping of circulating
gold with the weight and fineness along with the royal arms and the motto
PLUS ULTRA. This piece, then, would be legal according to the 1526
statute, but not that of 1528. It can be nothing other than an example
of the first gold coinage of the Americas. Under the royal stamps
is Montezuma's treasure.
This is probably the most exciting piece of numis
I have ever held in my hand. Here are two pieces of writing about
description from Dan Sedwick's catalog when he owned it, along with another
article about similar items from the 17th century
recent article on the conquest of Mexico from the May, 1998 World Coin
Although I don't own the item, it is for sale.
Get in touch if you're interested and well to do.