NGC Certifies Colombian Gold Rarity

Posted on 2/21/2003

One of Just Five Known

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation has certified an extremely rare example of the first gold coin minted in the Americas. Struck by the mint at Cartagena, in what is now the nation of Colombia, this fabulous rarity is one of just five examples known.

Valued at two escudos, this gold coin is dated 1622. Though coined during the reign of Spain’s King Phillip IV, the long trip to the New World occasioned such delay that this specimen bears the titles of Phillip III. Graded AU-58 by NGC, this specimen is exceedingly well struck for a cob coin, and most of its legends are distinct.

The rare Colombian coin was submitted to NGC by dealer Ron Karp of New York Gold Mart. “It’s an honor to join the short but eminent roster of owners of this issue,” Karp noted, “even if only briefly.” He added that the four other known examples are effectively impounded in well established collections in both the United States and Latin America.

As with many Spanish colonial coins from this early period, the specimen recently examined by NGC was recovered from the wreck of one of the many treasure ships sunk in the Caribbean Sea. This particular wreck was that of the Santa Margarita, which went down in September, 1622.

The rare gold piece was authenticated by NGC’s world coin expert, Kenneth Krah. It was attributed by him as variety KM-4.3 in the Krause/Mishler Standard Catalog of World Coins. Delighted with the opportunity to examine such a rare and historic piece, Krah stated, "It was a privilege to handle this important coin. This example may well be the finest known. It has nearly complete legends, and the strike is well centered which is very desirable for this issue."

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