COB COINAGE, 1546 - 1773
Obverse and reverse of a unique 1/2R Mexico 1730 G cob or macuquina (12 mm at widest, weighing approximately 1.7 grams) displaying all the details and information required by the royal decree prescribing the form of cob coinage.
(Philippine collection)
Hand-struck from a chip from the end of a bar of silver (cabo de barra), this half-real cob or macuquina, found in the Philippines is, by its denomination so small (12 mm at the widest) and so light (approximately 1.7 grams), that it should merit no special mention at all in a numismatic work -- except that it is almost a miracle that it should even exist in its present form. By royal decree "... a cob was supposed to be a piece of metal of specified weight and fineness, guaranteed by the Spanish government in the person of its local assayer and by his initial, struck unto the design of the coin" (Sedwick, F., The Practical Book of Cobs, 1987.). It was also required to bear the royal coat of arms and to be dated whenever possible. To contain all of this information, the cob had to be flat and evenly made (which was hardly ever the case) and of sufficient surface area so as to be able to hold all the required data (as in the case of 8-real and some 4-real cobs).

This particular cob, a HALF-REAL (which makes it the smallest prescribed denomination) somehow manages to contain on its obverse and reverse ALL the information required: full date (1730); mint mark (Mo for Mexico); the upper part of the assayer's initial (G); the upper left portion of the crowned royal shield partly showing the tower of Castile atop the lion rampant of Leon and part of the colors of Austria. The ROTATED reverse (20 degrees) shows the upper left and central portions of the globed cross of King Felipe of Spain and "treasures" or "quatrefoils" enclosing the towers of Castile and lions rampant of Leon.

Finally, the other thing that makes this diminutive coin a numismatic rarity (UNLISTED in any numismatic catalogue, possibly an ERROR and probably UNIQUE) is the fact that it carries on its obverse, for reasons yet unknown, the design intended for a 1-real cob, making it what is characteristically known in numismatic circles as a "MULE". Only ONE specimen known to exist.