The First Coins of the Americas describes the author's personal journey with Spanish colonial coins called cobs. The first mint of the Americas opened in Mexico City in 1536. A lifelong collector, Jones explores the background of the conquistadors and the Spanish colonial system, then gives the fascinating stories behind each coin with up to date scholarship on current thoughts about each series. The book is profusely illustrated with color photos, and includes full page pictures of 129 coins. The book is 8.5 by 11 inches, hard back with 250 pages. Foreword by Daniel Sedwick. Sections include: Spanish coinage before the New World; Mexican money before the first mint of 1536; Carlos and Juana Early and Late series precobs coinage; Santo Domingo and Lima precobs; A type collection of silver and gold cobs by mint: Mexico City, Lima, La Plata, Potosí, Panama, Bogotá, Cartagena, Cuzco and Guatemala. Extensive references are given throughout. The book finishes with thoughts about cobs and treasure coins. This includes why they made cobs, cobs as collectibles, mint expenses, the mining process at Potosí, the fleet system of galleons and naos used by the Spanish, and the New World class systems. Following this is a history of treasure salvage and diving techniques, and a list of 22 important shipwrecks yielding cobs. An 11-page glossary lists all the assayers and dates of each colonial mint, Spanish monarchs and their details including the famous Habsburg jaw, listings of the mints, colonial administrators, viceroyalties, audiencias, matronymic naming, styles of cobs, metrology and complete index. If you have any interest in Spanish colonial history, Spanish colonial coins (cobs), or numismatics in general, this reference book is eminently readable and a must for your collection.
Daniel Sedwick writes the following foreword:
This book is pure inspiration. Whether you are a seasoned collector or a nascent novice, you will finish this book with a sense of purpose and justification for the hours you spend pursuing coins for no other reason than you just want them. In these pages, Peter Jones demonstrates his personal journey of collecting the first coins (and pre-coins) of the Americas by relating the history behind each type and period and location. At every turn he makes sure to share his own angle and personal interest—and then he shows you each coin in the highest resolution possible, warts and all, so you can see for yourself what attracted him. As Peter points out, his goal was not completeness—as admittedly many coins were outside his range of attainability—so much as representation. The picture that emerges is that of a longtime collector fully sated with a sense of accomplishment and eager to share his joyful journey with the next generation.
There have been other books like this, such as like Thomas Sebring's Treasure Tales (1986) and James Bevill's The Paper Republic (2009), which were written by collectors and for collectors to relate the myriad of mind-excursions each collector takes with every acquisition, as opposed to giving the final word on every topic. One who buys coins for their value alone, without feeling the nagging curiosity of where each coin has been and what history it witnessed, is just an accumulator, whereas a collector truly loves each of his conquests and cannot stop until he or she understands its backstories. The ultimate in learning about your collection, as Peter shows us here, is to write about it. Along the way he provides many tables and maps in addition to the beautiful coin photos.
As a final note, I would like to say that in the thirty-odd years I have known Peter, he has always exemplified the Gentleman Collector, eager to learn and purchase within his means while enjoying friendship and camaraderie with his fellow numismatists. I am honored to call him my friend.