World Coins

‘Imaginary bust’ gold 8 escudos highlights Rudman Collection

A 1747-Mo-MF gold 8-escudo coin of Ferdinand VI bearing the rare “Imaginary Bust” design highlighted Heritage Auctions’ Aug. 13 sale of coins from the Isaac Rudman Collection of Mexican Coins.

The coin, graded About Uncirculated 58 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., realized $47,000 U.S., including the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee. 

The Imaginary Bust issue was struck after a Royal Ordinance of July 31, 1746, sent from Madrid to the Mexico City Mint, arrived in Mexico in May of 1747. The royal order called for a change in coinage legends and design to reflect Spain’s new king, Ferdinand VI.

Shortly after receiving the order, interim director of the Mexico Mint Andres Morales de los Rios proposed to Viceroy Juan Francisco de Guemes production of new dies with a bust imagining the new king’s appearance, while awaiting instructions (and punches of the new king’s bust) from Spain. 

Punches with the official Madrid-engraved bust of Ferdinand VI were received in Mexico City at the end of 1747, so “Imaginary Bust” issues of various denominations were struck only as a one-year type. The large 8-escudo coin is the most famous “Imaginary Bust” coin, though the other denominations are as rare or even of greater rarity, according to Heritage. The Rudman Collection is the first to offer a complete set of Imaginary Bust coinage. 

For more details about the collection, visit the Heritage Auction website,

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