Saturday, January 04, 2014

A most unusual Spanish Mill Dollar, otherwise known as 8 Reals or Pieces of Eight.

This most unusual coin from 1797 was made by the government of Spain in Mexico. Mexico was under the control of Spain and also the Spanish were using the Silver found in the areas around Mexico and other parts of Central America.

 This type of coin was made for hundreds of years and would become the world's currency. In fact, many of these coins were made in Central America and then loaded onto Spanish Galleons. These ships would bring the silver to Spain where it would be used for many things. Specially to fund many of the activities of Spain at the time.. Many of the ships did not make it and sank with their most valuable cargoes. This happened many times and ships are still being found with this most precious cargo.  For every ship that was lost, many more made it and brought over to Spain millions of these coins over the years.

 These coins became as I said the standard currency of the world. The United States used these type coins to fund the American Revolution. They would also be legal tender in the United States till 1856. The silver dollar was based on this coin. In fact many of the coins in the United States were based on the Spanish coins of the period.. The 8 Reals was the basis for the silver dollar. it is the same size. The 4 Reals was the model for the half dollar and was the same size. Lastly, the two Reals was the model for the quarter and was the same size.

What's more about these coins and specially this one. Is that these coins traveled the world. On many ships going all over. This very coin you can see was in use for a while in China. It has what are called "chop marks" on it. These marks are Chinese characters that would be stamped on the coin to show it was a true silver coin. Every merchant in China would mark them. That is why this coin is so marked. This coin was from Mexico, was brought to Spain, was put into circulation and found itself in China. Where else it has been is only a mystery. But this is the best way to demonstrate how this coin was the currency of the world. 


A very well traveled 8 Reals coin from the Kingdom of Spain and currency of the world till the 19th century. So often we read about such coins in history, but rarely get to see them.  This is truly history in the raw, the real thing.