Spanish Coins

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Spanish Coinage

Coinage of the American Colonies was directly linked with the Spanish Colonial Empire. The predominate silver and gold coinage of the colonies and the states of the United States was the Spanish Doubloons, Milled Dollars, and Pieces of Eight.





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Spanish Silver Cobs

Silver coins of Colonial Spain were minted in denominations of 8, 4, 2, and 1 Reales.  The crude design on silver cobs included the Pillars of Hercules, the denomination, the date, the mint, and assayers mark along with a reference to the current king of Spain.





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Spanish Bust Peso & Pieces of Eight

Bust Pesos were frequently cut into eighths, quarters, and halves to make needed change – called “bits.”  The eighth cut was worth 12 1/2 U.S. cents or one English Shilling and called one bit, the quarter cut was worth  25 cents was called 2 bits and the half cut worth 50 U.S. cents or 4 Shillings was called 4 bits.  The 2 bits and 4 bits expression continues today in American slang.





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Spanish Gold Doubloons

The irregular shaped doubloons depicted in this set were formed by using crude dies and heavy hammers to manually strike slices of gold chiseled off cast round bars which were trimmed to the proper weight before striking.  Thousands of pounds of gold and silver were shipped from South and Central America to Spain in yearly fleets joined together in Havana, Cuba, and up the coast of Florida to reach the prevailing westerly winds further north.





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Spanish Coins of Puerto Rico

In 1895 Spain issued and provided the island of Puerto Rico with its own coinage.  The Madrid mint in Spain issued the Peso and 20 Centavos coins and also temporary Billete De Canje, paper notes, which were exchanged for the foreign coinage in circulation.  In 1896 the paper notes were exchanged for 5, 10, 20, and 40 Centavos coins.





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Spanish Pillar Dollar

Pillar Dollars were made using a mechanical press method and had true round outlines and milled edges that prevented “clipping.”  Clipping was the removal of silver from coin edges by unscrupulous persons reducing the weight and value of the coin.





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