YoloBagels's Blog

15 Nov 2019

My Spanish Reales | Week of 11/10/2019

Coins-World | YoloBagels

So one thing I've noticed is that a good amount of collectors seem to enjoy Spanish currency; especially those who predominantly collect US coins. Ever since I began collecting I had some fascination with the old Spanish reales of the 17th and 18th centuries. Eventually I learned about the different denominations; 1/2 reale, reale, 2R, 4R, 8R, escudo and so on. I find it very intriguing how Spanish coins are something of a record of how our coin-minting technology grew over time.

At first they minted cobs, which were basically just pieces of metal with a design crudely pressed onto them. Eventually the screw press and other types of presses were created, giving way to higher quality strikes, more intricate details, and perfectly round coins. By collecting these you can literally see how they became what coins are today.

Not only did these coins become a unique representation of a powerful empire, but they heavily influenced other currencies around the world. One thing that is very interesting is that the well-known "$" sign is theorized to come from the reverse of the 1772-1826 reale design -- If you look at the left column of the seal the column sticks through the drapery, creating what looks like a line going through an S. In fact, the US dollar was relatively based around the Spanish reale; where we have dollars (8 reales), half dollars (4 reales), quarters (2 reales), and dimes (1 reales).

I don't own a surplus amount of high quality reales unlike some of the people I have gotten to know, but I do have some one, two, and eight reales in my collection. None of these are in very high grade but I do have one 1730 2 reale of Phillip V that is in XF details with a small hole at the top (eBay sniped for $20ish). My best reale is a 1794 Mo FM 8 reales in XF45. It is very sentimental to me because my father bought it for me at a coin store and it was the first reale I came to own.

Also I own a variety of two reales. Despite being of a fairly old age, these coins can be found for a low price. Most of the reales I have bought were bought on Instagram from various trusted sellers. Unless you are looking to buy very high quality reales, they are readily available in VG/F and sometimes even higher grades at low prices. Almost all of my two reales were under $10, and some of the reales I've gotten have even been under spot (found in coin lots; price divided by # of coins in the lot). This is where the art of cherry-picking comes in, where you can afford the time and effort to find the best coins in a coin bin/lot.

Not only are Spanish reales known for their beauty and being stereotyped as "pirate treasure" (not a bad stereotype at all!) but also they contain an amount of crude beauty that is unique to Spanish and coins of the mid second millennia. The history and influence the reale has had is still seen throughout the world.



Level 6

These are some really historic pieces! ; )

They are interesting pieces.

If you see a half or one real piece that has been holed, don't turn your nose up at it. I believe they have a very interesting story to tell. When I was in New Orleans in 1960, a lot of the souvenir stores had baskets of these little coins that had been holed for wearing. When I asked about them, I was told that they were "gris gris" or charms used for protection against voodoo curses and other bad spirits. I wish that I had bought a couple just for fun. I was gifted with a four reales piece from Peru this year from my younger son who picked it up when he visited Machu Pichu. He said that the stores were selling them at silver value. So here is a chance to build a nice year and mint set for quite a reasonable price.


Level 4

Maybe I'll have to take a trip to Peru then! Your son seems very nice to gift you something like that. I never pass up on low priced reales hole or no hole, as they are too pretty to say no to.


Level 6

The do have a long, great history. I am also a collector that has some. Just something about them...Thanks

It's Mokie

Level 6

All my Reales are 8 Reales, I own a modest collection of them including one Pillar Dollar but I do like them and find their history fascinating. Thanks for sharing your collection.


Level 7

Thanks for the information. They were also used as currency during the revolutionary war. Our soldiers were paid with them. They have a great history with us. I enjoyed your blog thanks for sharing.

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