Charles IV Silver 8 Reales (Piece of Eight) 1808, Bolivia Mint
Denomination: Silver 8 Reales
Period: Charles IV, Spanish Colonies
Origin: Bolivian mint (Potosi)
Obverse: Charles IV bust in classic robes and laureate, right, CAROLVS IIII DEI GRATIA
Reverse: Crowned arms of Spain with two ornate pillars either side, HISPAN ET IND REX (PTS monogram for Potosi mint) 8R P I
Size and Weight: 38mm, 27g
Features and Provenance: There has never been a coin with so much folklore attached to it. This 8 Reale coin from the reign of Charles IV of Spain was known as a Spanish dollar, but also more evocatively, as a 'piece of eight,' with all the romantic tales of Pirate treasure that this entails.
This coin, and those before it, were so popular that they were the first global currency throughout the Spanish Empire. With the British colonists not able to mint coins themselves and always running out of British coinage, they used the Spanish coins instead as they were very similar in weight of silver. This coin was minted in 1808, the very last year of Charles' reign and could have been in the hands of the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte who operated in the Gulf of Mexico around this time, yes this is a remote possibility.
back to the harsh realities of history. The coin was made at the mint in Potosi, Bolivia where the main 'silver mountain' and mine were situated. Thousands of indigenous people were enslaved to operate the mine and died due to the harsh conditions and the demand for silver to pay for Spain's military ambitions.
The past really was a different place.
Condition Summary. This varies with the age of coin and there are grades in between
Uncirculated (U). As struck with no traces of wear
Extremely Fine (EF). Very slight traces of wear, all parts of legend etc present, visible and clear
Very Fine (VF). Some signs of wear on the higher parts of the relief, all parts of legend etc present, but maybe worn
Fine (F). Wear on the coin and parts of legend etc may be missing or not visible
- Product Code: 21011801
- Availability: Sold