Tune in to my interview with Phil Johnson!

Tune in to my interview with Phil Johnson!
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Sunday, October 7, 2018

More pirate coins

Since my posts on “pirate coins” have been some of the most popular ones on my blog, I thought I would bring you some web sites that have other pirate-themed coins on sale.

For instance, there is this $5 coin from Palau:

The same web site also has a gold 1 oz “rum runner:” 

And a 2 oz silver pirate theme coin: 

All of these are on the Apmex web site: https://www.apmex.com/search?q=pirate


 This web site has real coins on sale that were recovered from shipwrecks, etc:


And then there’s this web site which sells on Ebay and online, and has a variety of coins, jewelry, and art available:

Enjoy your search for pirate treasure!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

What was a Piece of Eight?

Someone mentioned last week that I didn’t include pieces of eight in my examples of coins from around 1700, so this week I thought I would look around for some definitions of what a piece of eight was.
I missed getting the URL of one web site, but you’ll get the idea from these others!


Pieces of eight were the world's first global currency. As the coins of Spain they were used across the vast Spanish Empire, stretching from South America to the Philippines, but were also used outside the empire as well. In 1600 one coin would have been worth the equivalent of a modern £50 note. The front of the coin is decorated with the coat of arms of the Habsburgs, the rulers of Spain and the most powerful family in Europe.
Where did the silver for pieces of eight come from?

The inscription on this coin - King of the Spains and the Indies - refers to European Spain and the great new Spanish Empire in the Americas. The silver used to create the coins and finance Spain's armies and armadas came, above all, from the 'silver mountain' of Potosi in Bolivia. This wealth came at a terrible cost to human life. Thousands of indigenous American Indians and African slaves died in the brutal conditions of the mines to support Spain's thirst for silver.
Pieces of eight were legal tender in the USA until 1857

piece of eight
n. pl. pieces of eight
An old Spanish silver coin.

[From its original value of eight reals.]

Definition of piece of eight
: an old Spanish peso of eight reales

piece of eight in British

nounWord forms: plural pieces of eight
a former Spanish coin worth eight reals; peso
the obsolete Spanish and Spanish-American dollar, equal to eight reals

You can even go indulge yourself and acquire this Piece of Eight:

Friday, August 10, 2018

Some common coins found in 1700

During the 1700’s and 1800’s, gold coins and silver coins became very popular in nearly all parts of the world as trading grew. Coins were used as “commodity money”. This means that the value of a coin was dependent on the amount of silver or gold it contained. Below is a list of brief descriptions of various gold coins and silver coins that were used in the 1700’s and 1800’s.



For over eight hundred years, the Maravedis was Spain’s standard gold coin. It’s value and weight dramatically changed according to who ruled Spain at the time. Over time, the Maravedis became available in copper and silver varieties, particularly in Spanish colonies. The faces of several kings, including Philip V, Philip IV, Philip III, Ferdinand VII, Ferdinand VI, Joseph Bonaparte, Charles III and Charles IV were etched into the Maravedis. Queen Isabel II, made it onto the Maravedis from 1843 to 1868, when she was dethroned.


In the 1300s, King Pedro 1 of Castile introduced the Reales, which is a silver coin that means “royal.” The Reales remained in circulation until the Escudo was introduced in 1864. The weight and value of Reales changed over time, according to the ruler at the time.


Escudos are divided into silver and gold categories. The original Gold Escudo was introduced in 1566 was minted in one-half, one, two, four, and eight escudos. It was the official currency of Spain from 1864 to 1869. Most Escudos were minted in either Seville or Madrid. An Escudo coin from Seville is marked with an S and one from Madrid will have an M.


Special two piece Escudos were known as the Doubloon, which means “double” in Spanish. They were manufactured in Nueva Granada, Spain, Mexico, and Peru. The Doubloon featured the a coat of arms or cross that was known as Hapsburg Shield on one side and the busts of Isabel or Ferdinand on the other. The Doubloon was last minted in 1849. 



The Guinea was first introduced in 1663 and remained the main gold coin in Britain until 1816. Its name was derived from the British colony of Guinea, which had rich gold reserves that were imported into Britain. Most of the Guinea gold coins bear a small elephant in their design, to commemorate their African origins.


The Sovereign was first created in 1489. After a break of more than two hundred years (1604 to 1816), this gold coin was given a new lease of life under the reign of George III. Large numbers of Sovereigns were produced using the steam-driven minting machines of Matthew Boulton.