Spanish Silver Cob, 1/2 Real

Date: c. 1600 - 1800
South America

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Item Description:

 These silver "cob" coins were minted in South America under the control of the Spanish Empire. They date back to approximately the 1600's or 1700's, though many are hard to attribute to a certain king due to their crudely made nature. This specific group of coins were found along rivers and beaches, meaning that they are designated as sea salvaged.

Worth half a real in the Spanish currency system, these low denomination coins would have been used frequently by commoners in the "New World." Though often a bit hard to read, the obverse of these coins shows a Jerusalem cross with lions and castles in each quarter. The reverse usually shows the monogram of the king, with a partial date sometimes visible as well.

Each coin comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

The Spanish Empire (red) at its greatest extent in the 18th century, around the time that these coins were minted.

The Rise of Cob Coins

Silver was one of the driving forces behind the Spanish colonization of the Americas. The first mint was established in present-day Mexico city, but other mints established with the discovery of new sources of gold and silver. Demand to export silver back to Spain increased as more silver deposits were discovered in colonial territories, so mints began producing irregular coinage known as cobs.

Macuquinas, or cobs, were struck and hand trimmed from the 16th through the 18th century. Known as reales, they were made from irregularly shaped blanks cut from the end of a bar of silver—the term “cob” is likely derived from cabo de barra, or “end of bar.” The size of and shape of the cob were considered immaterial and vary widely, as only their weight was standardized. If cobs were overweight, they were simply clipped.

Cobs were meant to be restruck into standard coinage once ships returned to Spain, but unfortunately many ships were lost to storms, hurricanes, or piracy on their way back. Cobs were widely accepted as currency around the world, including the early United States before the nation had monetary systems of its own. The coins came in denominations of one half, one, two, four, and eight reales, with the eight reales being known to pirates as the famed “Piece of Eight” coin.

Your order will include:

  • The historical item(s) shown above
  • Glass top leatherette display box
  • Information card and Certificate of Authenticity

Our original glass and leatherette display boxes showcase your relic above a custom information card, with a design unique to History Hoard.

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