The Pirate Collection

Date: 1600s - 1700s
3 Coins

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Item Description:

The Pirate Collection features three coins that carry a strong historical association with piracy, specifically the Golden Age of Piracy from the 17th to 18th century. 

Coins traded in pirate hotbeds such as the Caribbean had a melting pot of different cultures attributed to them. Practically any coins were acceptable for circulation, as long as they had intrinsic value from precious metal content. Though coins of Spanish origin were used primarily, English, French, and even Chinese coins were all viable as well.

There are three coins included in this set, as outlined below:

Spanish Silver Cob (c. 1600 - 1800 CE)

These silver "cob" coins were minted in South America under the control of the Spanish Empire. They date back to approximately the 1600s or 1700s, though many are hard to attribute to a certain king due to their crudely made nature. The coins in this group 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."

Spanish Copper Cob (c. 1556 - 1717 CE)

These Spanish copper cob coins were minted between the reigns of King Philip II and Philip V. Sporting a crude, irregular shape characteristic of the "cob" style, these coins were made with efficiency in mind. Many of them underwent counterstamping—a process that updated an older coin's denomination or inscription with a new design. This practice was particularly common with Spanish coins due to the vastness of the empire. Counterstamping was far more practical than creating new coins, as the latter would necessitate the transportation of copper across extensive distances.

Palembang Pitis (c. 1700 - 1800 CE)

These tin pitis coins were struck in Palembang, a major port in 18th century Indonesia that was controlled by the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Located along the Strait of Malacca, Palembang was not only a hub for the spice trade but for pirates as well. The area was an incredibly important shipping route, but pirates also had plenty of places to hide within its many coves and inlets. Palembang was located along the east end of the strait, and was a standard stopping point for merchant ships. But during the Golden Age of Piracy, these ships would be routinely seized for their cargo of rare spices and money—namely Spanish reales, VOC duiten, and these Palembang pitis coins.


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