Could you please identify this 8-real piece and let me know its
value? Thank you for your time and effort.
The piece in question has the appearance of a silver 8-real coin,
struck at the Mexico City Mint under the authority of the Spanish
crown in 1788.
The piece depicts Carolus III (or Charles III) of Spain on its
obverse and the Spanish royal coat of arms on its reverse.
A small “o” placed atop a capital “M” on the reverse is its Mint
mark and signifies a coin struck at the Mexico City Mint.
Ultimately, this piece would need to be examined by an expert in
order to truly determine its authenticity.
From the pictures sent (which could not be reproduced here) it
does appear to match up well with authentic coins, but these coins are
frequently counterfeited, particularly in China, so caution is needed
when buying or selling.
If indeed genuine, the coin is somewhat common. The Standard
Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, gives the 1788 8-real coin
values of $25 in Very Good, $45 in Fine, $75 in Very Fine and $150 in
Mr. Matwijcow’s item is heavily circulated, and would likely be
graded as Very Good at best.
More likely, if offered for sale, the coin’s silver content would
be the prime determinant of its value. A freshly struck 8-real coin
has an actual silver weight of 0.7797 ounce. As this coin has been
well circulated, it has probably lost some of its silver weight. If
sold to a coin dealer, he or she would probably place an offer based
on its silver weight.
While this piece is not an especially valuable coin, it is a
historical coin. Spanish silver coinage provided the backbone of the
American economy for many decades. In fact, Spanish coinage was
accepted as legal tender here until the practice was outlawed by
Congress in 1857.
Those interested in pirate lore should know the Spanish 8-real
coin is the coin being referred to when swashbucklers demanded “pieces
Some may also recall being told the tale that a young George
Washington once threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River.
However, it is much more feasible that America’s future president, in
the unlikely event that he did throw a coin across a river, actually
tossed it over the much narrower Rappahannock River. And as there were
no U.S. silver dollars when the event supposedly took place, the most
likely candidate would have been a Spanish 8-real coin.
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from staff
member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety
coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call
(800) 673-8311, Ext. 274.