8 Reales, also known as cob coin, piece of eight or pirate money
8 Reales (piece of eight)
Diameter: 33 mm, weight: 26.65 g.
Potosi, Bolivia, year unknown
Legend around coat of arms.
P O to the left, value VIII to the right.
Cross with four symbols (2x castle, 2x lion)
Coins of this type are referred to as "cob coins" in literature. Their production started in 1572, to export silver from the colonies to Spain. The main target was to control the weight of the exported silver, so to accelerate the process the silver bars were cut into pieces which should have the same weight and coined using the hammer strike method. If a coin resulted too heavy, it was simply cut to the right weight. Since the cob coins were melted once again after they had reached Spain, their appearance and quality of coinage had low priority only. However, they soon became the first global currency, known and accepted in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as "peso de ocho reales" or "pieces of eight.
Gabriel Calbeto De Grau, Compendium VIII Reale, Compendio de las piezas de ocho reales (1970)
Acquired 2021 at a German auction house.
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