World Gold - 1791SO DA Chile 8 Escudos NGC MS63
The obverse of this beautiful coin features a right-facing image of Charles III of Spain, even though it reads “CAROL IIII.” An edict dated December 24, 1788, allowed the mints in the Americas to continue employing dies carrying the bust of Charles III (CAROL III), but with changing the name to Charles IIII (CAROL IIII) by adding one more Roman numeral ‘I.’ It is not known why this was the case. It also reads, “D-G-HISP-ET IND-R” which is short for “DEI GRATIA HISPANIARUM ET INDIARUM REX” (by the grace of God, king of Spain and the Indies). Below the bust is found the date “1791.” The reverse presents the Spanish coat of arms within a shield. Within each quarter of the inner shield are found the individual arms of Castille (a castle) and Leon (a lion). Within an escutcheon are the arms of the Bourbon dynasty (three fleurs-de-lis). The royal arms are encircled by a collar of the Golden Fleece. The entire shield is topped off with a royal crown. Around the rim is the legend, “IN UTROQ FELIX AUSPICE DEO” (with God’s guidance one is happy in each place). The Santiago mintmark “S” topped with a small “o” is at around 7 o’clock and “DA” is at 5 o’clock. Santiago was the Capital of the Captaincy General of Chile, and its mint was established as a private entity in 1743. Charles III brought the mint under the crown’s control in 1770. As noted above, the Santiago mintmark is an “S” topped with a small “o.” The 17th century saw gold production at a mere 350 kilograms for one hundred years. A dramatic increase in mining activity was seen in the 18th century, however, with annual gold production rising from 400 to 1000 kg during the course of the century. It was in the New World that Spanish colonists located several major deposits of gold, most significantly in Colombia. Such finds demanded the creation of local mints to process raw gold into coins and ingots to ship off to mother Spain (in the case of coins, to also use in the Spanish colonies). The first gold monetary units devised were denominations of one-half, one, two, four, and eight escudos. The escudo was typically called a “shield” and was equivalent to sixteen reales of silver. The first escudos were introduced in 1535/37 and were stuck regularly until 1833. A two escudo piece was called a “pistole,” while a four escudo coin was called a “double pistol,” but early on it was at times called a “doubloon.” The big eight escudo coin was a “quadruple pistol,” and, at first, was called a “double doubloon.” English colonists later called it the “Spanish doubloon.” Over the course of about 250 years, the fineness and weight of such Spanish gold coins hardly changed, providing the stability of its function as a standard by which other coins were measured.
|Numeric Denomination||8 Escudos|
|Grade Add On||NONE|