Gold & silver Cobs from the Florida shipwrecks of the 1715 Fleet & other New World wrecks. Mint State non-shipwreck Spanish Colonial gold & silver from Lima, Mexico City, Potosi, Bogotá, and other mints .






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      Pillar and Bust Reales (1732- 1825)                                      


In the late 1720’s Philip V decided to modernize the coinage of his New World colonies. New types were ordered for both gold and silver, and machine production was mandated to replace the hand-struck cob coinage. Mexico premiered the new coinage in 1732, striking portrait gold and silver in the very attractive pillar or columnarios design.  On the reverse of reales with the columnario design, crowned twin globes sit between ornate pillars or columns. The globes are meant to represent the Old and New World conjoined, and the legend reinforces the visual imagery. “Utraque Unum” it says. Both are one. Bourbon Spain and her New World colonies are one nation under the Spanish Monarchy.


Technical difficulties and local resistance to the design changes delayed the change over to columnarios at Lima and Santiago for another 20 years. Santiago’s columnarios production beginning in 1751 was never abundant. Guatemala and Bogota began producing their exiguous coinages of columnarios in 1754 and 1759 respectively. Potosi did not produce its first pillar coinage until well into the reign of Carlos III (1767).


In 1770 Carlos III decided to again revamp the types of his silver coinage. The royal bust, hitherto reserved for gold coinage, now would grace the obverse of his reales. An odd amalgam of pillar and shield design now became the reverse type.  The Bust coinage was launched with some atypical co-ordination by all the active New World mints in 1772. It lasted for about 50 years until, under the inept and harsh reign of Fernando VII, the New World colonies broke from Spain and became independent. Royalist coinage ceased at the Mexican mints 1821-23. Lima and Potosi finally ceased in 1824 and 1825 respectively.



The following Pillar and Bust Reales have recently sold:






MEXICO. Eight Reales. 1764 MF.   Choice  Uncirculated NGC MS-62.

Gilboy M-8-44, Calico ONZA 789.

Master assayer Manuel de Leon (M), who had been in office since 1733, retired at the end of 1763 and was replaced by Francisco Antonio de Pena y Flores (F). Thereafter, the pillar coinage of Charles III bore the assayer combination MF until 1770, the penultimate year of the coinage. This issue, Gilboy M-8-44 is the premier issue of assayer Flores. While not scarce in circulated grades, true mint state coins are very hard to find. This 8 reales is very lightly toned with pleasing luster and has no significant contact marks. NGC grades it MS-62. It would make a perfect type coin for the MF pillar coinage of Charles III.








MEXICO. Eight Reales. 1761 MM.  Choice Brilliant Uncirculated & Prooflike.

Gilboy M-8-39, Calico ONZA 782.


In 1761 the new engraver Juan Pena made significant changes in the reverse type of Mexico's pillar coinage. Crowns, waves, and especially the globes were remodeled. On the globes the continents were reshaped and the oceans treated with a dappled crosshatching, producing a striking 3-D effect. The legend was also changed, with the cross now intruding between the H and I of Hispan. This issue, Gilboy M-8-39, was the first to feature all of Pena's redesigns. Though not scarce in circulated grades, true mint state 1761 MM are very difficult to find. Most "uncs" seen at auction are darkly toned coins with high point wear. This choice mint state coin has full luster over its devises and prooflike fields, a sharp strike, and no significant contact marks. Undoubtedly it is one of the finest known 1761 MM's and a superb example of the early style of Charles III pillar eights. It pedigrees to Ponterio Sale #143, lot 1152, where it realized $4140.









Mexico.  Eight Reales. 1770 Mo MF. Choice Brilliant Uncirculated NGC MS 62

Gilboy M-5-80, Calbeto ONZA 797.


While Carlos III 1770 Mo pillar dollars are not rare in circulated grades, a choice brilliant uncirculated specimen is another matter. “Choice uncirculated” coins appear from time to time at auction, but most are darkly toned and conceal obvious high-point wear beneath the toning. This is true brilliant unc and rare as such. Lustrous pillar and shield devices sitting on prooflike fields give a wonderful cameo effect.  Graded MS 62 by NGC but removed from  the holder. Ex Goldberg’s Sale 41, lot 3642 ( realized $3335). Please see the archived large image on Goldberg’s site.







 Mexico. 8 Reales. 1777 FM. Choice Uncirculated and Prooflike NGC MS61 

Calico-Trigo tipo 94 num. 840.


As all "Busto" collectors quickly discover, finding attractive, problem-free true "uncs" is very difficult, even in the so-called high production years of Carlos III. VF/XF coins are plentiful for these dates, sliders can be found, but attractive true uncs are genuinely rare. This 8 reales is lustrous with prooflike fields ( great cameo effect ). It is free of any distracting marks or planchet problems, and very conservatively graded MS 61 by NGC.









 Calico-Trigo tipo 80 num. 659.


A very attractive Carlos IV true "unc" with strong white luster. [ I apologize for the deplorable quality of the image above. I find It is impossible to properly scan or photograph these lustrous coin in slabs! ] No distracting marks or planchet problems as are so common on these issues. Graded MS 62 by NGC. One of the nicest 1803 I’ve seen. I notice that Heritage recently (6/07) auctioned two Carlos IIII eight reales of comparable rarity, both also graded MS 62. The 1792  FM realized $1725, the 1806 TH brought $1092. This 1803 is much more attractive than the 1796. 








 Lima. Eight reales. 1801 IJ. Choice Brilliant Uncirculated NGC MS 62

Calico-Trigo tipo 76, num 632.


A great Carlos IV busto with exceptional luster and a bold strike (in a year notorious for problems with both). No adjustment marks or planchet problems of any kind. NGC calls it MS 62 but there is no reason why it should not be graded a point of two higher. All Lima bustos are very scarce in true "unc".



Available for






Lima. Eight reales. 1807 JP.  Choice to Gem Brilliant Uncirculated. NGC MS63

Calico-Trigo tipo 76  num. 639


An exceptionally clean and lustrous coin, sharply struck and with attractive peripheral toning. No adjustment marks or planchet problems of any kind. I would call it without hesitation a Gem BU Busto, but NGC in its wisdom deems it MS 63, and so it is priced.  I can tell you I have never seen a better one. Struck in the final year of Carlos IV's unhappy reign when Napoleon finally decided to depose the inept Bourbon monarchy. Additional images of this coin here.





MEXICO. Eight Reales. 1796 FM. (coming soon)


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