Milled Bust Spanish Colonial Silver Reales

Posted by on September 13, 2012
SC SCR 1900 Mexico half Real1 300x150 Milled Bust Spanish Colonial Silver Reales

1800 Colonial Mexico Silver 1/2 Real

The Fifth style is the “Milled Bust” has the monarch on the obverse and the two pillars are on the reverse on either side of the Spanish coat of arms.  These were struck from 1771 to 1825 from the mints at Mexico City (1771-1821), Lima (1772-1824), Bogota (1772-1820 all of which are rare), Potosi (1773-1825), Guatemala (1773-1817), and Santiago (1771-1821).  The mint of Popayan in Colombia usually struck gold coins however in 1810 to 1822 they did strike the Milled Bust silver reales with a “P” mintmark.  Cuzco, Peru’s mint struck these only in 1824 and used the mint mark “CUZ”, as a matter of fact this was the only year silver coins were minted in Cuzco.


In 1772 King Charles III secretly started having the precious metal content reduced in all of the coins minted by Spain, including those in the Spanish colonies in the New World.  By 1786 the silver coins had been reduced to a fineness of 89.58% and this contented until 1821.

SC SCR 1799 Spanish Bogota Silver quarter Real reverse Milled Bust Spanish Colonial Silver Reales

1799 Spanish Colonial Bogota Silver 1/4 Real - reverse

When Charles IV came to the throne in 1788 Spain was unable to supply its American colonies with new dies and they were given permission to use Charles III’s dies but were instructed to add a “I” after Charles III.  The mint at Potosi was able to alter their 8 reales dies for 1789 and 1790 to strike “IV”.  Charles IV’s new dies arrived in Spain’s American colonies in 1791.  In 1794 Mexico City struck the first 1/4 real which was called a “cuarto”.

SC SCR 1781 El Cazador 8 Reales obverse 292x300 Milled Bust Spanish Colonial Silver Reales

1781 El Cazador 8 Reales - obverse

The French Revolution and the Rise of Napoleon to power cut Spain’s ties to the Americas.  Charles IV abdicated in 1808 and Ferdinand VII was unable to take his rightful possession of the throne of Spain in 1808 because of Napoleon’s occupation however he was able to co-rule with Napoleon’s brother Joseph.  In Spain royalist started in earnest to battle Napoleon’s forces however it was not until 1814 that Ferdinand VII was fully restored to the throne.  During this period of time the royalists in the New World minted coins with Ferdinand VI however one by one the Royal appointed viceroys were driven out and by 1821 republican forces had run the Spanish royalist out of power.  There were a few hold outs.  The Cuzco mint in Peru Spanish designs were struck in 1824 and in Potosi Bolivia, even thou it was taken and struck coins for use in the providences that would become Argentina in 1814, the mint struck royalist coins into 1825.

The obverses of the silver Milled Bust Reales coins have a bust portrait of the King in the center and under this along the rim is the date.  Rising from the date on the left side along the rim is the king’s name and along the right side along the rim is “DEI.GRATIA.”.

SC SCR 1781 El Cazador reverse 286x300 Milled Bust Spanish Colonial Silver Reales

1781 El Cazador 8 Reales - reverse

The reverse has Spain’s coat of arms with castles, lions, and the fleurs-de-lis as before and Spain’s royal crown above this.  Starting on the right side along the rim begins the legend with “HISPAN.ETIND.EX.” and then the mint mark, the denomination, and the assayer’s mark.  On either side of the coat of arms is one of two pillars, this time without crowns, and wrapped with a banner; the left with “PLUS” and “VLTRA” and the right side pillar.

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