HISTORIC OLD COINS
PIECES-OF-EIGHT FROM THE
WRECK OF THE EL CAZADOR
Few coins can match the history and romance of the Piece-of-Eight.
Commonly known as the Spanish 8 Reales, or Spanish Milled Dollar, this
large silver coin was widely used throughout the Americas. Its wide
acceptance made it a favorite of both pirates and merchants. It was
used throughout the colonies before the American Revolution, and was
the basis of the United States Dollar. The coin continued to be legal
tender in the United States until 1857. These original Pieces-of-Eight
went down aboard the El
Cazador in 1784 off the coast of Louisiana.
Some say that Spain's loss of the El Cazador changed the course of
history. Spain had gained control of New Orleans and Louisiana from
France by treaty in 1762, over objections of the residents who had
nothing to say in the matter. Following the American Revolution there
was increasing rebellion in the territory caused by restrictions Spain
placed on trade with the United States, a deluge of unbacked paper
currency, and the ideals of the American Revolution. King Carlos III of
Spain dispatched the brig of war El Cazador, loaded with newly minted
Pieces-of-Eight from the Mexico City mint to New Orleans, in an effort
to redeem the paper currency and boost the local economy. Alas the ship
was lost at sea. Perhaps it was attacked by pirates or lost in a storm.
The loss was devastating to both Louisiana’s economy and Spain's
ability to profit from the territory. Further efforts by the Spanish
Crown to sustain Louisiana failed, and in 1800, Spain ceded Louisiana
back to France in exchange for some minor European considerations.
Three years later France sold Louisiana to the United States for $15
million dollars. The Louisiana Purchase opened the floodgates of
westward expansion for the young United States.
We have had these exciting coins that helped bring about a turning
point in the history of the United States for some time, however until
recently, we have not been able to reveal the name of the ship that
they came from due to marketing restrictions. We can now reveal the
story behind these historic Pieces-of-Eight.
The coins bear the bust of Spanish King Carlos (Charles) III one side
and the Spanish coat-of-arms between the Pillars of Hercules on the
other. The coins were struck at the historic Mexico City Mint, and were
on their way from Mexico to the then Spanish port of New Orleans when
the ship was lost at sea. The coins were only recently recovered, and
definitely show signs that they have been underseas for the last 200 or
so years. The moderately corroded coins are hand selected to
show a readable date and a reasonable amount of the design details.
SP8RCAZ-MC PIECE-OF-EIGHT OF CARLOS III
(1780-1783) MODERATELY CORRODED $159.50
CAZADOR PIECE-OF-EIGHT IN NGC SLAB
Some Pieces-of-Eight recovered from the wreck of the El Cazador have
been certified as genuine by the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC)
and encapsulated in an official NGC hard plastic holder, commonly
called a "slab" . The coins are not graded by NGC, only
certified as genuine. The slabbed coins tend to be nicer than
the heavily corroded El Cazador 8 Reales listed above, but not as nice
as the Moderately Corroded coins. The coins are dated (usually 1783)
and have the Mexico City mintmark. Both the "slabbed" and
"unslabbed" versions of the coin are genuine, however some people like
their coins in a slab (it makes it easier to pass around and show off),
so we now offer the coins both ways.
SP8RCAZ-SLAB PIECE-OF-EIGHT FROM EL CAZADOR
IN NGC SLAB $159.50
SCARCE COINS OF
took Malacca in 1511 and controlled it for the next 130 years, until it
was conquered by the Dutch East India Company. Today it is
part of Malaysia. The Malacca mint produced these tin
Dinheiro coins for use in the territory. John III (Joao III)
ruled Portugal from 1521 to 1557. He expanded Portugal’s colonization
of Brazil and Asia. He was called the “Grocer King” due to
his country’s rich profits from the spice trade. His tin
Dineiro features a Cross with the letters “ISMA” in the four quadrants,
which stood for Ioanes Senhor MalaccA, meaning struck for King John at
Malacca. The other side depicts an armillary sphere, which
was used in navigation. He
was succeeded by his young grandson, Sebastian I (Sebastio
I). Sebastian became king at age 3 in 1557.
Sebastian died in battle in a crusade against Morocco in 1578, before
marrying or producing any heirs. One side of his coin
features three arrows with the letters “BA”, which may mean “Bazaruco,
or bazaar money, indicating it was for local use. The other side has a
crude representation of an armillary sphere on the other.
Both coins are about 16mm to 18mm in diameter. They show
little wear, but are crudely struck.
PORTUGUESE MALACCA DINHIERO JOHN III 1521-1557 VF $30.00
PORTUGUESE MALACCA DINHIERO SEBASTIAN 1557-1578 VF $30.00
SCARCE COIN OF DEMAK
Demak Sultanate was founded about 1475 by Sultan Pangeran al Patah,
also known as Raden Patah. He was of Javanese nobility and his mother
may have been a Chinese princess who had been exiled from China.
His Sultanate was the first Muslim state in Java.
He quickly expanded his Sultanate to include most of the
northern coast of Java and southern Sumatra. This was
an important step in bringing Islam to what is now Indonesia.
The Sultan ruled until his death in 1518. The Sultanate
lasted about another 30 years, until it collapsed in a dynastic
feud. The Sultanate prospered through trade in spices, rice
and its control over Javanese trading ports. This
Pitis of Sultan Pangeran al Patah is one of the few
affordable coins of the Demak Sultanate. The uniface tin coin
is approximately 19mm to 20mm in diameter and grades Very Fine.
DEMAK SULTANATE, TIN PITIS, PANGERAN AL PATAH 1475-1518 VF $19.50
TIN PITIS FROM THE
is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia. It is located on
the Musi river on the island of Sumatra. The Sultanate of
Palembang was established in the early 17th century by Javanese nobles
fleeing from dynastic intrigues after the collapse of the Sultanate of Demak. It soon became the
one of the greatest agricultural and trade centers in the Malay
area. This undated tin Pitis was issued by the Sultanate of
Palembang between 1710 and 1778. The uniface coin has crude
Malay-Arabic inscriptions around a center hole.
PALEMBANG TIN PITIS 1710-1778 (Millies 202) Fine-VF
WAR OVER BIRD POOP!
1879 to 1884 Bolivia, Chile and Peru engaged in the War of The
Pacific over control over huge piles of bird droppings (guano) which
were mined to obtain nitrate. Chile won, Bolivia became a
land-locked nation, and Peru almost collapsed. During the war
Peru issued special copper-nickel coins, which they called provisional
money, in place of their usual silver coins. We offer the set
of two historic Peru Provisional coins in Uncirculated conditions. The
5 Centavos is dated 1879 and the 10 Centavo is dated 1880.
The coins have the denomination on one side and a sun face on the
other. For Uncirculated coins over 125 years old with such an
unusual background, they are quite a bargain.
PERU 5 & 10 CENTAVOS PROVISIONAL
1879-1880 KM197-198 UNC
COIN OF CHARLES V FROM BESANCON
Charles was the eldest son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna the
Mad. As heir to three of Europe’s leading dynasties: The
Hapsburgs, The House of Valois-Burgundy and the crown of Castile
& Aragon he ruled over much of Europe as well as the Spanish
colonies in the Americas and Asia. He stopped Suleyman the
Magnificent’s advance into Europe at the Siege of Vienna in
1529. In an effort to try to limit further religious wars
caused by the Protestant Reformation he encouraged the formation of the
Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the calling of the Council of Trent,
which attempted to reform the Catholic Church and repudiate
Protestantism. Charles abdicated the throne in 1555, dividing
his lands between his son, Phillip II,
who was given Spain, and his
brother Ferdinand, who was given the Hapsburg throne. In 1526
Charles granted the Free Imperial City of Besancon the right to issue
coins. At the time it was a French speaking city under nominal Hapsburg
rule. The city issued coins bearing the name and portrait of
Charles V until 1673. In 1674 French troops took the city and
it has since remained part of France. This silver coin,
called a Carlos is named after Charles. It has the Charles’s
portrait on the obverse and the cities arms on the reverse. The coins
date from about 1610 to 1622.
BESANCON SILVER CARLOS 1610-1622 KM10 VG $39.95
OLD POLISH SILVER
COIN OF SIGISMUND III
These silver 3 Polker coins of
Poland issued by king Sigismund III Vasa are dated between
1622 to 1624.
Sigismund became king of Poland and Lithuania in 1587. He was
also king of Sweden from 1592 until he was deposed in 1599.
His efforts to unite Poland and Sweden caused sixty years of war
between the two. He invaded Russia in 1605, taking advantage
of their Time of Troubles. Despite occupying Moscow and
proclaiming himself to be Czar, he was unable to control the country.
His war in Russia continued until a peace treaty was finally signed
in 1618. One side of the coin has the crowned arms of united
Poland and Lithuania. The other side features the number 24
within an orb, indicating the coin was worth 1/24th of a Thaler. On
either side of the cross and orb are the last two digits of the
date. Sigismund did not feel it necessary to include the
first two digits.
PL-41-24 POLAND 3 POLKER 1624 KM41
COINS OF LEOPOLD THE HOGMOUTH
I reigned as Holy Roman Emperor from 1658 to
1705. He had a rather pronounced lower lip, possibly brought
on by his fathers marriage to his own cousin. A Turkish
traveler described him as a cultivated man of extreme ugliness, hence
the name "The Hogmouth". As Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
(which was neither Holy, Roman, nor an Empire) he ruled a vast
territory including Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, as well as parts of
Germany. He claimed the throne of Spain, leading to War of Spanish
Succession. Leopold fought a number of wars against the
Turks, who unsuccessfully sieged Vienna in 1683, and against France.
The engravers made no attempt to hide his ugliness on the
coins, hence his protruding Hapsburg lip is plainly visible on the
coin. His coins tend to have have a slight curvature that was
caused by the minting process which used "roller dies" rather the coin
being struck flat. This silver 3 Kreuzer was minted in
between 1660 and 1698. It has a wonderful portrait of Leopold
AT-LEO-3K AUSTRIA SILVER 3 KREUZER LEOPOLD
THE HOGMOUTH 1660-1698 VF-XF $59.00
COIN OF AUSTRIA
Imperial Coat-of-Arms of Austria is featured on the obverse 1851
Austrian 1 Kruezer. It was the first time the denomination
had been struck since 1816, and was one of the first coins of Emperor
Franz-Joseph I, Franz-Joseph reigned for almost 68 years,
until his death in 1916. During his reign Austria lost its
possessions in Italy in the Italian Wars of Independence in 1859 and
1866. Its defeat in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 lead to
the unification of Germany under Prussia. After this rocky
beginning of his reign, a forty-eight year period of peace
prevailed in Austria until the start of World War I in 1914.
The reverse of the 23mm copper coin features the denomination and
AT-1KR AUSTRIA 1 KREUZER 1851
UNCIRCULATED COIN OF FINLAND
1936 copper 5 Penni coin from Finland is in Uncirculated condition. The
18mm coin has the lion from the coat-of-arms of Finland. The
crowned lion holding a sword and trampling on a saber dates back to
about 1580. The other side features the shows the
denomination. The name of the nation does not appear on the
coin. The coin has a mintage of 2.61 million. It is
a very reasonably priced for an Uncirculated copper coin that is almost
80 years old.
FI-5P FINLAND 5 PENNI 1936 KM22 UNC.
UNCIRCULATED WORLD WAR II COIN OF FINLAND
UNCIRCULATED SILVER COIN FROM FINLAND'S CIVIL WAR
THE MYSTEROUS DEATH OF
THE YOUNG KING
Mahidol (Rama VIII) became the King of Siam at age 9 in 1935
upon the abdication of his Uncle. He was attending school in
Switzerland at the time. He did not return to Siam until
1938. In 1939 he formally changed the name of the country
to Thailand. He again left the country shortly
of World War II and did not return until December 1945, after the end
of the war. On June 9, 1946 he was found dead in his bed in
the royal palace with a bullet wound to his head. It is unclear if it
was murder, suicide or an accident as details of his death have been
suppressed. Probably the last person to see him alive was
Bhumibol Adulyadej, the present King of Thailand, who visited him some
20 minutes before the body was found. This tin 25
Satang bears the child’s-head of Ananda Mahidol on one side and a
mythical Garuda bird on the other. The coin is dated BE2489
(1946). The coin has virtually no wear, however it will be
toned or tarnished as is typical of tin coins.
TH-66 THAILAND 25 SATANGS 1946 CHILD’S HEAD
UNCIRCULATED COIN FROM THE KINGDOM BULGARIA
This 1912 Uncirculated
Bulgarian Bronze 1 Stotinka was found in the basement of a church in
Sophia, Bulgaria. The coins were probably hidden there at the
beginning of World War I, then forgotten. One side of the
has the arms of the Kingdom of Bulgaria, the other has the denomination
and date. Even after almost 100 years the coin still retains
of its original red luster. We are pleased to offer the coin
less than half of its $16.00 catalog value!
BULGARIA 1 STOTINKA 1912
COINS OF COMMUNIST BULGARIA
FOR MORE HISTORICAL OLD COINS, PLEASE SEE:
OLD COINS OF ANNAM
SILVER COIN FROM FINLAND’S
INDIA and PAKISTAN
COINS OF THE
2400 YEARS OF CHINESE COINS and
OF DEAD NATIONS
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