8 reale Bolivia

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Swervo513, Jun 5, 2023.

  1. Swervo513

    Swervo513 Well-Known Member

    Hi all,

    Just bought this coin and was looking to get more details on it. Any information is appreciated. But I would like to get some specific date ranges since this assayer was in and out of commission a couple of times. And a valuation would also help!

    thanks and enjoy
    7A94D9EB-3A06-4A16-8E30-083DF1F9E4CB.jpeg 811EE8A0-C93E-487D-BA90-2242E29E1587.jpeg
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  3. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Hello Larry

    Sorry not responding sooner.

    Your 8 reales cob is a very interesting coin. It was minted in Potosi in what is now Bolivia. The assayer is Juan Ximenez de Tapia (T). The strike is very bold and well centered for these coins.

    There are a few interesting things going on with your coin. On the obverse he mint mark, P, was re-punched over a retrograde P. On the reverse the lions and castles are transposed. Also, some of the obverse legend is visible, which is not seen too often. I'm not sure if "VNRR" makes any sense or not. Often the legends are quite garbled during this period of increasingly crude coinage.

    Your coin lacks a date, which should be visible on the reverse from about 10 to 12 o'clock. This is quite normal, given the flan size. There is a Greek cross between the P and T on the obverse. Later cobs generally have a dot or no dot between the two letters in the 1620s and beyond.

    I would put the coin in the year 1621 based on stylistic similarities with the cobs illustrated in Emilio Paoletti's reference on Potosi coinage (2nd edition), possibly No. 161. That would place your coin in the reign of Philip III.

    To give you an idea just how crude these coins got over the years, here's a cob from 1626, Potosi, assayer P (Martin de Palencia).

    Starting in 1629 and running for a few years, the quality of the coins did improve, but that did not last, with overall quality declining and deliberate debasing the rule at this mint until the trial in 1649 of one assayer and reform of the coinage starting in 1652, leading to some return to higher quality coinage.

    26.52 grams

    D-Camera Potosi 8 reales 1626 P philIV KM19A 26.52g sedwick 5-17 3-12-22.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2023
  4. Swervo513

    Swervo513 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the amazing response. Any idea what it’s valued at?
  5. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    The price of cobs have shot up in value over the past few years, fueled like other coins by buyer demand, both collector and investor, for nice examples such as your coin. It seems that having the coin slabbed makes it more attractive, especially at auction. You should track prices through website such as Sedwickcoins.com where semiannual auctions are held. Dan Sedwick specializes in Latin American coinage.

    I'd say conservatively the value for your coin would be in the neighborhood of $500, if slabbed perhaps more, but the caveat here is that the market is fluid, with an apparent upward trend in prices right now.

    Now, having mentioned slabbing the coin through NGC or PCGS, personally I don't like them, but that's a personal opinion. I always like to hold the coin in hand and not a chunk of plastic.

    By the way, do you have the weight of your coin?
    eddiespin likes this.
  6. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    You must do your homework on coins like these. I suspect this is not genuine. The overall flatness than enables the full details to be seen is very unusual and the perfect centering of the design in the second picture is highly suspicious. You will see what I mean if you start looking at auction results from reputable coin auction sites (i.e. not eBay).

    Definitely reach out to Dan Sedwick for an opinion.

    I suspect where you bought this from and what you paid will also be very revealing as to possible authenticity.
    eddiespin likes this.
  7. Bardolph

    Bardolph Active Member

    There are four puzzling aspects to this coin:

    1. The letters RRN (or possibly VRRN) on the reverse. As far as I am aware, there is no legend on any Spanish coin of the period where there are two letter Rs together.

    2. The arms of Castille and Leon are, quarterly, 1st and 4th, a triple turreted castle, 2nd and 3rd, a lion rampant. That these positions are reversed is extremely surprising, to put it mildly.

    3. The third possible anomaly is the mintmark itself. The letter P for Potosi is a straightforward, plain letter P without the flourishes seen on this coin. I must admit however that I have a vague memory in the back of my mind that I may have seen this sort of embellished P once before - but if so, I cannot find it on the net. I have also checked Lima, which used a single plain P as its mintmark on the left hand side of the obverse in 1572-73, and then a P in the same position but with a small star on the right hand side, above the assayer's initial, from circa 1573 to 1592. I also checked La Plata (or Sucre) which used a plain P mintmark from 1573.

    4. Finally, in spite of these strange differences, I have to admit that this coin somehow manages to look genuine.

    How can this be? I think the answer may be that it is a Rochuna.

    OK, so first a little history. The Potosi mint began to cause serious problems even before celebrating the 50th anniversary of its foundation, somewhere between 1573 and 1575. The viceroy, Diego Fernandez de Cordoba (1622-29) wrote to Felipe IV reminding him of the problems in the mint during the reign of Felipe III and wrote “continua la mala administracion [de la ceca] de Potosi.” The Casa de Concentracion in Sevilla also noted that silver coins from Potosi did not meet the legal requirement of 0,930 fineness. The assayers were replaced.

    The next viceroy was Luis Jeronimo Fernandez de Cabrera (1629-39). His family were the perpetual treasurers of the Segovia mint and as such his father was the prime mover in the establishment of the new mint in Segovia in 1583 (for milled coins) and Luis Jeronimo himself is known to have often visited the two Segovia mints. As viceroy, he was involved in a long, losing struggle, to impose his authority on the Potosi mint. Towards the end of his period of service, he began periodical inspections and sent critical reports to Madrid.

    The following viceroy, Pedro de Alvarez de Toledo (1639 -48) arrived in Lima in December 1639 and was promptly informed of all manners of irregularities - but rather than put an end to them decided to join in with the culprits and take a share of their profits. But if he did nothing, other officials did. A report of 1646 consisting of 36 chapters detailed all manners of fraud and deceit, and the full participation of Pedro de Alvarez in the scam. He was recalled home and the new viceroy, the Conde de Salvatierra, put an end to more than 20 years of corruption.

    In this period, the most famous scandal was what was known as the Accidente de la Plata. On March 20th1641, Francisco Gomez de la Rocha, a Potosi based industrialist and dealer in silver, decided to mint his own coins using his own silver, in the Potosi mint, with the totally willing help of everybody – smelters, die makers, assayers, the mint master, the viceroy, etc. These coins are known as “rochunas” and their production went on until 1643, but the fraud was not discovered in Spain until mid-1644, when a consignment of 8 Potosi reales sent to Italy from Spain was rejected as being debased – the coins were so lacking in silver that the real value was 5 reales. This was the Accidente de Plata which caused Europe-wide, indeed world-wide damage to the reputation of Spanish coinage at the time was still the most widely used currency international trade

    An investigation in Spain (carried out by the Mint master of the Segovia mint) lasted until early 1645. The civil governor (corregidor) of Potosi was ordered in 1646 to carry out a detailed investigation in the mint, but he so delayed the investigation and invented excuses for his inaction that in 1648 Felipe IV ordered a final and definitive investigation. 119 people were found guilty, and de la Rocha and the Corregidor, among others, were hanged.

    Most of this information comes from Dr Glen Murray’s Cecas de Potosi y Lima, (published, Segovia 201). As he points out, there are, for obvious reasons, very few contemporary records or documents written by the criminals of Potosi, and the Spanish authorities had no interest in publicising the affair. Their main aim at the time was to round up and melt down all the rochunas and any other suspect coin from Potosi. For this reason, I have not been able to locate a coin similar to this one.

    A final consideration: counterfeiters have often tried to excuse themselves by claiming that they cannot be found guilty of counterfeiting as their “coins” are not identical to the real thing. My guess is that this coin was made the way it is - in the royal mint of Potosi - with the obvious differences noted above, in order to escape the gallows - hopefully, but in vain
  8. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    No response from the OP? In my experience, Dan Sedwick is quick to respond with an opinion.
  9. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    What did you pay for it?
  10. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    I agree that a photo the coin should be sent to Sedwick for his opinion. As for the garbled legend, the coins from this period (roughly 1610s to 1629) are noted for often times illegible legends and replacement of letters, as exemplified below.

    Potosi, Philip III, 8 reales, Undated (c. 1616-17), assayer M.
    KM 10
    27.13 grams

    On this coin the king's name is spelled "PHYLPVS".
    D-Camera Potosi 8 reales Undated (c. 1616-17) assayer M KM 10 27.13 grams 6-25-23.jpg

    Paoletti notes legend and other anomalies for this an subsequent assayers, including transposed letters, castles and lions and reversed elements in the shield's design, so I am not surprised by the illegible legend on the OP coin's obverse.

    The shape of the OP coin's flan seems consistent with those illustrated in Paoletti's reference for the cobs of this period. Weight information would give any indication of clipping, but I don't think that is the case for this coin.
  11. Marian ALex

    Marian ALex New Member

    I have 9 piece of this. watsup nr 0040725099998
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