An 8 escudos of Ferdinand VII, Mexico, 1809 HJ and a few insurgent coins of the War of Independence

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by robinjojo, Jan 28, 2022.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Ferdinand VII of Spain reduced.jpg

    This is an imaginary bust type coin of Ferdinand VII. Upon his assent to the Spanish throne, official portrait dies were not yet available, so the die cutters at the Mexico City Mint, as well as Lima and Santiago had to resort to improvised portraits, which varied considerably, especially comparing the Lima imaginary busts and those of Mexico City.

    The War for Independence was commencing when this gold coin was minted, a bloody conflict that lasted until independence from Spain was finally achieved in 1821. During this conflict, both sides produced a wide variety of coins ranging from the struck coins royalist mints to those of the insurgents, which were more often than not quite crude, produced as struck or cast coins, sometimes with counterstamps.

    Here are a few insurgent coins.

    The first three coins were minted by Morelos, a Catholic priest and revolutionary leader, who assumed the head of the revolutionary forces upon the execution of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla by the Spanish colonialists in 1811.

    Morelos, Mexican War for Independence.jpg

    A copper "SUD" of Morelos, 1813, hammer struck.

    D-Camera Mexico Morelos SUD AE 8 reales 1813 19g 1980s EF 9-19-21.jpg

    A copper "SUD" of Morelos, TC (Tierra Caliente), 1813, hammer struck.

    D-Camera Mexico Morelos copper SUD TC 1813 cal state show 5-89 1-28-22.jpg

    A cast silver 8 reales "SUD" of Morelos, 1813. Ex Richard Long, Auction 87, lot 159.

    D-Camera Mexico Morelos silver SUD  1813 ex Richard Long 87 159 1-28-22.jpg

    A cast 8 reales based on a Mexico City coin of Charles IV, with counterstamps, Congress of Chilpancingo (convened September 1813 to November 1813). and LVS.

    KM 281

    D-Camera Mexico Cong of Chilpanzingo and LVS 8r ND KM 281 Pontero 24.6g 9-19-21.jpg

    And the featured coin of this thread:

    This 8 escudos, with its fine peripheral toning, was purchased from Karl Stephens in January 1997. It is a variety, with a dot following "ET" in the obverse legend.

    Ferdinand VII, 1809
    Assayer HJ
    8 escudos, imaginary bust type
    Mexico City Mint
    KM 160
    F 47

    27.0 grams

    D-Camera Ferdinand VII 8 escudos Mexico 1809HJ 27g KM160 KS 1-28-22.jpg

    Please post your imaginary bust coins, coins from the wars of independence and anything else you wish. Thanks.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2022
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  3. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Nice examples/ great writeup robinjojo:)
    Here are some of mine 1db2eb45225db055b91b547a4599bb58.jpg 2eb0e01779485d1c01f48ba93296d867.jpg 8-escudos-mexico-1808-th-xc-43-3084581.jpg
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  4. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

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  5. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    I have several of the SUD coins as well and pick them up when I can find them.

  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

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  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I really like those Imaginary Bust types. On silver, there seems to be three types, but I lack the reference books to attribute them; one was used from 1808-c. 1809, the other c. 1809-1811. Recently I picked up a couple of the third (?) type, from eBay. The price was right (under $50, which seems these days to be a bargain for low-grade 8 reales).

    They came in fancy "America's First Silver Dollar" fake-velvet-covered clamshell boxes from Washington Mint. As usual, they have a few chopmarks (which I like) and have been polished to a high, mirror-like finish (which I do not like). Maybe in another 200 years they will re-tone:oops:

    Mexico - 1809 & 1811 8 reales Dec 2021 (3).JPG
    Mexico - 1809 8 reales Dec 2021 (1).jpg
    Mexico - 1811 o 10 8 reales Dec 2021 (1).jpg

    The 1811 is an overdate type (1811/10) which was kind of a nice surprise, though not especially valuable:

    Mexico - 1811 o 10 8 reales Dec 2021 (2).jpg

    Here is an example of the first (or second?) type portrait. These seem to be a bit uncommon; it too has been polished, but no fancy clamshell box.

    Mexico - 1809 8 Reales $24.99 Fat Farm Buy Jun 2015ba.jpg

    If I am interpreting this right, the first type portrait has a very large eye, set down far on the face, and a slight trace of a double chin. The mouth is more frowny, rather than straight across. Sometime in 1809 this was changed to the other type - earlier type on left:

    Mexico - 1809 8 reales portrait types2.jpg

    I am saying three types of portraits because of this:

    "Yonaka-M8-108-VII - Gorgeous example of this abundant date in the Ferdinand VII Armored Bust series. Type A portrait, which is the most likely candidate for the first portrait design, as it occurs most frequently in 1808 and less so in 1809. This is also a sub-type with Ferdinand's mouth slightly open. An overall pleasing coin with a multicolored patina."


    "Yonaka-M8-109a, Calbeto-861 - Much more scarce combination of assayer initials. Type C portrait. Beautiful toning with a slightly weak strike, not unusual for the series."

    This information from PCSG

    So A, B and C type portraits? I can see a difference between two of them, but not sure where the third type comes in. Any more information on this would be much appreciated!
  8. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    There is a fourth type, which is "not authentic". Copies with very accurate designs have been and continue to be made. "Under $50" is a red flag.

    Knowing what to look for on the edge design and determining the coin's specific gravity are your best tools.
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  9. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    The edges have the "overlap" and like they are supposed to; weights are okay too. I'm not expert, but I have been handling these for 30+ years (back when they were $25 or less chopped!) and these two seemed okay - I especially liked seeing the overdate, which seems an unlikely detail for a low grade non-cast fake (and these are struck, not cast). Again, I'm no expert (and too lazy and inept to do a specific gravity test).

    As for eBay "red flags," there are a host of fakes out there for sure (and I have gotten burned in the past). On the other hand, some sellers put things in odd categories. In the case of the two boxed 8 reales I listed above, rather than being in Colonial Mexico, they were in Colonial USA, which probably reduced the number of eyeballs seeing them.
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  10. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    It is interesting that a major mint, such as Lima and Mexico City, had to resort to creating an imaginary bust for Ferdinand VII, or, in the case of Bogota, just continue minting the coins with the portrait of Charles IV, but change the obverse legend to Ferdinand VII. On the other hand, Potosi, Bolivia had the proper bust for Ferdinand VII right from the start, in 1808.

    I am sure that the disruptions caused by the fighting during the wars of independence in both Mexico and South America had an important role behind the need for imaginary busts for the coins of Ferdinand VII.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Speaking of specific gravity, how do you go about measuring it? I understand that there are electronic devices that will do this, but they are quite expensive and I am not sure how accurate they are.

    In the past I have used the water method, but I find it messy and not terribly accurate.
  12. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Here are two more 8 escudos from the wars for independence:

    Ferdinand VII, 1811
    Assayer FJ
    8 escudos, imaginary bust type
    Santiago Mint
    KM 72

    D-Camera Ferdinand VII 8 escudos So 1811FJ km72 anacs holder 1-30-22.jpg

    Starting in 1811, the portrait of Charles IV was introduced for the 8 escudos, replacing his legend for his son's, Ferdinand VII. While the proper bust of Ferdinand VII was used for the 8 reales, starting in 1812, it was never used by the Santiago Mint for the 8 escudos.

    Ferdinand VII, 1816
    Assayer FJ
    8 escudos, bust of Charles IV, legend of Ferdinand VII
    Santiago Mint
    KM 78

    D-Camera Ferdinand VII 8 escudos Santiago bust of Charles IV, 1816 27g 9-6-21.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2022
  13. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    The official design was stamped in a matrix block in Madrid and send out to the colonial mints. The disruption that caused the delay in sending out the the matrix blocks was not the wars of independence but the invasion of Spain by Napoleon. At one point during the conflict the government in exile retreated to Cádiz.


    None of the mints, including Potosi and Guatemala City had the proper bust in 1808. Potosi and Guatemala City continued to strike Charles IV coins with the 1808 date and chose to issue back dated coins with the proper bust of Ferdinand VI when the matrices finally arrived.

  14. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter


    I was aware that Guatemala produced proper bust coinage back dated to 1808, but wasn't aware that also applies to Potosi.

    For Potosi, Krause shows both the bust of Charles IV with his legend, as well as the proper bust of Ferdinand VII for the 8 reales of 1808.

    The Guatemala 8 reales, proper bust is a great rarity. Krause notes that an 1808 NG 8 reales, proper bust, sold for $14,300 in the December 1990 Superior auction.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2022
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  15. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    I find it strange that no one in Chile/ Colombia/ Bolivia/ Guatamala/ Mexico knew what Fernando VII looked like. Surely, some of the nobility in Colonial Spanish America upper echelons of society had been in Spain and where at the royal court/ seen the soon to be King in person/ or painted portraits.
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  16. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Thank you for that informative post. It explains why Potosi 8 reales dated 1808 are so common - years ago when I was collecting Spanish Colonial more aggressively I noticed this - 1808's were all over the price lists and catalogs. Now I know why!
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  17. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Mexico City also produced an imaginary bust for Ferdinand VI, in 1747, for the 8 escudos. Again it was a situation where word of the succession preceded any official portrait, so the engravers were left to devising one based on general descriptions.

    Here's a link to a further description of this rare coin:
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