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First 8 Reales of Peru

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries August ANA World’s Fair of Money auction is
just days away, and the anticipation has reached critical mass. For our final
highlight we have chosen this
First 8 Reales of Peru. Lima, sometimes considered the most
aristocratic colonial capital, received authorization for its mint in 1565, though
coinage production did not begin until 1568. The mint in Lima operated sporadically,
sometimes with decades in between mintages.


The Pillar side design (as with most Spanish Colonial issues of the time) depicts
the famous “Pillars of Hercules” which marked the Strait of Gibraltar
separating the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. According to Greek mythology
these pillars served as barriers to the outer – and then unknown — sea, and
were inscribed “Non plus ultra” or ‘nothing further beyond.’ These Pillars were
adopted by Carlos I as the supporters for his coat of arms, but with a modified
motto of “Plus Ultra” or ‘further beyond.’ This was encouragement to go past
the defined borders of the world, and establish the gateway to a new Spanish
controlled empire beyond the Pillars.

The actual design on this coin shows two pillars surmounted by crowns in
the center of the coin, with text stretching across; “PL – VS V – LT(RA)”
(which is one form of shorthand for the motto). The large numeral 8 below the
motto represents the denomination 8 Reales. The entire central design is
bordered by a beaded circle, with the outer legend of “: NIARVM . ET INDIARUM .
REX” just beyond. The Shield side proudly displays the Spanish Royal Arms: the
joint Castile and Leon, quartered, with a pomegranate below, all surmounted by
a crown. The Assayer’s initial “R” appears just to the left of the shield. The
entire design is contained within a beaded border, with the outer legend just
beyond. “PHILIPVS . II . D . HISPA.” When this legend is attached to the Pillar
side legend, the royal title is fully expressed: “Philip II, by the Grace of
God, King of Spain and the Indies.” A single “X” test mark can be
seen between the pillars, and is likely contemporary to the era the coin was
produced, with no indication of patina variation in or around the mark. This
coin is of significant historical interest and is missing from nearly all
collections, even the most advanced. Overall this choice piece from the
beginnings of the Spanish Colonial coinage of Peru is sure to draw considerable
interest from collectors of this era.

The entire Stack’s Bowers Galleries ANA World’s Fair of Money sale can be
viewed
here. Though August auction is no longer open for consignments,
we are now accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our January
2017 New York International Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins
and currency for our April 2017 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. If you are
interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole
collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment
directors.


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