Bolivia 1643-P TR 8 reales

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Stack's Bowers 2015 NYINC sale, lot 334
Bolivia Stacks Jan15-334r.jpg
This type was struck 1625-48 at Potosi. While silver cobs from Bolivia are very common, this early type is rare, as most were recalled and melted when it was discovered that the mint operators had been systematically debasing their issues, sometimes as low as .700 fine. This specimen was lot 334 in Stacks-Bowers NYINC sale (New York, January 2015), where it sold for $6,462.50. The catalog description[1] noted,
"BOLIVIA. 8 Reales Royal, 1643-P. Philip IV (1621-65). NGC EF-40. EXTREMELY RARE. Fully round presentation strike or 'Royal', struck on a specially prepared planchet. The exact reasoning as to why these specially made pieces were produced is unknown. Some theories include that these pieces were used to prove the minting quality of the coins from the mint. They were produced on specially manufactured cast round planchets, as opposed to cutting blanks from the end of a silver bar. Special care was also taken when they were struck, as they are nearly always executed with precision while centering the dies. Multiple theories about their purpose exist. For instance, it is possible that they were then submitted for inspection to the Viceroy, and possibly even the King of Spain himself. While feasible, there is evidence that rebukes this theory. For instance, some "Royals" exist with Central American countermarks from the 19th century, hence they were never sent to Spain for inspection. The current belief is that these were specially commissioned pieces, produced for ceremonial purposes or special events. One contemporary document discusses specially made coinage that was given out as gifts during a Royal wedding. In this case, the men were given 8 Reales, while the women were given 4 Reales. Regardless of their intended purpose, it is clear that these are specially made coins, that vary greatly in their method of manufacture than that of the traditional circulating coinage of the time. Small hole at 1 o'clock that has been expertly repaired and virtually undetectable (evident when compared with the rubbing of the Lazaro plate coin, where the hole was still present). An attractive and pleasing example of an early Potosi Royal. Some minor central weakness, yet overall details bold and clear. Struck on a large round planchet, with full legends on both sides. Bold and clear date, variant with legend stop on reverse made up of five small dots. An EXTREMELY RARE piece, with fewer than a half dozen examples estimated to exist."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 27.07 g, .931 fine silver (if full fineness), .810 troy oz AGW, this specimen 26.6 grams.

Catalog reference: Cayón no. 6364, KM-R19a; Laz-104 (plate coin)R4.


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
  • Cayón, Adolfo, Clemente Cayón and Juan Cayón, Las Monedas Españolas, del Tremis al Euro: del 411 a Nuestros Dias, 2 volumes, Madrid: Cayón9-Jano S.L., 2005.
  • Calicó, Xavier, Numismática Española: Catálogo General con Precios de Todas las Monedas Españolas Acuñadas desde Los Reyes Católicos Hasta Juan Carlos I, 1474 a 2001, Barcelona: Aureo & Calicó, 2008.
  • [1]Ponterio, Richard, The January 2015 NYINC Auction: Ancient Coins, World Coins & Paper Money, Featuring the John W. Adams and Ray Czabor Collections, Irvine, CA: Stack's Bowers LLC, 2014.

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