Bolivia 1727-P Y 8 reales

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Goldberg sale 59, lot 3671
photo courtesy Ira & Larry Goldberg
Heritage sale 3015, lot 23609
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries
The first specimen was lot 3671 in Goldberg sale 59 (Beverly Hills, June 2010), where it did not sell. The catalog description noted[1],

"Bolivia. 'Royal' 8 Reales, 1727 P-Y (Potosi). Louis I, 1724. Crowned Cross of Jerusalem, quartering arms of Castille and Leon, all in quadrilobe. Reverse: Crowned pillars over waves. Well struck and centered, on small flan of excellent metal. Flan nice and round. Three dates visible. Legends nearly completely visible, and rare thus. A very handsome 'Royal' of itself, let alone for this ephemeral king too. Extremely Rare - the rarest of all the Spanish kings. NGC graded MS-61.

Philip V, the first Bourbon king of Spain, abdicated his throne in favor of his son Louis I in 1724. Unfortunately, young king Louis died the same year after a reign of only 7 months, with Philip resuming rule once more. Louis' coins are the Classic Rarity of the the vast Imperial Spanish coinages, even though the Potosi mint struck cobs in his name from 1725 to 1727. Mexico, the only other country to issue in his name, struck 8 Reales of the earlier type from 1724 to1725. To date, this is the finest 8 Reales of Louis I (Note: the holed example in Krause, p. 57, realized $30,000 in a Ponterio sale in the late 80's or early 90's). Illustrated in Money of the World, coin 150. Ex Millennia, Lot 940."

The second specimen was lot 23609 in Heritage sale 3015 (Long Beach, September 2011), where it sold for $1,495. The catalog description[2] noted,
"Luis I cob 8 Reales 1727-Y, Paoletti 362, toned VF, a choice example and not a sea salvage piece, three dates including 27 in the obverse peripheral legend and clear P mintmark and Y assayer on both sides with the VI of Luis readable on the reverse. Very rare type and an exceptional specimen."

Royals are known of this type from the Potosi mint but all are rare. The regular cob issues are not nearly as nice (see the second specimen). The years 1649-52 were a period of reform at the Potosi mint; it was found that the previous mintmasters in office 1625-48 had been debasing the cobs, a crime for which one official paid with his life.

Recorded mintage: unknown but few.

Specification: 27.07 g, .931 fine silver, .810 troy oz ASW; this specimen: 26.87 grams.

Catalog reference: Cayón-9299, WR-10; KM-R35 (royal), KM 35 (regular crude issue).


  • [1]Goldberg, Ira, and Larry Goldberg, Goldberg Sale 59: the pre-Long Beach sale, Beverly Hills, CA: Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, 2010.
  • Cayón, Adolfo, Clemente Cayón and Juan Cayón, Las Monedas Españolas, del Tremis al Euro: del 411 a Nuestros Dias, 2 volumes, Madrid: Cayón-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.
  • Krause, Chester L., and Colin R. Bruce II, Standard Catalog of World Coins: Spain, Portugal and the New World, Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2002.
  • [2]Cristiano Bierrenbach and Warren Tucker, Heritage World Coin Auction 3015, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2011.

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