Bolivia 1767-PTS JR 1/2 real
This is one of a series struck 1767-70 during the reign of Charles III (1759-88). Gilboy lists the date as "scarce" (less than 500 pieces known to exist) with several varieties recorded.
The pillar half reales is somewhat scarce although all dates are available. Harris lists the Charles III pillar half reales in order of abundance: Mexico (very common), Lima, Potosi (scarce), Guatemala (scarce), Santiago (very rare). Altho the SCWC lists the half real as the cheapest of the pillar denominations, Harris notes it as the scarcest. Specimens in high grade are very rare. In 1771, milled coinage was suspended at the Potosi mint in favor of the resumption of cob production. The mintmaster was rebuked for this and forced to return to milling coins in 1773 with the introduction of portrait coinage.
Mexican numismatists hotly debate which side of the coin constitutes the obverse. Gilboy depicts the shield side as the obverse as that side bears the king's name. However, auction catalogs and dealer listings more frequently use the pillars and globes side as the obverse, as that side bears the date.
Note that the pillar half reales and cob half reales were struck in Potosi in the same year. They are priced about the same in the SCWC.
Recorded mintage: unknown (Gilboy estimates about 48,000 pillars).
Specification: 1.69 g, .917 fine silver, .049 troy oz ASW.
Catalog reference: Gilboy P-05-1, KM 46.
- Gilboy, Frank F., The Milled Columnarios of Central and South America: Spanish American Pillar Coinage, 1732 to 1772, Regina, Saskatchewan: Prairie Wind Publishing, 1999.
- Yonaka, Brad, A Variety Guide to the Pillar Coinage of the Guatemala, Bogota, Lima, Potosi, and Santiago Mints, 1752-1771, Long Beach, CA: Agorocu Consulting, 2018.
- Harris, Robert P., Pillars & Portraits, San José, CA: Bonanza Press, 1968.
- Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.