Bolivia 1767-PTS JR 4 reales
This specimen was lot 20235 in Heritage sale 3010 (Boston, August 2010), where it sold for $1,840. The catalog description noted, "Carlos III Pillar 4 Reales 1767JR, sharp AU, exceptionally bold and attractive, lightly toned with some underlying faint hairlines. Very rare grade for this date." This is one of a series struck 1767-70 during the reign of Charles III (1759-88). Gilboy lists the date as "scarce".
The four reales is the scarcest colonial denomination although all dates are available except for the rare 1767 date. Harris lists the Charles III pillar four reales in order of abundance: Mexico, Potosi, Guatemala, Lima (scarce), Santiago (very rare). 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.
Recorded mintage: unknown.
Specification: 13.54 g, .917 fine silver, .399 troy oz ASW.
Catalog reference: Gilboy P-4-1, KM 49.
- Gilboy, Frank F., The Milled Columnarios of Central and South America: Spanish American Pillar Coinage, 1732 to 1772, Regina, Saskatchewan: Prairie Wind Publishing, 1999.
- Harris, Robert P., Pillars & Portraits, San José, CA: Bonanza Press, 1968.
- Harper, David C., ed., North American Coins & Prices: A Guide to U. S., Canadian and Mexican Coins, 17th Ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2007.
- Tucker, Warren, Scott Cordry and John Kraljevich, Heritage Sale 3010: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2010.