Bolivia 1769-PTS JR 4 reales
This is one of a series struck 1767-70 during the reign of Charles III (1759-88). Gilboy lists the date as "normal" (more than 500 pieces known to exist) with numerous varieties recorded. The specimen shown is a "fancy 9/8," and is a slightly scarcer variety. 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 (Gilboy estimates about 72,000).
Specification: 13.54 g, .917 fine silver, .399 troy oz ASW.
Catalog reference: Gilboy P-4-3c, 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.
- 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.
- 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.