Spain 1810-M RS 320 reales

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Heritage sale 3021, lot 22735
Spain 1810M 320 reales rev Heritage 3021-22735.jpg

This specimen was lot 22735 in Heritage sale 3021 (New York, January 2013), where it sold for $17,625. The catalog description[1] noted, "Jose Napoleon Bonaparte gold 320 Reales 1810 Madrid-RS, Filleted head facing left with date below / Crowned arms, AU55 NGC. The portrait is strong and pleasing and the fields are essentially mark free, and displaying strong luster. Some reddish brown toning in the recesses helps highlight the features of Joseph, Napoleon's older brother. This coin is scarce in all grades, but truly rare in this state of preservation. Ex: Millennia Collection sale." This Spanish 320 reales de vellon was struck in Madrid during the regime of José Napoleon, the French emperor's older brother. The "de vellon" coinage system, used 1808-50, set 20 reales = one peso instead of the traditional eight. The coins minted using that standard were not marked in any way different from the concurrent eight reales standard, a source of confusion for collectors today, It must have been a major irritant for the inhabitants of the time. This type was struck 1810-12 to the standard of the old eight escudos. The gold coins of Joseph's regime are scarce to rare, likely because Napoleon was extracting large quantities of gold for the French war machine.

Recorded mintage: 64,000 (including assayer AI).

Specification: 27.07 g, .875 fine gold, .761 troy oz ASW.

Catalog reference: Cayón-14730, KM 545.


  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and David Michaels, Heritage World and Ancient Coins Auction 3021, featuring the Cecil Webster, Richard P. Ariagno and Elizabeth McPhall Charters Collection, Dallas: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2012.
  • 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.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.
  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.

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