Spain 1838-B PS 4 reales

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Aureo sale 261, lot 644
This specimen was lot 644 in Aureo y Calicó sale 261 (Barcelona, July 2014), where it sold for €190 (about US$305 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[1] noted,
"1838. Isabel II. Barcelona. PS. 4 reales. Escasa asi. MBC+. (Isabel II, 1833-68, four reales of 1838, Barcelona mint. Scarce in this grade, very fine or better.)"
This specimen was struck in Barcelona in 1838 to the "vellon" standard. The type was struck in Barcelona 1838-47, in Madrid 1837-49 and Seville 1837-45; the Barcelona issues are the most common. The "de vellon" coinage system, used in Spain 1808-50, set twenty 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. In 1850 the currency was decimalized and the twenty reales reduced to 26.91 grams.

Recorded mintage: unknown (a better date).

Specification: 5.416 g, .896 fine silver, .156 troy oz ASW. The SCWC lists this type as 13.54 g, which is manifestly wrong for this coin, which is lighter than a quarter.

Catalog reference: KM 519.1, Cal. 261.


  • 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.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • [1]Sisó, Teresa, Eduardo Domingo and Lluís Lalana, Subasta Pública 261, Barcelona: Aureo y Calicó Subastas, 2014.

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