Bolivia 1770-PTS JR 1/2 real

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from the Acanthite collection
from the Acanthite collection

This is one of a series struck 1767-70 during the reign of Charles III (1759-88). Gilboy[1] lists the date as "normal" with one variety recorded. It is the most commonly encountered date in the series.

The pillar half real is somewhat scarce although all dates are available. Harris[2] 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[1] 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 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: 200,871.

Specification: 1.69 g, 0.917 fine silver, 0.049 troy oz ASW.

Catalog reference: Gilboy P-05-4, KM 46.


  • [1] Gilboy, Frank F., The Milled Columnarios of Central and South America: Spanish American Pillar Coinage, 1732 to 1772, Regina, Saskatchewan: Prairie Wind Publishing, 1999.
  • [2] Harris, Robert P., Pillars & Portraits, San José, CA: Bonanza Press, 1968.
  • Krause, Chester L., and Colin R. Bruce II, Standard Catalog of World Coins: Spain, Portugal and the New World, Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2002.

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