Mexico 1733-Mo F 4 reales

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image courtesy Stack's Bowers

This 1733 four reales from the Mexico City mint is an example of the early design for pillar fractionals, where the obverse legend surrounds the periphery. In addition, this type displays only the F assayer to the left of the shield. Gilboy[1] lists this variety as extremely rare, with only a few pieces known to exist. This specimen was lot 458 in Stack's Bowers Winter 2014 Baltimore sale, where it sold for $2,585. The catalog description[2] noted, "MEXICO. 4 Reales, 1733/2-MoF. Philip V (1700-46). NGC EF Details--Holed. EXTREMELY RARE single letter assayer. From the David Gray Collection. Ex: Ponterio & Associates Sale #130, Lot #731. Ex: Gerber Collection."

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.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 13.54 g, .917 fine silver, 0.399 troy oz ASW.

Catalog reference: Cayón-9070, Cal-type-179#1044 (Plate coin); Gilboy M-4-2a, KM 95.


  • [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.
  • 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.
  • Yonaka, Brad, A Variety Guide to the Fractional Pillar Coinage of Mexico City, 1732-1771, Long Beach, CA: Agorocu Consulting, 2017.
  • [2]Ponterio, Richard, and Kent Ponterio, Stack's Bowers Galleries, The Winter 2014 Baltimore Auction Baltimore, MD: Stack's Bowers, 2014.
  • Harper, David C., ed., North American Coins & Prices: A Guide to U. S., Canadian and Mexican Coins, 17th Ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2007.
  • Harris, Robert P., Pillars & Portraits, San José, CA: Bonanza Press, 1968.

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