Types of Spanish Coins


The vast majority of Spanish coins that circulated in the US were from the American Spanish colonial countries. There were three main types of Spanish colonial silver coins (gold and copper coins were not used as vignettes on US obsolete notes): cob, pillar, and bust. Only the bust coinage is known to have been used on US obsolete notes. The Spanish colonial countries responsible for most of the coinage--and all of it that serves as depictions on US notes with the exception of the homeland Spain 20 reales coin--are Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala.  The origin of the coin is determined by the mintmark on the reverse of the coin.

 

Mintmark and Assayer

Each country appointed assayers--usually a pair--whose responsibility it was to assure the purity of the coin metal and the accuracy of the coins' weight.  The assayers' initials appear on the coins near the mintmark.

While the minting date doesn't always appear on cobs, it is on all the later types.  However, since the obsolete note coin vignettes use the reverse, or non-date, side of the coin, the date is invisible.  The range of possible dates for the coins in the vignettes can be determined from the mintmark/assayer combination, since it is usually known when the assayers were active.

For the bust coinage, mintmarks, the associated country, assayers' marks, and the date range for coins bearing these marks are shown in the following table: 

Country/Assayer 8 reales 4 reales 2 reales 1 real 1/2 real
 
Mexico
FM 1772-1778 
1783-1801
1772-1777 
1784-1801 
1803
1772-1777 
1784-1801
1772-1777 
1785-1802
1772-1777 
1783-1800
FF 1777-1784 1778-1784 1778-1784 
1786
1778-1785 
1787-1788
1777-1784
FT 1801-1803 1801-1803 1801-1803 1801-1803 1801-1803
TH 1803-1810 1804-1808 
1810
1804-1813 1804-1810 1803-1810 
1813
HJ 1809-1813 1809-1812 1810-1813 1810-1815 1810-1813
JJ 1812-1821 1816-1821 1812-1821 1812-1821 1813-1821
 
Peru (Lima mint)
JM 1772-1774 
1824
1772-1773 1772-1773 1772-1773 
1782
1772-1773
MJ 1773-1780 1773-1780 1774-1780 1773-1780 1773-1780
MI 1780-1787 1780-1787 1780-1788 1780-1787 1780-1787
IJ 1787-1803 1787-1803 1787-1804 1787-1804 1787-1803 
1805
JP 1803-1824 1804-1821 1803-1823 1803-1823 1803-1821
 
Bolivia
JR 1774-1776 1773-1776 1773-1776 1773-1776 1772-1776
PR 1776-1795 1776-1795 1776-1795 1776-1795 1776-1795
PP 1795-1802 1795-1802 1795-1802 1795-1803 1795-1802
PJ 1803-1824 1803-1825 1803-1825 1803-1824 1803-1824
JP 1823        
JL 1825 1825 1825 1825 1823, 1825
J 1824-1825 1825 1825    
 
Guatemala
P 1772-1784 1772-1783 1772-1783 1772-1783 1772-1783
M 1785-1821 1785-1821 1785-1821 1785-1821 1785-1821

Spanish Bust CoinTo the Spanish Coins on American Notes home page


Last Updated: June 16, 1997