Tag Archives: spanish coins

Quick Guide to Collecting Spanish Coins

Spanish Coins - Gold DoubloonsReales, Doubloons, Escudos. The names of these Spanish coins evoke images of pirates on the high seas after plundering a ship, or digging up buried treasure. But, believe it or not, these are some of the names of some of the most sought after historical coins in existence. Spanish silver and gold coins are stories of Spain’s rich history. With them showing the different kings, queens, and other historical figures that were pertinent throughout Spain’s past. If you plan on collecting Spanish coins you should also learn about the various materials used, the age, and how to determine their condition. Spanish coins can be worth millions or pennies depending on the type, condition, and metals used.

Spanish Coins storied past

Spain’s coinage dates back over two thousand years, to ancient Greece and Rome. Spain has been occupied by numerous groups, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Celts, Romans, and many many more. Each time one of these group took over their own country’s coins became Spain’s. One of the oldest Spanish coins is the Maravedi. This coin was the gold standard for 750 years along with its sister coin the silver Reale. Currently, Spain is part of the EU and uses the euro as its standard currency.

Valuing Spanish Coins

Professional coin graders can determine the state of preservation and wear of a specific coin. Additionally, the worth of the coins can range dramatically depending on the type of coin, age, material, and condition. Gold coins, such as escudos and doubloons, will hold the highest value undoubtedly due to their composition. Centimos will generally not be worth much, but reales and pesetas in good condition might sell for a handsome sum depending in how good of condition they’re in. Also, the older and rarer a Spanish coin is, the higher its value will be.

If you are planning on starting a Spanish coin collection, you should remember that most gold coins will be in uncirculated condition, while bronze, copper, and silver coins will often be in fine to circulated conditions. Also, ALWAYS REMEMBER TO ASK FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY! Especially when buying an expensive coin.

How to Buy Spanish Coins

Buying Spanish coins can be as simple as visiting your local coin dealer and looking at their selection if they carry them. However, for numismatists outside of Spain, you might only find local coins. You can also search for them online, particularly through internet shops for collectors as well as auction sites. When buying online, don’t be afraid to ask the seller for a certificate of authenticity or about the history of the coin and its condition. Always do your homework and when in doubt, ask a professional coin dealer for help.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on Google+.

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The Jolly Roger Flag, Pirate Coins and More!

Jolly Roger Pirate Grunge FlagDespite what you may think, pirates were much more than people who committed robbery at sea. Pirates were free men and women who thrived for independence and adventure! They directed their ships where they pleased and stayed for as long as they wished.

The Golden Age of Piracy was active from 1650-1720. During this time, piracy flourished in Caribbean cities such as Port Royal and Tortuga, due to the lack of legal structure in these English and French settlements. Legendary pirates like Blackbeard and Bartholomew Roberts left us with many fascinating items including the Jolly Roger flag, the eye-patch and pirate coins!

What is a pirate?

Pirates today are seen as cool, rum drinking, peg legged, scoundrels. In reality, pirates were hardworking and skilled in boat construction, sailing and hunting. Also called corsairs or buccaneers, pirates have existed since the ancient times. Most pirates targeted ships and some attacked coastal towns. For years, pirates threatened the trading routes of Ancient Greece and seized cargoes of grain and olive oil from Roman ships. In the Americas, pirates openly traded smuggled goods with the colonies. In return, merchants made money by selling crucial pirate items, like flour.

The pirate culture

A pirate ship was like a thriving democracy. The captain was hand picked by the crew and could be disposed of for poor performance, including not finding adequate treasures. If disposed, the captain might be lowered in status to first mate or forced overboard to find his way to shore. In a world full of class structure and segregation, a pirate ship was considered a multi-cultural society. With a mixture of English, French, Dutch, and Portuguese seaman, there was essentially no discrimination. Even blacks were allowed aboard.

Pirate coins

SilverPirateCoinsB-GACCThere is much evidence that pirates in fact carried coinage. The majority of pirates bartered with ancient Spanish or Dutch gold and silver coins. One particular pirate coin was the “pirate piece of eight,” also known as the Spanish colonial Pillar Dollar. The profit acquired by being a pirate made it a successful line of business. Wealthy businessmen were notorious for financing this legitimized piracy in return for a piece of the pie. For a poor man, there were few other promising career choices at the time apart from joining a pirate ship!

While much has been written about pirates, it was only over the last 40 years or so that salvaged ships have began to surface, exposing different kinds of coins that may have been looted. From a numismatic perspective, the uncharted seas only make pirate coins more fascinating!

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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