An Introduction to US Coins
The official “bible” of the coin world is the Red Book (A Guide book of United State Coins by R.S. Yeoman). On page 10 of the 2012 edition is the title “An Introduction to United States Coinage” .. and right below it is a picture of the Spanish 8 Reale. It is the 1st coin shown and discussed. As referenced in the book this colonial dollar has a special place in romantic fiction unequaled by any other coin.
The Blue Print
The old phrase .. “two bits, four bits, 8 bits a buck” is a derived from this coin. The one-half, one, two, and four reales .. the fractional parts of the dollar were the principle coins of the American colonists. Thomas Jefferson, the principle author of the Declaration of Independence, and our third President, was the individual who recommended to the Continental Congress the Spanish 8 Reale be used as our monetary unit of value. It was common practice for our original 13 colonies when issuing paper money to back it with the Spanish Dollars. The first issue of Continental paper money ( May 10th, 1775 ) referenced the notes should be payable in “Spanish Milled Dollars or a value thereof in gold or silver”. Congress didn’t authorize the establishment of a “Mint” to strike our own coins until 1792.
Our Dollar Sign
Did you know the dollar sign is from the reverse side (back side) of the colonial 8 reale. The coins, depicting the Pillars of Hercules over two hemispheres and a small "S"- shaped ribbon around each. For the sake of simplicity, traders wrote signs that, instead of saying dollar or peso, had this symbol made by hand, and this in turn evolved into a simple S with two vertical bars.
Legal Tender until the Mid 1800s
The 8 reale was official legal tender in the United States until the passage of the Coin Act of 1857. The act introduced the new “small cent” into circulation and retired the Spanish silver coins from circulation. It took almost 60 years of production by the Mint in Philadelphia to create enough of our own coinage for us to stand alone.
These are Scarce
When is the last time you found a wheat cent ( copper ) or a 90% silver dime, quarter, or half dollar in circulation. These coins haven’t been in circulation for 50 years ... the 8 reales have been out of circulation for over 150 years! Each of our coins are hand selected circulated pieces ... each guaranteed authentic.
You will recieve this historic time piece in an airtite holder, to protect it's value, and then enclosed in a custom black box.