BrianRxm Pirate Coins BrianRxm
Coins Associated with Pirates
Pieces of Eight, Doubloons, Guineas, Moidores, Joes, Louises
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Coins associated with pirates of the 18th and 19th century, also circulated in the American colonies.
 
The Spanish silver eight reales coin was the famous "piece of eight" and the basis for the United States dollar.
 
The Spanish gold eight escudos coin was the famous "doubloon".
 
The Portuguese gold 4000 reis was the "moidore" from "moeda de ouro" or "money of gold".
The gold 6400 reis coin was the "joe" or "half joe" named for for Johannes, the Latin name of
King João V (John V).
 
Most of these coins are mentioned in Robert Louis Stevenson's famous 1883 novel Treasure Island.
 
It was a strange collection, like Billy Bones's hoard for the diversity of coinage, but so much larger
and so much more varied that I think I never had more pleasure than in sorting them.
English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Georges, and Louises, doubloons and double guineas and
moidores and sequins, the pictures of all the kings of Europe for the last hundred years,
strange Oriental pieces stamped with what looked like wisps of string or bits of spider's web,
round pieces and square pieces, and pieces bored through the middle, as if to wear them
round your neck - nearly every variety of money in the world must, I think, have found a place
in that collection; and for number, I am sure they were like autumn leaves,
so that my back ached with stooping and my fingers with sorting them out.
Spain
Portugal
Great Britain
France
Netherlands
Turkey
Venice
Sir Francis Drake visits California
Argentinan Pirates raid California
Johnny Depp's "Pirates of the Caribbean" coin
 
Spanish America eight reales 1748 Mexico City
1. Spanish America silver eight reales "pillar" type 1748, Mexico City
 
Silver, 38mm, 26.86gm
 
Obverse:
Pillars and crowned worlds
VTRAQUE VNUM
Mo 1748 Mo (Mexico City Mint)
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Spain
FERDND VI D G HISPAN ET IND REX
MF 8 (Assayer initials, eight reales)
 
Spanish America eight reales 1770 Mexico City
2. Spanish America silver eight reales "pillar" type 1770, Mexico City
 
Silver, 38mm, 26.89gm
 
Obverse:
Pillars and crowned worlds
VTRAQUE VNUM
Mo 1770 Mo (Mexico City Mint)
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Spain
CAROLVS III D G HISPAN ET IND REX
MF 8 (Assayer initials, eight reales)
 
Spanish America eight reales 1783 El Cazador
3. Spanish America silver eight reales 1783, Mexico City - El Cazador shipwreck
 
Silver, 38mm, weight unknown
 
Obverse:
Bust of Charles III facing right
CAROLUS III DEI GRATIA
1783
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Spain
HISPAN ET IND REX Mo 8R F F (Mexico City Mint, Assayer initials)
 
This coin came from the 1784 El Cazador shipwreck and was graded and encapsulated by ANACS.
 
Spanish America eight reales 1803 Lima
4. Spanish America silver eight reales "bust" type 1803, Lima
 
Silver, 38mm, 26.32gm
 
Obverse:
Bust of Charles IV facing right
CAROLUS IIII DEI GRATIA
1803
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Spain
HISPAN ET IND REX LME 8R IJ
 
Spanish America eight reales 1806 Mexico City
5. Spanish America silver eight reales "bust" type 1806, Mexico City
 
Silver, 38mm, 26.86gm
 
Obverse:
Bust of Charles IV facing right
CAROLUS IIII DEI GRATIA
1806
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Spain
HISPAN ET IND REX Mo 8R T H (Mexico City Mint, Assayer initials)
 
Spanish America eight reales cob Potosi
6. Spanish America silver eight reales "cob" type 1685 Potosí (Charles II)
 
Silver, 39mm x 40mm, 25.11gm
 
Obverse:
Pillars of Hercules above waves
POTOSI ANO 1685 EL PERV (missing)
P 8 VR (mintmark, denomination, assayer)
PLV SVL TRA (Plus Ultra or "More Beyond")
VR 85 P (assayer, date, mintmark)
 
Reverse:
Jerusalem cross, castle upper left and lower right, lion upper right and lower left
CAROLVS II DG HISPANIAR (missing)
Denomination '8' at top, mintmark 'P' at left, assayer 'VR' at right, and date '85' at bottom
 
Spanish America eight escudos 1749 Mexico City
7. Spanish America gold eight escudos "doubloon" 1749, Mexico City
 
Gold, 36.5mm x 35.5mm, 26.98gm
 
Obverse:
Bust of Ferdinand VI facing right
FERDND VI D G HISPAN ET IND REX
(Ferdinand VI, by the Grace of God, King of Spain and the Indies)
1749
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Spain
NOMINA MAGNA SEQUOR (I succeed great names)
8 S (8 Scudi, Latin for escudos)
Mo MF (Mexico City Mint, Assayers initials)
 
Spanish America eight escudos 1806 Mexico City
8. Spanish America gold eight escudos "doubloon" 1806, Mexico City
 
Gold, 38mm, 26.97gm
 
Obverse:
Bust of Charles IV facing right
CAROL IIII D G  HISP ET IND R
(Charles IV, by the Grace of God, King of Spain and the Indies)
1806
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Spain
IN UTROQ FELIX AUSPICE DEO (For both sides, happiness under the auspices of God)
8 S (8 Scudi, Latin for escudos)
Mo TH (Mexico City Mint, Assayer initials)
 
Portugal moidore 1704
9. Portugal gold 4000 reis "moidore" 1704, Lisbon
 
Gold, 29mm, 10.71gm
 
Obverse:
Order of Christ Cross (The Order of Christ was a Portuguese variant of the Crusader Knights Templar)
IN HOC SIGNO VINCES / 1704 ("In This Sign, Conquer" from the Roman Emperor Constantine)
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Portugal
PETRVS II D G PORT ET ALG REX / 4000
 
Portugal half joe 1738-R
10. Portugal gold 6400 reis "half joe" 1738-R, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
 
Gold, 32mm, 14.06gm
 
Obverse:
Bust of John V facing right
IOHANNES V D G PORT ET ALG REX
R/1738
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Portugal
 
Portuguese "half joes" or "joes" were the commonest gold coins encountered in late 18th century
colonial and post revolutionary America.
They were worth around eight Spanish dollars at the time.
 
Portugal half joe 1750-R
11. Portugal gold 6400 reis "half joe" 1750-R, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Clive of India Treasure
 
Gold, 32mm, 14.30gm (approx)
 
Obverse:
Bust of John V facing right
IOHANNES V D G PORT ET ALG REX
R/1750
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Portugal
 
This was part of a consignment sent by Robert Clive "Clive of India" from London to India in 1755.
He sent them on a ship, the "Doddington", which sank off the coast of South Africa.
In 1977, the coins were recovered from the shipwreck.
Graded by NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation) as:
"1750R Brazil 6400R / UNC Details / Environmental Damage / Clive of India Treasure"
 
Portugal half joe 1786-R
12. Portugal gold 6400 reis "half joe" 1786-R, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
 
Gold, 32mm, 14.33gm
 
Obverse:
Busts of Maria I and Peter III facing right
MARIA I ET PETRUS III DG PORT ET ALG REGES
1786/R
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Portugal
 
Peter was Queen Maria's husband and her uncle.
 
Portugal joe 1732-M
13. Portugal gold 12800 reis "joe" 1732-M, Minas Gerais, Brazil
 
Gold, 38mm, 28.58gm
 
Obverse:
Bust of John V facing right
IOHANNES V D G PORT ET ALG REX
M/1732
 
Reverse:
Crowned shield of Portugal
 
This large coin was known as the "joe", "double joe", or "dobra".
 
Britain guinea 1750
14. Great Britain gold guinea 1750
 
Gold, 25.0mm x 24.5mm, 8.24gm
 
Obverse:
George II facing left
GEORGIVS II DEI GRATIA (George II, by the Grace of God)
 
Reverse:
Crowned arms of Britain, Ireland, France, and Hannover
M.B.F.ET.H.REX.F.D.B.ET.L.D.S.R.I.A.T.ET.E 1750 (The legend is explained below)
 
MAGNAE BRITANNIAE FRANCIAE ET HIBERNIAE REX FIDEI DEFENSOR
King of Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith
BRVNSWICENSIS ET LVNEBVRGENSIS DVX
Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg
SACRI ROMANI IMPERII ARCHI THESAVRARIVS ET PRINCEPS ELECTOR
Holy Roman Empire, Arch-Treasurer and Prince-Elector
 
A guinea was worth about a British pound.
The coins circulated in the American colonies where the value of the coin was not constant.
They are mentioned several times in Treasure Island.
 
Britain guinea 1794
15. Great Britain gold guinea "spade" type 1794
 
Gold, 25.0mm x 24.5mm, 8.37gm
 
Obverse:
George III facing left
GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA (George III, by the Grace of God)
 
Reverse:
Crowned arms of Britain, Ireland, France, and Hannover
M.B.F.ET.H.REX.F.D.B.ET.L.D.S.R.I.A.T.ET.E 1794 (The same legend as the George II guinea)
 
France Louis-1 1786
16. France Louis d'or Louis XVI 1786
 
Gold, 24.5mm x 23.5mm, 7.64gm
 
Obverse:
Head of king facing left
LUD XVI D.G. FR ET NAV REX
DUVIV (Engraver B. Duvivier) at base of head
Mint privy mark of heron below
 
Reverse:
Crown over shields of France and Navarre
CHRS REGN VINC IMPER 1786
A (Paris Mint mark)
Mint privy mark of lyre after "IMPER"
 
The legends mean:
 
LUD XVI D.G. FR ET NAV REX
Ludovicus XVI, Dei Gratia, Franciae et Navarrae Rex
(Louis XVI, by the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre)
Navarre was a kingdom split between Spain and France at the time.
 
CHRS REGN VINC IMPER
Christus regnat, vincit, imperat
(Christ reigns, conquers, governs)
 
France Louis-2 1786
17. France Double Louis d'or Louis XVI 1786
 
The obverse and reverse are the same as the regular Louis d'or above.
 
Gold, 27.5mm x 28.0mm, 15.24gm
 
Netherlands Lion Dollar
18. Netherlands Lion Dollar (Leeuwendaalder) Utrecht 1608
 
Silver, 41mm, 26.98gm
 
Obverse:
Standing knight with shield in front, lion on shield
MO ARG PRO CONFOE BELG TRA
(Moneta Argentea Provinciarum Confoederatum Belgicarum Traiectum)
(Silver money of the Province of the Netherlands Confederation at Traiectum)
Belgium was an old Latin name for all Netherlands or Low Countries and Traiectum was an old
Latin name for Utrecht.
 
Reverse:
Lion facing left CONFIDENS DNO NON MOVETVR
(Confidens Domino Non Movetur)
(Who trusts in God is not moved)
 
The Republic of the United Netherlands existed from 1581 to 1795.
It consisted of the provinces of Friesland, Gelderland, Holland, Kampen, Overijssel, Utrecht,
Zeeland, and Zwolle.
 
The Republic produced Lion dollars as trade dollars from 1575 to 1713.
They circulated in the Middle East, the Dutch East Indies, the Dutch New Netherlands Colony,
(now New York) and throughout the American colonies.
 
Netherlands Rix Dollar
19. Netherlands Rix Dollar (Rijksdaalder) Gelderland 1622
 
Silver, 40mm, 24.44gm (This coin is severely underweight as the standard was 29.03gm)
 
Obverse:
Armored bust of William the Silent facing right holding shield of Gelderland
MO ARG PRO CONFOE BEL GEL (Moneta Argentea Provinciarum Confoederatarum Belgii Gelriae)
 
Reverse:
Crown over shield, lion facing left holding sword
CONCORDIA RES PARVAE CRESCVNT (Unity makes Strength)
 
The Republic produced Rix dollars as trade dollars from 1606 to 1700.
They also circulated in the American colonies but not as much as the Lion dollars due to their larger size.
 
Venice ducat zecchino
20. Venice ducat (no date) - Doge (Duke) Pasquale Cicogna (1585-1595)
 
Gold, 20mm, 3.50gm, corrosion spots from copper or silver deposits
 
Obverse:
St. Mark on the left standing facing right, presenting long scepter to kneeling Doge
DVX between them
SM VENET PASC CICON (Sacra Moneta Venetiae, Pascali Ciconia)
English: "Sacred Money of Venice, Pasquale Cicogna"
 
Reverse:
Christ standing facing, holding Gospels in left hand and raising right hand in benediction,
within pointed oval figure containing 17 stars.
SIT T XPE DAT QTV REGIS ISTE DVCAT (Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quem tu regis, iste ducatus)
English:
"To Thee, O'Christ, Duchy, Which Thou Rulest, Be Dedicated" or
"Let it be given for you, Christ, that dukedom which you rule"
 
The Venetian ducat was known as the zecchino and corrupted to "sequin".
Sequins are mentioned in Treasure Island.
 
Turkey Ottoman sultani
21. Turkey Ottoman Empire sultani of Suleiman The Magnificent AH 926 (AD 1520)
 
Gold, 20mm, 3.50gm
 
Obverse:
Arabic inscription
Sultan Suleiman Shah son of Sultan Selim Shah, May his Victory be Glorious
Struck in Misr Year 926 (Egypt)
 
Reverse:
Arabic inscription
Striker of the Glittering, Master of Might, Victory, and of Land and the Sea
 
This is a Turkey Ottoman Empire coin based on the Venetian zecchino and
was sometimes also known as a "sequin".
 
Turkey Ottoman zeri mahbub Mahmud I
22. Turkey Ottoman Empire zeri mahbub of Mahmud I AH 1143 (AD 1730)
 
Gold, 20mm, 2.61gm
 
Obverse:
Arabic inscription
Toughra (ornate signature)
Sultan Mahmud, Son of Khan Mustafa, the Always Victorious
Struck in Egypt in 1143 (AD 1730)
 
Reverse:
Arabic inscription
Sultan of the two continents (Europe and Asia)
Ruler of the two seas (Black and Mediterranean)
The Sultan, Son of the Sultan
 
 
This is a Turkey Ottoman Empire coin and also might be called a "sequin".
The zeri mahbub means "beloved gold".
 
Turkey Ottoman zeri mahbub Mustafa III
23. Turkey Ottoman Empire zeri mahbub of Mustafa III AH 1171 (AD 1757)
 
Gold, 20mm, 2.33gm
 
Obverse:
Arabic inscription
Toughra (ornate signature)
Sultan Mustafa, Son of Khan Ahmed, the Always Victorious
Struck in Egypt in 1171 (AD 1757)
 
Reverse:
Arabic inscription
Sultan of the two continents (Europe and Asia)
Ruler of the two seas (Black and Mediterranean)
The Sultan, Son of the Sultan
 
England sixpence Elizabeth I 1561
24. England Elizabeth I silver sixpence 1561
 
Silver, 27mm, 2.75gm, Catalog: Seaby 2561, Third Issue (1561-1577)
 
Obverse:
Crowned head facing left
ELIZABETH D G ANG FR ET HIB REGINA
(Elizabeth by the Grace of God England France and Ireland Queen)
Pheon symbol (downward arrow at top, London Tower Mint)
 
Reverse:
Long cross and shield with arms of England and France
POSVI DEV ADIVTOREM MEV (I have made God my helper)
 
A very famous pirate, Sir Francis Drake, supposedly left a similar sixpence in Northern California in 1579,
attached to a brass plate with an inscription claiming the territory for Queen Elizabeth.
 
A similar plate was found in the 1930's and the finder sold it to a University of California professor.
This plate was later discovered to be a fake manufactured by members of a historical club as a hoax.
 
Argentina eight reales 1813
25. Argentina (United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata) eight reales 1813
 
Silver, 38.0mm x 37.5mm, 26.80gm
 
Obverse:
Sun face and rays
PROVINCIAS DEL LA RIO DELA PLATA (Provinces of the Rio de la Plata)
 
Reverse:
Wreath, two hands holding Liberty Cap
EN UNION Y LIBERTAD
1813
Mintmark: Monogram for Potosí, Assayer initial 'J'
 
Argentina was known as the "United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata" from 1810 to 1825,
after a revolt and separation from Spain.
They took the name "Argentina" in 1825 and are usually referred to by that name.
 
In 1818, Argentina commissioned a privateer named Hipólyte Bouchard to raid Spanish shipping.
On November 20, 1818, his two ships, the La Argentina and Santa Rosa, attacked the
California coastal town of Monterey. The raiders held the town for six days and then left and headed south.
The ships then attacked another California town, San Juan Capistrano.
They then headed to Mexico for more raiding and then back to South America.
 
The raid on the two California towns is known as California's only attack by pirates.
 
Burma 5 pyas 1956
26. Burma 5 pyas 1956
 
Copper-nickel, 20mm, 3.25gm, scalloped edge
 
Obverse:
Burmese lion facing left
 
Reverse:
5 Pyas 1956 in Burmese script.
 
This is not an actual coin from the pirate era but actor Johnny Depp wears one on his bandana in the
"Pirates of the Caribbean" films.