Columnarios

Columnarios are silver coins that were minted by Spain from 1732 to 1773 throughout its new colonies in present-day Latin America. While the majority of columnarios were struck in Mexico, smaller mints existed in Guatemala; Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; Potosí, Bolivia; and Colombia. The base denomination is an 8 reales coin (aka Piece of eight or Spanish dollar). Other minor denominations included 4 reales, 2 reales, 1 real, and 1/2 real. The 8 reales coin is the predecessor to the American dollar. Before the United States Mint was in production, columnarios circulated, along with other coinage, in the US colonies, as legal tender until the middle of the 19th century.

Prior to the columnario, Spanish coins were hammer struck. These rather crude looking coins were called cobs. Clipping was a problem with cobs as it was easy to shave small amounts of silver from their edges, and although this action was punishable by death, it was still a widespread occurrence. The columnario, unlike the odd-shaped cob, is a round coin with milled edges which makes clipping detectable and less likely to occur.

The design of the columnario consists on the reverse of two worlds — representing the new world and old world — with a royal crown above. Below are the waves of the sea that separate the worlds and on the left and right are columns (hence the name "columnarios") representing the Pillars of Hercules adorned with crowns and wrapped with a banner spelling "PLUS ULTRA", meaning "more beyond". The reverse also has the letters "VTRAQUE VNUM", referring to the Old and New Worlds, "Both are One", and the date at the bottom, with mint marks on both sides.

The obverse features the crown's name followed by "D G HISPAN ET IND REX", meaning, "By the Grace of God, King of Spain and the Indies." The assayer's mark is on the left and the denomination on the right of a large Spanish shield which is adorned with a royal crown atop. Various florets, rosettes, stops, and other features are used to separate features.

The edge has a repeating laurel leaf design which is very difficult to counterfeit and is often used for authentication purposes.

Currently, the Mexican 8 reales columnario is worth US$200 or more, depending on condition. Specimens from other mints fetch much higher values due to their rarity.

Potosi Real
A Spanish colonial silver coin, minted in Potosí in 1768, featuring the columns and the hemispheres

External links

Currency of Spain

This is a list of currency of Spain. The current currency since 2002 is the Euro.

History of Philippine money

The history of Philippine money covers currency in use before the Hispanic era with gold Piloncitos and other commodities in circulation, as well as the adoption of the peso during the Hispanic era and afterwards.

The Philippine peso is ultimately derived from the Spanish peso or pieces of eight brought over in large quantities by the Manila galleons of the 16th to 19th centuries. From the same Spanish peso or dollar is derived the various pesos of Latin America, the dollars of the US and Hong Kong, as well as the Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen. References: .

Philippine peso

The Philippine peso, also referred to by its Filipino name piso (Philippine English: , , plural pesos; Filipino: piso [ˈpiso, pɪˈso]; sign: ₱; code: PHP), is the official currency of the Philippines. It is subdivided into 100 centavos or sentimos in Filipino. As a former colony of the United States, the country used English on its currency, with the word "peso" appearing on notes and coinage until 1967. Since the adoption of the usage of the Filipino language on banknotes and coins, the term "piso" is now used.The Philippine peso sign is denoted by the symbol "₱", introduced under American rule in place of the original peso sign "$" used throughout Hispanic Latin America. Alternative symbols used are "PHP", "PhP", "Php", or just "P".

Banknotes and coins of the Philippines are minted and printed at the Security Plant Complex of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) in Quezon City.

Philippine real

The Philippine real was the currency of the Philippines during the Spanish Colonial Era. Brought over in large quantities by the Manila galleons, eight silver reales made up a silver peso or a dollar. 16 silver real were equal to one gold escudo.

Spanish dollar

The Spanish dollar, also known as the piece of eight or the peso, is a silver coin, of approximately 38 mm diameter, worth eight Spanish reales, that was minted in the Spanish Empire following a monetary reform in 1497.

The Spanish dollar was widely used by many countries as the first international/world currency because of its uniformity in standard and milling characteristics. Some countries countersigned the Spanish dollar so it could be used as their local currency.The Spanish dollar was the coin upon which the original United States dollar was based, and it remained legal tender in the United States until the Coinage Act of 1857. Because it was widely used in Europe, the Americas, and the Far East, it became the first world currency by the late 18th century. Aside from the U.S. dollar, several other currencies, such as the Canadian dollar, the Japanese yen, the Chinese yuan, the Philippine peso, and several currencies in the rest of the Americas, were initially based on the Spanish dollar and other 8-real coins. Diverse theories link the origin of the "$" symbol to the columns and stripes that appear on one side of the Spanish dollar.The term peso was used in Spanish to refer to this denomination, and it became the basis for many of the currencies in the former Spanish colonies, including the Argentine, Bolivian, Chilean, Colombian, Costa Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Ecuadorian, Guatemalan, Honduran, Mexican, Nicaraguan, Paraguayan, Philippine, Puerto Rican, Peruvian, Salvadoran, Uruguayan, and Venezuelan pesos. Of these, "peso" remains the name of the official currency in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Philippines, and Uruguay.

Millions of Spanish dollars were minted over the course of several centuries. They were among the most widely circulating coins of the colonial period in the Americas, and were still in use in North America and in South-East Asia in the 19th century.

Spanish real

The real (meaning: "royal", plural: reales) was a unit of currency in Spain for several centuries after the mid-14th century,. It underwent several changes in value relative to other units throughout its lifetime until it was replaced by the peseta in 1868. The most common denomination for the currency was the silver eight-real Spanish dollar or peso which was used throughout Europe, America and Asia during the height of the Spanish Empire.

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