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Spain Colonial 1/2, 1, 2, 4, and 8 Escudos 1760 to 1817
Evaluating Spanish gold escudos is a complicated topic. On this page you will find a superficial treatment of the subject. If you have one of these coins, it is important to research it thoroughly.
History In the old days Spain colonized much of the Western world. Coins from Spain circulated in places like Mexico, Peru, Columbia, and Florida. CAROL IIII is King Charles IV of Spain, although the older coins have CAROLUS III and are generally worth more than the IIII coins. After Charles came King Ferdinand, and his name and likeness appears on later dates. AUSPICES DEO IN UTRO FELIX means (roughly) 'in the will of God we will happily prosper.' There are many coins with these inscriptions, but the important part is the denomination, 8S in Kristin's case.
Identifying Your Coin 8S means 8 escudos, the largest of Spanish Colonial gold coins. There were also 1S, 2S, and 4S gold coins, as well as 1R, 2R, 4R, and 8R silver reales coins. For a complete run-down on Spanish Colonial coins, with many pertinent details, click to this CoinQuest page.
Copies and Counterfeits It sounds like you, Kristin, have one of the several counterfeits of this coin. For our appraisal of the fakes, please go to this link. There is a close-up of a genuine Mexican 8 escudos at the very bottom of this page. You can it use for comparison to your coin. Many copies and counterfeits are easily discerned by close, careful inspection compared to the real coin. Here is an example of a side-by-side comparison. We have pointed out a few obvious discrepancies:
Evalutation: Gold Content Genuine gold 8 escudos from the 1700s and early 1800s are worth a bundle. The values range widely from $1000 US dollars to several 1000s of US dollars. If you have one of these, you should preserve, protect, and authenticate your coin. Write to us if you have questions.
DO NOT CLEAN YOUR COIN. CLEANING RUINS VALUE.
To focus on the value of these beautiful coins, first consider their gold content:
1/2 escudo, 13 mm diameter, 0.0475 troy ounces gold
1 escudo, 19 mm diameter, 0.0951 ounces gold
2 escudos, 23 mm diameter, 0.1905 ounces gold
4 escudos, 27 mm diameter, 0.3809 ounces gold
8 escudos, 36 mm diameter, 0.7616 ounces gold
Go to a web site such as kitco.com to find the current value of gold. If you have, for instance, a 2 escudos coin and the current price of gold is $1000 US dollars per ounce, the base value or melt value of your coin would be 0.1905 x 1000 = $190 US dollars. Be sure to use the current value of gold. It changes every day.
Evaluation: Collector Premium If you have an old escudo in excellent condition, it is a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable coin dealer or coin collector. The values shown below are very rough guidelines.
In addition to the melt value comes the numismatic (coin collector) value, sometimes called collector premium. If your coin is heavily worn the collector premium will be low. If it is in great shape this value will be very high. Here are approximate collector premiums that add directly to the melt value:
1/2 escudo, add $20 worn, $200 well preserved
1 escudo, add $30 worn, $300 well preserved
2 escudos, add $60 worn, $600 well preserved
4 escudos, add $160 worn, $1600 well preserved
8 escudos, add $600 worn, $3600 well preserved
First compute the melt value, then add the collector premium to it. You will get an approximate catalog value for your coin. Use our Important Terminology page (link at left above) to estimate actual retail and wholesale prices from catalog value.
Evaluation: Special Dates Sometimes the date and mint mark of the coin affects numismatic value. Here are some big examples:
All coins dated before 1772 carry approx. 1.5 times the collector premiums shown above
1/2 escudo, 1796 and 1797 are common and worth a little less than others
1 escudo, all dates are about equal
2 escudos, 1791 carries twice the collector premium of others
4 escudos, 1788 and 1789 are scarce in high grades and numismatic value triples (approximately)
8 escudos, 1811 with mint mark 'So' is very valuable, cataloging over $10000 in well preserved condition
8 escudos, worn 1788 coins are common and worth somewhat less than others
Image of Genuine Coin We chose the large image below from Bowers and Merena Galleries because the toning on its surfaces makes the inscriptions and devices stand out. Does your coin look like this? Hope so. This is a genuine coin.
Tags: 2 8 spain colonial 1 4 charles crown shield carlos coat man chain king over piece deo iiii amoe auspice ind sort felix head hair utro neck et espana hispana escudo espa espanola hispan spainish spanish espanas spanich hispanirvm hisp carlosi crpwn carlo tiera shiled crowns carlvs shileld crowned shied halfcrown crwon tiarra chevrons tiara sheild carlosiy carol shields shelid ashield carlol escucheon charlie shild carlovs mans male crests arms crest insignia chains creast boy kings coats exind headed heads oneheaded sorts hairline etind pieces avspice peice escudos karolus carolu carolvsvidg carolvs karol carolus
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