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Spain Spanish Colonial 1/2, 1, 2, 4, and 8 Reales (Carolus III and IIII)  1772 to 1808
Spain Spanish Colonial 1/2, 1, 2, 4, and 8 Reales (Carolus III and IIII) 1772 to 1808

These coins are known as Spanish (Hispan) colonial coinage because they circulated freely in the many New World colonies of Spain. You can find essentially the same coins in Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru. The coins from Mexico carry the distinctive Mo or oM mint mark -- a small 'o' set over a large 'M'. Coins from Chile bear an So or oS mint mark for Santiago, Chile. There are many other mint marks, as explained below.

These are wonderful collectibles, and some collectors specialize in Spanish Colonial coinage. It is a fascinating subject. Similar coins, with the likeness of King Ferdinand VII, appear on this CoinQuest page. You must also be on the lookout for fakes, and shown on this CoinQuest page and at the bottom of this page.

King Charles (Carolus) of Spain shows on the front of the coin. Carolus III reigned from 1759 to 1788, and Carolus IIII (or IV) reigned from 1788 to 1808. The backs of these coins look the same, with a crowned shield and two large pillars on either side.

The first step in evaluating these coins is to determine their country of origin. We have a description of all the mint marks and the countries they represent at this CoinQuest link (click here).

In addition, you can tell the denomination of the coin by the 'R' marking: R = 1/2 real, 1R = 1 real, 2R = 2 reales, 4R, and 8R. These old reales denominations are those that lead directly to American denominations of nickel (1/2 real), dime, quarter (2 reales), half, and dollar (8 reales) today. Gold coins with similar designs are called escudos (click here for escudos).

Special lettered marks are known as Assayers Initials. Typically these are two letter sets such as FM, MF, FT, and TH.

To evaluate your coin, look first at the general values below. If your coin is 'normal' and has a common date, mint mark, and assayer initials then the GENERAL VALUES apply. Coins with SPECIAL VALUES are shown below the general listings.

All listings give very approximate catalog values for coins that worn, but free of problems such as scratches, stains, spots, gouges, cleanings, scrapes, scuffs, and the like. Use our Important Terminology page to convert these catalog values to actual buy and sell values.

1/2 REAL CAROLUS III GENERAL VALUES (18 mm diameter)
worn: $10 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $50
well preserved: $90

1 REAL CAROLUS III GENERAL VALUES (20 mm diameter)
worn: $20 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $60
well preserved: $100

2 REALES CAROLUS III GENERAL VALUES (25 mm diameter)
worn: $25 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $75
well preserved: $125

4 REALES CAROLUS III GENERAL VALUES (33 mm diameter)
worn: $100 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $250
well preserved: $550

8 REALES CAROLUS III GENERAL VALUES (38 mm diameter)
worn: $100 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $200
well preserved: $250

1/2 REAL CAROLUS IIII GENERAL VALUES (18 mm diameter)
worn: $10 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $50
well preserved: $80

1 REAL CAROLUS IIII GENERAL VALUES (20 mm diameter)
worn: $15 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $50
well preserved: $90

2 REALES CAROLUS IIII GENERAL VALUES (25 mm diameter)
worn: $25 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $70
well preserved: $100

4 REALES CAROLUS IIII GENERAL VALUES (33 mm diameter)
worn: $100 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $250
well preserved: $550

8 REALES CAROLUS IIII GENERAL VALUES (38 mm diameter)
worn: $60 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $130
well preserved: $200
special coin 1803FM catalogs at $1200 average circulated

SPECIAL VALUES depend on the country of origin. You must find the mint mark to determine the country of origin. Use the table this CoinQuest page (click here) to find the country. The values called out below are for coins in average circulated condition.

1/2 REAL SPECIAL VALUES
Bolivia 1778PR with no 'A' in 'CAROLUS': $500
Chile 1773DA: $200
Colombia all dates 1772 to 1773: $5000
Colombia all dates 1775 to 1784: $5000
Guatemala 1799M: $300
Guatemala 1808M: $150

1 REAL SPECIAL VALUES
Chile 1803FJ: $150
Colombia all dates and conditions before 1816: about twice general values
Guatemala 1779P: $200
Mexico 1788FF: $250

2 REALES SPECIAL VALUES
Bolivia 1825J: $250
Colombia 1772VJ: $800
Colombia 1784JJ: $800
Colombia 1814JF: $400
Mexico 1784FM: $300
Mexico 1786FF: $300
Peru 1772JM: $250
Peru 1774JM: $500

4 REALES SPECIAL VALUES
Bolivia 1789PR: $500
Bolivia 1809PJ: $300
Guatemala 1808M: $650
Mexico 1784FM: $350
Mexico 1785FM: $350
Mexico 1796FM: $300
Mexico 1802FT: $500
Mexico 1803FM: $500
Peru 1752J: $650
Peru 1753J: $500
Peru 1763JM: $500

8 REALES SPECIAL VALUES
Bolivia 1789PR: $400
Chile all dates 1773 to 1783: $5000
Chile all dates 1784 to 1792: $1800
Chile 1800AJ with no 'A' in 'CAROLUS': $5000
Guatemala 1773P: $1200
Guatemala 1776P: $2500
Guatemala 1780P: $1200
Guatemala 1781P: $900
Guatemala 1782P: $1800
Guatemala 1783P: $1000
Guatemala 1786M: $1000
Guatemala 1790M: $1200
Mexico 1783FM: $7000
Mexico 1784FF: $500

In the bluish toned example sent to CoinQuest by a fellow named Ron, you can see several chop marks on the front of the coin. These marks were likely struck into the coin by a merchant in New York or San Francisco Chinatown to indicate that the coin is a good one, not a fake. I personally like chop marks and will pay a small premium for them. To me they add interest to an already intereting coin. Many collectors, however, feel chops degrade the coin.

Use our Important Terminology page to correctly interpret the values shown here.

Finally, valuable coins are always subject to counterfeit. These coins are no exception. The image below shows a side-by-side comparison of real and fake 1776 8 reales. Several discrepancies are readily visible. Not all counterfeits are so obvious.

Coin: 2334 , Genre: Colonizers and Colonies
Requested by: bruce, Sat, 19-Dec-2009 02:22:34 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Mon, 07-Jul-2014 01:33:34 GMT
Updated by CoinQuest. Appraisal ok., Fri, 28-Jun-2013 23:34:46 GMT
Requester description: 1800 charles 1111 8 reales
Tags: spain spanish colonial colony 1 2 4 8 reales real carolus carol iii iiii espana spainish hispan espanas hispanirvm spanich hispana espania espa hisp espanola colonies reale karolus charles karol carolu charlie carolvsvidg carolvs rex ind mo plus ultra mexico bolivia guatemala colombia boliviana bolivianos bolivian gautemala castle column pillar crown tiara lion tiger coat arms shield columns upright crowned crwon crpwn crowns tiarra crowning tiera lions cougar coats crests insignia crest creast

Comments

Hello I have one of these coins but it's all scratched up on the front I would like to know if its worth anything it was given to me by a family member *email address deleted* - Jessica Henry
Jessica -- Scratches ruin coin value. Collectors will not buy scratched coins. Your coin is worth its weight in silver (about $20) and not much more. - CoinQuest (Paul)

See the new GNL Book in Amazon Books to help differentiate between counterfeit and real 8 Reales. Just released. 600 pages. $40. Enjoy! - John Lorenzo
Here's the link: [Press Here]. Thanks, John, for writing this book. When are you going to write one on detecting Chinese fakes? - CoinQuest (Paul)

hello i have one of these it is a 1789 2R with a Chile Mint mark and it has a D.A. for the 2 letters and i see you don't have a D.A. there what would mine be? - Akramer
The 1789 DA 2 Reales are not specifically listed because it is not a special date. It must be evaluated according to the general values listed further up on the page. - CoinQuest (Chris)

I have a 1783 Carolus iii M 2R with the letters FF. what would the value of this be? I did not see one for 1783 M 2R FF! - Beth
The 2R means '2 reales.' The values above for values of 2 reales: 2 REALES CAROLUS III GENERAL VALUES (25 mm diameter) worn: $25 US dollars approximate catalog value average circulated: $75 well preserved: $125. The M means Mexico and the FF are initials of the mint master. Neither of these factors increase or lower value. - CoinQuest (Paul)

Hi. I have a 1790 Carolius IV 8 reales coin, (obviously with a portrait of Carolius III), minted in Potosi, Bolivia. Mine has an oval counter stamp in the portrait's neck, containing another portrait, which seems to have been applied in quite a clumsy manner. It is slightly off alignment, resulting in the portrait's face tilting upwards slightly. Can you tell me anything about it, please, as I cannot find anything on-line. - Deke
Hi Deke -- These Spanish coins were so prevalent that other countries would use them to support commerce. They circulated in America, for instance, and became the basis of our silver dollar. Britain, during coin shortages, would use them also, counterstamping them with a small oval or rectangular punch. If you search online for 'counterstamp' you will find good info. We have a general page on them, with pictures and approximate values, at this link [PRESS HERE]. - CoinQuest (Paul)

Hi Paul. This is a reply to your very informative answer to my previous question regarding the counterstamp on my 1790 Carolus IV 8 reales coin. The image on your link is exactly the same as my counterstamp, i.e. British, and I am absolutely delighted to learn about this! Even the slightly off-alignment is the same. Thank you so much. - Deke

I got a 4 reales from 1803 . From mexico the face is Worn down but the back Looks ok. - Javo
Javo, be sure to read the two letters after '4 R' on your coin. Coins with the letters '4 R.F.T.' catalog at $85 US dollars when worn, while coins with the letters '4 R.F.M.' are quite scarce and catalog at $220. Hopefully you've got the 'F.M.' variety! - CoinQuest (Chris)

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Sat, 01-Nov-2014 09:33:35 GMT, unknown: 1074699