The Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (FNMT), in association with the Real Casa de la Moneda, is issuing (29th May) a new, 1-kilo silver Proof-quality coin that comprehensively and intricately details the chronological history of the silver dollar—perhaps one of the most well-known coins in modern history.
The coin’s impressive design includes images from the many coins preceding the American dollar coin and offers a great insight as to the development of many crown-sized silver coins that emerged in the new world, all with similar specifications and even similar designs of their own. The coin’s design also cleverly illustrates the Pillars of Hercules, originally seen on the 8-reales silver coin and said to be the origin of the ever-familiar dollar sign—fashioned out of the capital letter “S” with two vertical lines over the letter.
Featured in the design are thalers from Austria, Norway, Brunswick and Bohemia; daalders from the Netherlands; pesos from Spain; and finally, the first American dollar coin minted in 1794—the Flowing Hair design.
The obverse features a profile of HM King Felipe VI, his centred portrait surrounded by the first Spanish columnario, the most famous design of the 8 reales coin; the Joachimsthaler, the first taler struck in Europe; and the Flowing Hair dollar, the first struck by the U.S. government.
On the central part of the reverse, the Pillars of Hercules motif is reproduced. Then, clockwise, four different talers are shown: a Dutch daalder, a Norwegian daler, and an Austrian and a German thaler.
|€300||.999 silver||1,007 g||100 mm||Proof||1,000|
The coin is available from the 29th May and is presented in a deluxe wooden case that also includes a certificate of authenticity and a booklet describing in detail, in both English and Spanish, the coins featured in the obverse and reverse designs and chronicling the history of the dollar. Each coin is also numbered from 0001 to 1000 on the lower edge, corresponding to the certificate of authenticity. Please visit the e-webshop of the FNMT–Casa Real de la Moneda for more information about this and other coins on offer.
The Legendary Coins That Shaped the American Dollar
(Excerpts courtesy of the FNMT–Casa Real de la Moneda.)
The Real Casa de la Moneda is dedicating its first minting of a 1 kilogram silver coin to the history of the American dollar, whose origins go back to the Central European Thaler and the times of Spain’s viceroyalties in the Americas, with the Real de a Ocho. Undoubtedly, the best-known and most sought after coin in the entire world between the sixteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries was the Spanish Real de a Ocho, also called peso or Duro. The Spanish Real de a Ocho was the Hispanic continuation of a pattern of coins which first saw the light of day in Central Europe towards the end of the fifteenth century, bringing with it the Bohemian Thaler. This name would find its way into other languages such as English, giving rise to the term dollar as a general reference to all pieces of this type. The Real de a Ocho, also known as the Spanish milled Dollar, travelled the world over and for centuries was used in trading between Spain and the lands then known collectively as las Indias.
A proper Spanish monetary system would not come into being until the eighteenth century, when Philip V introduced improvements to the minting and quality of the pieces, ordering that they be struck in milling presses. This new peso was known as the Columnario de Mundos y Mares (columnar of worlds and seas) on account of the common reverse side, which carried the images of two hemispheres beneath a crown, set against sea waves and flanked by the Pillars of Hercules, likewise beneath a crown and garlanded with ribbons bearing the motto PLUS ULTRA.
The coins depicted according to chronological order [examples at left and right; depiction on silver kilo at center]:
The Joachimsthaler—Bohemia, 1525
Minted under King Louis I of Bohemia and II of Hungary. On the obverse, the image of St. Joachim, father of the Virgin Mary, and before him, the kingdom’s quartered coat of arms. Surrounded by the legend: S (Sanctus) I (Joachim). 1525. Circular inscription: AR (arma or argentum) DOM (dominorum) SLI (slicorum) STE (Stephani) 7 FRA (fratrum) CO (comitum) D (de) BA (Bassano), which might be translated as Gentlemen at arms Stephan Schlick and his seven brothers, Count of Bassano. The reverse shows a side-view of the kingdom’s heraldic lion, rampant, crowned and standing on its left back leg, its front legs poised for attack, with its tail erect, lyre-shaped at the end, curling towards its back. Surrounded by the legends: LUDOVICUS PRIM (primus) D. (Dei) GRA – CIA REX BOE (Bohemia).
The Daalder—Low Countries, 1576
In 1575, the Dordrecht Mint, in the province of Holland, would be the first to strike the Leeuwendaalder or Lion Daalder. The obverse shows the figure of an armoured knight standing and, before him, a shield bearing a heraldic, rampant lion, the emblem of Flanders. The legend MO. NO. ARG. ORD. HOL. may be transcribed as Moneta Nova Argentea Ordinum Hollandiae, a Latin phrase meaning new silver coin of the states of Holland. The reverse depicts the same heraldic lion occupying the entire field and the motto CONFIDENS. DNO. NON MOVETVR (Confidens Domino non movetur, meaning Confidence in the Lord is not moved), followed by 1576, the mintage year.
The Daler—Denmark and Norway, 1637
Ordered by Christian IV of Denmark and Norway. The crowned bust of the monarch appears in profile on the obverse. At the sides, the legend REGNA FIR MAT PIETAS (Piety strengthens the realm), surrounded in turn by: CHRISTIANUS IIII D G DANI NORG REX (Christian IV King of Denmark and Norway by the Grace of God). The reverse carries a heraldic lion, rampant, also crowned. Around it, the Latin legend: BENEDICTIO DOMI NI DIVITES FACIT (The blessing of the Lord makes riches).
The Reichthaler—Brunswick-Lüneburg (Germany), 1666
Minted by the order of Duke Augustus the Younger. The obverse carries the figure of the “wild man of the woods” a mythical mediaeval character considered to be the mediator between men and the fantastical beings of the forest, this motif is common in the works of art and heraldic shields of the Alpine area and Germany. The image is surrounded by the legend ALLES MIT BEDATCH (All wisely) and the mintage year, 1666. The reverse bears the coat of arms of the Duchy beneath five helmets decorated with lambrequins or ribbons. Surrounded by the legend AUGUSTUS HERTZOG ZU BRAUN U LUNE (Augustus, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg).
Columnar Real de a Ocho, 1732
Struck in Mexico during the reign of Philip V. The obverse carries the crowned shield with the Hispanic Lesser Royal Coat of Arms: two castles and two lions; and a pomegranate enté en point with the escutcheon of the House of Bourbon in the centre. At one side, F, the assayer’s mark, and on the other, the figure 8 representing the value. Circular legend: PHILIP. V. D (Dei), G (Gratia). HISPANA ET IND. (Hispaniarum et Indiarum Rex). On the reverse, two superimposed spheres depicting America and Europe, crowned and set against sea waves, flanked by the Pillars of Hercules, crowned and draped in ribbons bearing the motto PLUS ULTRA (further beyond), the Latin symbol adopted after the Discovery of the New World, in contrast to non terrae plus ultra (there is no land beyond). According to mythology, Hercules inscribed this motto on the pillars he created when he split the mountain in the Straits of Gibraltar into two. It refers also to Finisterre (lit., land’s end), representing what was thought to be the edge of the known world. The central motif is surrounded by the legend UTRAQUE UNUM (both are one, in a reference to the two “Worlds”: the Old and the New). “M” beneath a circle, the mark of the Mexican Mint, where the coin was struck, and the year 1732.
The Thaler of Austria-Hungary-Bohemia, 1780
Struck by order of Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. On the obverse, profile of the sovereign’s bust, with the legend: M.THERESIA D.G.R.IMP. HU.BO.REG (Maria Theresa, by the Grace of God Empress of the Romans, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia). On the reverse, the Austrian coat of arms, watched over by the two-headed imperial eagle, and the legend ARCHID.AUST.DUX.BURG.CO.TYR.1780.X (Archduchess of Austria, Duchess of Burgundy, Countess of Tyrol). 1780. On the edge, IUSTITIA ET CLEMENTIA, the motto of her reign.
The United States Dollar, 1794
Struck during the presidency of George Washington, it was the country’s first national currency to be minted on home territory. Similar in size and weight to the Spanish Real de a Ocho, it was known in the U.S. as the Spanish dollar or milled dollar. On the obverse, a profile of the head of Liberty, with the term LIBERTY at the top and the date of issue, 1794, on the exergue. Arranged round both sides, the fifteen stars which represented the states of the Union at that time. A bald, or white, eagle, its wings outspread, perched on a rock and surrounded by a garland of olive branches, is depicted on the piece’s reverse. It was adopted as the country’s emblem by the U.S. Congress in 1782. Circular inscription reading UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The value of the piece is inscribed on the edge: HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT. ❑