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Spain: Two sides of the coin

Started by Figleaf, May 18, 2009, 12:31:52 PM

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Some women are glorious seen through the lens of a camera, while others shrivel and fold. So it is with coins. Bimetallic euro coins always seem paler and flatter than in reality, big Roman bronzes look even better on a screen than in hand. This coin does both. One side looks brilliant, the other like it spent a decade under the shoe of a waiter in a busy restaurant. Yet in hand, both sides are equally good.

You are looking at a 1 maravedi 1718 Burgos, struck in the name of Philip V, Cayón 8015.
obv: crowned arms, consisting of a Castle (Castilia), climbing lion (Léon), pomegranate (kingdom of Granada) and three heraldic lilies (Borbón) between two sets of two crosses, B (mint mark) and 1 (maravedi). Legend: PHILIPpvs.V.Dei Gratia.HISPANiarvm.REX (Philip V by the grace of god king of Spain)
rev: a crowned, resting lion looking back with sceptre and sword on two globes in pearl circle +1718+VTRVMQ+VIRT+PROTEGO

Philip V was the first Bourbon king of Spain and less mentally unstable than his immediate Habsburg predecessors (although he did abdicate for a couple of years in a fit of manic depression). He could take the throne only after the war of the Spanish succession, which was the first of a series of British interventions in Portugal and Spain that would culminate in Wellington and the Spanish guerrillas chasing out the armies of Napoléon.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.