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Spain: End of a global empire

Started by Figleaf, May 18, 2009, 01:21:52 PM

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The huge amounts of silver coming from the new world were a blessing and a curse for Spain. A blessing because it brought riches to a country hardly able to grow the food for its population and engendered a series of great artists. A curse because the wealth was badly spread, squandered in wars and for luxury goods and causing inflation.

Spanish copper was deteriorating from badly struck to multiple overstruck (resellados), badly designed, weakly struck pieces on irregularly shaped planchets. The loss of the colonial empire in the Americas meant the end of Spain's global reach, but the ensuing deterioration of the real gave the country the opportunity to reorganize its currency, while new minting machinery gave it the best coins the country had seen until then. Here is a typical halfway coin. The denomination is still in reales, but winking at decimalization. In spite of its low value it is struck with precision and force in a mint that was soon to close. The queen is mentioned alongside the constitution.

1/10 real 1853 Segovia in the name of Isabel II, KM 590.
obv: crowned arms between decorations. ISABEL Sa POR LA G.DE DIOS - Isabel II by the grace of god
rev: denomination DECIMA DE REAL between wreath and aquaduct (mint mark) in pearl circle. Y LA CONST.REINA DE LAS ESPA√ĎAS - and the constitution queen of the Spains - and date between stars.

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