Help with this spanish 4 maravedis ? copper coin

Started by hantstoken, December 20, 2021, 12:24:59 PM

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Hi, hope someone can help with this coin.  It is copper 28mm and 7.9g. From what I can read on it I believe it is from Spain, a 4 maravedis, Ferdinand & Isabella [1469-1504].
It shows a castle between a 4 of the left, and possibly a scallop on the right, A above, S below.  Other side depicts a lion.
Wording I can read on lion side is CASTILLA and on castle side/ FERNAND...ISABEL . 
I've searched on line and can't find the exact coin.  From researching it these pieces were struck at various mints, so I would love to know where this was struck.  I assume the A and S on castle side is relating to a mint? Also a coin book reference number for it would be helpful.


Yes, it's a 4 maravedis, but it wasn't minted during the years of the Catholic Monarchs, despite having their names. These coins were minted much later, during the decades of 1550 and 1560, during Felipe II's reign.

I've found this one, very similar to yours:

According to that, it was minted in La Coruña.


I think it is Cayón 2492, 4 maravedis nd (1469-1504), A above, S below (that letter combination does not exist on coins of Philip II) indicating that the coin was struck at the Coruña mint.

However, there is a problemkin with the legend. The types of the reyes catolicos ought to have more or less the legend FERDINANDVS ET ELIS(ABETH) on the obverse (castle) and REX ET REGINA CAST(ILLA) ET LEG(IONES) on the reverse (lion). I agree that the legend on your coin ends with CASTILLA, though. I think the die cutter was enthusiastically cutting die, not noticing he was getting short of space for Leon until he couldn't even shoehorn an L in there. This sort of problem occurred quite often on the coins of this period, leading to many different contractions of titles.

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


No way this coin is from 1469-1504. First of all, Isabel wasn't queen of Castilla until 1474. Second, it's a little complex and difficult to understand, but i'll try to explain it:

When we talk about the Catholic Monarchs (CMs) coinages, we must talk about two types of coins: minted before 1497 and minted after 1497. Those minted before are the REAL CMs coins, minted during their period without any kind of doubt. We can see some examples on this link:

No copper coins were issued during this period.

Now: In 1497 came a new law, called in spanish "Pragmática de Medina del Campo" that introduced many changes for the coinages of Castilla and Leon, including the dessigns. These coins were minted until 1566, during the reign of Felipe II, keeping the same dessign and the name of the CMs (despite they died more than 50 years before). In the same site there are examples of those coins:

We can know exactly when were they minted with the mint's master's symbol. I've searched a little bit and those A S are the name of the mint's master: Antonio de Salamanca, who worked on La Coruña's mint between 1550 and 1565 according to this link:

At the right side of the castle there's the shell, symbol of La Coruña's mint.

There's a little trick to know easier and faster (but not as accurately) the period when they were minted:

Coins with gothic letters were struck from 1497 to early years of king Carlos I (emperor Charles V). Coins minted between 1497 and 1504 (before Isabel's death) are EXTREMELY SCARCE.

Gothic letters with V instead U: central years of Carlos I

Modern letters: from later years of Carlos I to 1566 (with Felipe II)

The problem is that most cathalogues, coin books, websites and such just say that they are coins of the CMs, because it sounds much better (and it sells much better) to say that a coin is of the Catholic Monarchs when it actually is "a coin with the name of the catholic monarchs".

I know it's a little bit difficult and complex, but i hope i explained it well.


Thank you both for your help on this.  I'm a token collector, but have a general interest in coins and buy coin lots at auctions to rummage through, or individual pieces at fairs from junk boxes, if they look interesting.  This was a junk box purchase that has an indentifiaction I am now happy with, and I've gained knowledge from it on Spanish coins, and some more weblinks to add to my favourites for the future.