Spanish Silver Dollar, 1805

This silver Spanish dollar (also known as an eight real coin or piece of eight) was minted around 1805. The obverse side of the coin has a profile portrait of King Charles IV. The coin reads “Del Gratia 1805 Carolous IIII,” (Charles IIII by the Grace of God, 1805). The reverse has an image of Spain’s Pillars of Hercules lesser royal coat of arms. The reverse reads, “HISPAN ET IND REX M 8R T H” (King of the Spains and the Indies, Mexico, 8 reales). The initial M is for the coins minting in Mexico City, and the initials “TH” belong to the coin’s assayer. This coin has Chinese “chop marks,” marks made to check that the dollar was made of the silver it was supposed to be.
Spanish dollars were the monies of choice when coins were available in Colonial America, and Americans liked them so much that they eventually based their own U.S. dollar on the Spanish real. The uniform quality of the Spanish real made it a popular currency for international trade.
Object Name
date made
Unlinked Name
Mexico City Mint
Physical Description
silver (overall metal)
0 (overall die axis)
0 (overall die axis measurement)
struck (overall production method)
overall: 26.599 g
place made
place of issue
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Coins, Currency and Medals
American Enterprise
See more items in
Armed Forces History: National Numismatic Collection
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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