Bill S. writes: Hello, I have a coin with the following inscription: FRD.VI.D.G.HISP.ETIND.R with a crest and crown on one side and VTRA OUR VNUM 1748 with a wreath and crown on the other side. It is about the size of a quarter and the quality is Good. What is it? Thanks for your help!
You have a Spanish 2 Reales. There is also a Mint Mark on the coin in the form of a small letter or monogram. That and the assayer mark is necessary in order to know where the coin was struck and to help determine its market value.
The coin was minted under the reign of Ferdinand VI (1746-1759). The abbreviated Latin legend FRD.VI.D.G.HISP.ET IND.R translates as “Ferdinand VI King by the Grace of G-d of Spain and The Indies”. The motto “Utra Que Unum” refers to the conjoined globes on the coin and proclaims that “Both Are One”. The pillars represent the Pillars of Hercules and the limits of the known world. “Plus Ultra” appears on either pillar and means: “More Beyond”. This exciting message still rings true today.
These and other denominations of Spanish and Spanish Colonial coins circulated throughout the world and was the first international currency. Often, 2 reales are found holed. The Spanish demanded that the native Indians use money, something quite foreign to them. Since the Indians had no pockets in which to carry the coins, they simply holed the coins and threaded them on a thong and wore them on their clothing.
Spanish coins were legal tender in the United States until 1858. (for example a 2 reales was the same as 25 cents).