Jim W. writes: Can you identify this cob coin? It has a “D” on it. I’ve attached pictures. They appear grainy but the coin is very readable in person. Thanks for your help. Jim
You have a Carlos II, Lima (Peru) Mint 1/2 real. This type was struck between 1684 and 1701. What you are seeing is not a “D” but a loop in a monogram that represents Carlos II of Spain.
Probably the best book on cobs is Numismatica Española (Calico/Trigo). The book is published in Barcelona, Spain periodically and covers all Spanish coins from Ferdinand & Isabel to the present, including Spanish Colonial issues.
Spain was the dominant political power from the 15th to the early 19th century and its coins circulated world wide as legal tender. They were legal tender in North America from the Colonial period to about 1858.
The U.S. modeled its coinage system to be compatible with the Reales system but in decimal; 8 Reales were exactly the exchange for a U.S. dollar.