Keith M. writes: I would like help identifying a coin given to me. On the obverse is a right facing male portrait and the words CAROLUS II DEI GRATIA. The date is 17?9 ( a hole has been drilled or punched obscuring the third digit). The reverse features a coat of arms and the words HISPAN ETIN? REX M 4R??M. Would you be able to assist me in identifying this coin? Thanks.
The coin is a Spanish Colonial 4 Reales. The coin has to have been minted under Charles III (1759-1788) not Charles II (1665-1700) and it was minted at the Lima Peru Mint and therefore the complete date would be 1779 as “DEI GRATIA” instead of ” D.G.” appears exclusively on the Lima and Potosi issues of this period. The assayer is M.I.
The obverse legend is CAROLUS III DEI GRATIA 1779 (Charles III By The Grace of God). The reverse legend continues HISPAN*ET*IND*REX*ME*4R*M.I. (King of Spain and the Indies – Lima – 4 Reales * Assayer’s Initials=M.I.)
It is not unusual to find holed silver coins from Peru. The local indians were indoctrinated by the Spaniards into using “money” but the indians had no wallets or pockets. They hole the coins and hung them on leather thongs. They didn’t understand that the coins were intrinsic and punching holes in them lowered their monetary value. A lot of people got hot under the breech cloth when they were asked to fork up a few more reales to make up the difference.