Glenn writes: I have a 1776 2R that I think is “New Plate” (20% lighter since minted in Spain for use there as opposed to here.) Portriat of Carolus III and crowned shield. I have four questions about the coin. Thanks.
1) What does DEI.G. abbreviate and mean?
2) What does Rum Rex as in Hispania Rum Rex mean?
3) What mint used the mark “S”?
4) What assayers were “CF” and during what time period were they there?
Monetary systems of this period were intrinsic, that is, the acceptability of coins depended on the guarantee that official coins contained the prescribed precious metal content. Spanish units of “8”, whether they were silver 8 reales (ray-ál-lace) or gold 8 escudos, weighed 27 grams. Allowing for the technology of the day, the silver coins had a greater error tolerance (sometimes as much as a gram on an 8 reales) than gold, which was twenty times more valuable. Coins that were 20% light weight would have been considered counterfeit (and such business did occasionally occur).
Light weight coins, were issued by a hard pressed provisional government, not the mainstream Spanish coinage that was the world standard. Underweight coins were eventually rejected, counterstamped with a lower denomination or melted when identified.
It is true that any Spanish coin was preferable to no coins and that was often the condition in the early United States. Later, worn 1/2 reales (technically worth 6 1/2 cents) passed as 5 cents due to wear. These were known as Picayunes, while the 1 real coins (technically 12 1/2 cents) passed as a dime (a bit).
To answer your questions:
1 & 2. Latin was the choice for coin legends and was the International language of the times. Most European inhabitants knew at least some Latin as well as their national language. This enabled anyone to be able to decipher any European coin. Since rulers were obsessed with titles a standard set of abbreviations became accepted and recognized by the general population.
Your two reales shows a portrait of Carlos III of Spain facing right, the abbreviated Latin legends around are: CAROLUS III*DEI*G. (Carlos III, By the Grace of G-d,). The legend continues on the reverse: HISPANIARUM*REX (King of Spain).
3 & 4. Your coin shows a “S” mint mark and matched with the assayer, CF, indicates that the coin was struck at the Sevilla Mint in Spain. CF represents the assayers Carlos Jimenez Almaraz and Francisco Lopez Amisa. They were assayadores at the Sevilla Mint from 1767-1783.