Description:These Spanish gold 1/2 escudo coins were minted in Madrid and Seville, Spain during the reign of Ferdinand VI. The obverse side features the bust of King Ferdinand VI with the date below and the reverse shows his crowned coat of arms. Ferdinand VI, of the Bourbon Dynasty, was King of Spain from 1746 until his death in 1759.
The 18th century was a prosperous time for the Spanish Empire as trade grew steadily within its territories and colonies in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceana. The Bourbon reforms of Ferdinand VI and his father Philip V, included a major modernization of the Spanish Navy. This enabled Spain's crucial victory in the 1741 Caribbean port Battle of Cartagena de Indias against a massive British fleet and army, allowing Spain to secure its dominance of Spanish America until the 19th century.
With the discovery of untold riches that were mined in the Americas throughout the 16th to 18th centuries, the Spanish and their mighty galleon fleets were the premier supplier of gold and silver coins for the world. However, during this adventurous age, it was inevitable that large amounts of Spanish treasure would be lost on land and at sea due to pirates, storms and other unforeseen misfortunes. Gold coins, known as "escudos", were decreed by the king to be 22 karats. There were five denominations in gold, the largest was the 8 escudos and the smallest was the 1/2 escudo. The wage for a common worker in the 18th century was around a half escudo per month.