Description:This Spanish silver coin was minted in Mexico City during the rule of King Philip IV. The obverse side of this 17th century coin features a cross with lions and castles and the reverse shows the Philip IV royal coat of arms. From the House of Habsburg, Philip ruled a Spanish global empire with territories and colonies in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceana. Under the Spanish Habsburgs rule in the 16th & 17th centuries, Spain reached the peak of its political and economic strength when its Empire became the foremost global power.
With the discovery of untold riches that were mined in the Americas, the Spanish and their mighty galleon fleets were the premier supplier of gold and silver coins for the world. This vastly increased the shipping trade and made many merchants wealthy, both in Spain and in the Colonies. However, it was inevitable that the Golden Age of Piracy (1650-1725) in the New World would ensue. Buccaneers from Tortuga and pirates throughout the Caribbean raided ships and settlements in search of treasure.
Spanish coins, known as "cobs", that circulated in this epic era were hand struck from dies and cut to weight. Minted in five denominations in silver, the largest was the 8 reales, famous in the colonies and among pirates as a “piece of eight”. The other denominations were 4 reales, 2 reales, 1 real and 1/2 real. Cob coinage with their unusual shapes are all unique and each is a one-of-a-kind piece of history.