Description:This Spanish silver coin was minted in Madrid Spain during the reign of King Ferdinand VI. The obverse side features a cross with castles & lions in the quarters. The reverse shows the Ferdinand VI crowned coat of arms, with the Madrid "M" and assayer "JB" marks. 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, the Spanish and their mighty galleon fleets became the premier supplier of gold and silver coins for the world. This vastly expanded trade and made many merchants wealthy, both in Spain and in the Colonies. 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. Spanish coinage of this historical period was 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.