Description:This is a genuine silver two reales coin that was minted in Mexico City in the mid-16th century. Coins struck during this time in this newly discovered Spanish territory are among the first coins minted in the New World. This Mexican mint opened in 1535 under the joint reign of mother “Johanna the Mad” and her son Charles I. During their reign, the territories in New Spain were considerably extended by conquistadores like Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, who caused the Aztec and Inca Empires to fall in little more than a decade.
Beginning in the 16th century, the Spanish and their mighty galleon fleets became the premier supplier of gold and silver coins for the world. This was accomplished through the discovery of untold riches that were effectively mined in the Americas. The shipping trade would vastly increase and many merchants, both in Spain and in the colonies, became wealthy. 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.
Coinage of this historical period were hand struck from dies and cut to weight according to the Spanish monetary system. Minted in five denominations in silver, the largest was the eight reales, which was famous in the colonies and among pirates as a “piece of eight.” This coin shows the Johanna & Charles crowned coat of arms and on the reverse is the Pillars of Hercules.