Description:This Spanish gold 1/2 escudo coin was minted in Seville Spain during the reign of Philip V. The obverse side features the bust of King Philip V and the reverse shows his crowned coat of arms. Philip was the first King of Spain from the House of Bourbon and ruled from 1700 - 1746. The 18th century was a prosperous time for the Spanish Empire in the Americas as trade within grew steadily. The Bourbon reforms of Philip V and his son Ferdinand VI included a major modernization of the Spanish Navy. They also began registering individual merchant ships (rather than private monopolized fleets), which led to much greater revenues from the Americas.
With the discovery of untold riches that were mined in the Americas, the Spanish 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.
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.