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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Spanish Gold Coins

Of all the Spanish gold coins the Doubloon always seems to bring echoes of the romance and adventures of pirates and buccaneers.

As with Spanish silver, Spanish gold coinage was popular around the world. The basic gold coin was the eight escudo piece, often called a Doubloon. In 1537 eight escudos was set at 27.4680 grams of .92 fine gold (22-carat gold). In 1728 the weight was reduced to 27.06429 grams, and then in 1772 the fineness was reduced to .90103. The Spanish escudo eventually became the standard by which other gold coins were measured.

Different to the silver escudos, the gold escudos were only used by the wealthy so tend not to be worn down as much. Therefore, the earlier escudos tend to command a high price, sometimes in the thousands, depending on the actual condition of the coin.

For example an 8 Escudos gold coin struck from the Popayan Mint with a weight of 27.0 grams can fetch up to 1400 dollars US or more. A 4 Escudos coin minted in Madrid and weighting 13.5 grams will fetch up to $795.00.

There are hundreds of different Spanish gold coins and many collectors specialize in collecting Spanish gold coins only, building up an impressive collection with a very high value.

When buying such coins one should seek a reputable dealer and insist upon a certificate of authenticity. This should apply to the newer coins as well as the ancient and especially for ‘shipwrecked’ coins. That is coins found in shipwrecks as salvage.

There are two types of certificates here. For shipwrecked coins there is the original certificate supplied by the original company who handle the salvage and distribution of such coins. The other is for normal coins, which is to say non shipwrecked coins.

What ever type of Spanish gold coins one collects one can be assured of an absorbing hobby that could even turn out to be quite profitable as well!

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