Spanish Pillar Dollar: Influence on American Currencies
A collaboration of Marty Martinez
Spanish Origin of Sign $
The beliefs of the fifteenth century included, among other things, the absolute danger of sailing past the Pillars of Hercules. Thus they were called at that time two promontories located in the Strait of Gibraltar: Mount Calpe to the north (Gibraltar) and the Rock of Abila to the south (Ceuta).
This was the obligatory passage of the mare nostrum (the Mediterranean) to the greater and unknown part of the enormous Atlantic Ocean. And according to the mythology of Antiquity, the colossal Hercules would have written in both columns the lapidary warning. Nec plus ultra “not beyond” (ie: do not trespass).
The very few who dared to pass (and could return) counted dreadful adventures filled with sea monsters and demonic appearances. Yet, the Admiral Christopher Columbus dared to cross the Pillars of Hercules and with that passage reached the “Indies” (America). He repeated this adventure several more times and founded the first Castellanos settlements in the American continent.
Such feat gave the united crowns of Castile and Aragon, germ of the unified Spain after seven centuries of independence war against Islam. The tremendous pride of having overcome the curse of the dreaded Columns to go further (in Latin: plus ultra).
With the passage of time, and taking advantage of the silver and gold of America, coins were minted representing the Spanish shield with the columns of Hercules and the inscription Plus Ultra, surrounding them in course.
How to Identify the Coinage
The sign of the bars and the S, was taken by the Americans of the Spanish Peso for its currency, called Dollar. In its origin Spanish Silver Pillar Dollar is the word that also has Spanish origin. United States of America: The Dolar Spanish Pillar dollar.
The word Dollar comes from the Spanish tálero, as it comes from talerus, which is the latinized expression of the German word thaler (pronounced talar).
This is the name that the Germans gave to the Spanish Real. The thaler when arriving in america through England, became the dollar. The word Pillar comes from the two pillars of hercules minted in the coins.
Real : Piece of Eight
The coin created by the Catholic Kings, the real piece to eight, was minted in three metals, gold, silver and copper. It was coined both in Spain and in several regions of America, which had the necessary authorization. From the original to the piece of eight, there were several pieces, to facilitate the changes. There was the currency of the real, and then there were coins of two reales, four reales and eight reales ( piece of eight) . There were real gold and silver, being the ratio of value between both metals from 1 gold to 16 silver.
At the time of the creation of the real of eight, the real already existed, so denominated currency because it was issued by the king, and not by a feudal lord.
How much is a Real?
The real was worth 34 maravedíes. A real piece of eight of silver was worth 8 x 34 = 272 maravedíes, and the piece of eight of gold (commonly called doubloon), was worth 16 times more: 8 x 34 x 16 = 4,352 maravedíes.
The real was a coin in pieces or parts of unit value eight, with its multiples of eight. The Spanish Silver Pillar Dollar was based on the conversion of the silver coin to eight reales, which was the first silver dollar. The Value of 1/8 of Real was 12.5 cents of dollar, popularly called Bit.
A curious case of reals of eight happened in the Philippines with coins minted in America, which were countermarked. In Spanish America when it was occupied by revolutionary forces, coins were minted using Spanish molds. When the Spanish crown later regained control of the territory, those coins were countermarked and sent to the Philippines
Spanish Pillar Dollar – Bank Notes
Bank of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, hand signed Set 1° 1838 12 and half cents = 1/8 of Spanish Silver Pillar Dollar Silver Coin, of 1 Real minted in Mexico MO FF Impression Rawdon, Wright & Hatch New York
This piece of the same bank were combined currencies of eight, coined in different regions
Bank of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Unsigned 75 cents = 3/4 of Spanish Silver Pillar Dollar Silver Coin, of 2 Reales minted in Potosi PS PJ Impression Rawdon, Wright & Hatch New York
This five dollar bill, its equivalent in coins was printed
The Manhattan Bank- Five dollar Bill - Ohio 1840 may 1° Coins Of silver (five) , of 8 reales minted in Mexico MO FM Impression Rawdon, Wright & Hatch New York
This notebank paper of three dollars are already combined, in their impression the eight real coins (2) and one coined in the United States, which goes ahead and overshadowing the Spanish.
Exchange Office- Holley Springs Mississippi - Three dollar Bill - Unsigned Coins Of silver (two) , of 8 reales minted in Mexico MO FM Impression Rawdon, Wright & Hatch New York
In this piece Two dollars also combine in their impression a coin of eight reales and one minted in the United States, which goes to the front and overshadowing even more than the previous one. The American currency is of different invoice than the previous one
The Mystic Bank- Mystic Connecticut - Two dollar Bill - 1858 August 1° Coins Of silver , of 8 reales minted in Mexico MO FM Impression Rawdon, Wright & Hatch New York
This half dollar bill the denomination next to the coin is printed
City of Natchez Mississipi- half dollar Bill - 1862 July 9° Coins Of silver , of 8 reales minted in Potosi PS PJ Impression Rawdon, Wright & Hatch New York
- Sources: http://www.sedwickcoins.com/articles/colonialcoinage.htm Spanish Pillar Dollar