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PostPosted: Mon, 24-05-10, 22:02 GMT 
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Location: Hamburg, Germany
My little story starts a long long time ago, when my wife and I were exploring Sumatra with a rented Honda 110 motorbike ;-) . One day, we met this old man with only one tooth left in his mouth, leaning against a wall and offering a few little things for sale: worn shoe laces, black shoe polish, an old fork and knife set and .... there was this rather big shiny coin. It was about 4 cm in diameter and caught my attention right away. I took it up and immediately was fascinated by what I could read: Here is what I saw
(Click for BIG)
Image
Image

First of all, this coin seemed rather old, from 1764 to be precise! But then what on earth does a Spanish coin have to do in Sumatra! As far as we knew the Spaniards never were in Sumatra....

The man wanted about 50 cent (!) for the coin, I gave him 3 times as much and he was very happy.


Then for many years this coin rested in a nice silver drinking bowl that I once brought home from Tibet.

Yesterday, for no good reason, I remembered my coin and started a search in the internet that --amazingly-- was successful quite soon! Unlike previous attempts, I used for the Google search the inscribed year 1764 along with the Latin legend: UTRAQUE UNUM ... It means something like "both into one" or perhaps better "that the two may be one". AHA! This was the right way to go as it turned out very soon. ;-) After learning Latin for 9 years in HighSchool, the translation was quite easy, but what was it supposed to mean in the present context??

During my quite extensive digging activity, little pieces of information kept coming in until the fascinating history background of my coin became rather clear. And then, I even found this page,

http://www.goldcobs.com/Eight%20Reales_ ... 0mint.html

that showed a sharp photo of my coin from both sides AND quoted some respectable reference value in US dollars ..

Wow! Not bad at all ;-)

In the late 1720’s, Spanish King Philip V decided to modernize the coinage of his New World colonies. New types were ordered for both gold and silver, and machine production was mandated to replace the hand-struck cob coinage. Mexico premiered the new coinage in 1732, striking portrait gold and silver in the very attractive pillar or columnarios design. On the reverse of reales with the columnarios design, crowned twin globes sit between ornate pillars or columns. The globes are meant to represent the Old and New World conjoined, and [b]the legend reinforces the visual imagery. “Utraque Unumâ€


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