Gold coin

eight-escudos coin Pulse para ampliar Charles IV eight-escudos coin of 1795, minted in Popayán (Colombia)

The coins retrieved from the Mercedes were part of the Spanish monetary system in the Bourbon period: they cover the period from 1770 to 1804, corresponding to the reigns of Charles III and Charles IV.Salto de línea Compared to the huge number of silver coins (more than 600,000 pieces), there are very few gold pieces in the cargo of the frigate Nuestra Señora de la Mercedes: 212 coins.Salto de línea They are all eight-escudo coins, plus a single two-escudo coin, most coined in Lima in 1803, although there are also examples of coins from Potosí, Popayán and Santiago de Chile.Salto de línea From 1772 onwards, a common design was chosen for all gold coin mints: the obverse includes the bust of the monarch, looking to the right, represented with a wig, mantle, armour and Order of the Golden Fleece, and the reverse features the crowned shield.Salto de línea These coins, also called “ounces” or “doubloons of eight”, constitute the highest value denomination within the monetary system of the time, officially weighing 27 g and measuring 38-40 mm in diameter.Salto de línea Both the eight-escudo and the eight-real coins were commonly used for large state payments such as taxes, war or debt, as well as for large-scale trade, both domestically and abroad. Salto de línea