BOLIVIA half real (1)683 V


BOLIVIA, COLONY, half real, (1)683 V, Obverse: mongram and date, Reverse: arms, silver, 15-17mm, 1.83g, KM22, assayor off flan, F

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The hand struck coins of the early Spanish colonies are nicknamed “cobs” by collectors. The origin of the term are unknown and subject to speculation.

Bolivia was established by the Spanish colonizers as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Potosi because they found a mountain of silver nearby. Aside from mining it has always been a hard place to get along. Since independence the republic has been weak and subject to frequent coups and civil wars.

In 1494, when Portugal and Spain were getting ready to seize land in the Western Hemisphere they asked the Pope to sort out the disagreements between them rather than fighting over everything. The Pope pointed to a longitude on a map and gave Portugal everything on one side and Spain everything on the other. Worked out well for Spain. Portugal got Brazil. Spain got everything else.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.