El Capitana - 8 Reales - Fully Dated 1653 - Assayer E (1651-1679)

Denomination: 8 Reales 
Assayer: "E" Antonio de Ergueta
Weight: 20.25 g
Mint: Potosi, Peru (modern-day Bolivia)
Reign: Philip IV
Date: 1653
Artifact Number: CAP-154

DESCRIPTION Type VIII-B Post-Transitional hand-struck cob. Fully Dated, 1653. 

OBVERSE: PILLAR SIDE. Displays incomplete, but visible, double-struck legend; "EL PERV" (PERU), POTOSI, expressing the Mint. Legible "53", the last two digits of the year, between Pillars of Gibraltar. Four convex waves central to Pillars. Three square borders surrounding, indicating a double-strike or possibly a broken die. Prominent Roman Numeral "8" depicting the coin's denomination, with a "PH" (for King Philip IV) barely visible above this feature. Partial crown. Incomplete "PLVS ULTRA"; missing letters "TRA."   

Spain's "PLUS ULTRA" motto, bisecting the coin, translates to "Further Beyond" from Latin, and is strategically placed between the Pillars as Spain's declaration of the conquest and ownership of newly discovered lands beyond The Pillars of Gibraltar; The New World. 

REVERSE: CROSS SIDE. Also double-struck. Crudely struck Reverse with broken Type B Cross. Type II castles, Type SW lions.  No dates visible. Last three digits of the year visible. 

HISTORY: The Mint at Potosi was the largest producer of silver coinage under the Spanish crown. Located in the High Andes of present-day Bolivia, The Potosi Mint was historically located in the Viceroyalty of Peru. The "P" Mint Mark stands for "Peru" and was used by this mint from its opening in 1575 until it's closing in 1825, long after the mechanical Screw Press replaced the centuries-old technique of hand-struck "cob" style coinage. The mines of Potosi are the richest in the world and produced most of the world (and Spain's) silver. Spain continued to exploit the mine's riches for four hundred years, making the country a central world bank. The city's Coat of Arms reads:

 "I am rich Potosí, treasure of the world, king of all mountains and envy of kings.