1772, Bolivia, Charles III of Spain. Colonial 2 Reales Cob Coin. VF+
Mint Year: 1772
Mint Place: Potosi (P)
Condition: Crudely struck, otherwise VF+
Denomination: Cob of 2 Reales (1/4 of a Piece of Eight)
Obverse: Pillars of Hercules, partial date (772) below.
Reverse: Cross of Jerusalem with lions and castles in quarters.
The first coinage of the New World and what comes to mind when we think of Pirate Treasure are pieces of eight. These first coins, often called cob coins, were made from roughly cut planchets (blanks) by striking them with hand dies. The word Cobb comes from a simplification of the Spanish phrase, Cabo de Barra, which translates as, from a bar. After the coins are struck, they are weighed by an assayer who cuts off any excess Silver which is why most coins have some of the impression cut away. Due to this method of manufacturer no two coins are alike and many are collected for their unique shapes alone. The Cobb coin, like anything that is no longer available is becoming very scarce and hence more valuable. The few remaining Coins are the last vintage of the glory days of pirates and Treasure hunting and are fast disappearing into private hands.
Charles III (January 20, 1716 - December 14, 1788) was King of Spain 1759-88 (as Carlos III), King of Naples and Sicily 1735-59 (as Carlo VII and Carlo V), and Duke of Parma 1732-35 (as Carlo I). He was a proponent of enlightened absolutism.
On August 10, 1759, his half-brother Ferdinand VI of Spain died, and Charles III left the Neapolitan/Sicilian dominions to go to Madrid. His second son would eventually rule in Spain as Charles IV. His third son would unify the Kingdom of Naples and Kingdom of Sicily to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and ruled as Ferdinand.
As king of Spain, his foreign policy was marked by the alliance with France (the Family Compacts) and the conflict with Britain over the control of the American possessions. His support for France in the close of the Seven Years' War led to the loss of Florida to the British, although this was partly compensated by the acquisition of the French Louisiana. The rivalry with Britain also led him to support the American revolutionaries in their War of Independence despite his misgivings about the example it would set for the Spanish Colonies. During the war, Spain recovered Minorca and Florida, but failed to capture Gibraltar.
His internal government was, on the whole, beneficial to the country. He began by compelling the people of Madrid to give up emptying their slops out of the windows, and when they objected he said they were like children who cried when their faces were washed. In 1766, his attempt to force the madrileÃƒÂ±os to adopt the French dress for public security reasons was the excuse for a riot (MotÃƒÂn de Esquilache) during which he did not display much personal courage. For a long time after, he remained at Aranjuez, leaving the government in the hands of his minister Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, Count of Aranda. Not all his reforms were of this formal kind.
Charles was a thorough despot of the benevolent order, and had been deeply offended by the real or suspected share of the Jesuits in the riot of 1766. He therefore consented to the expulsion of the order, and was then the main advocate for its suppression. His quarrel with the Jesuits, and the recollection of some disputes with the Pope he had had when King of Naples turned him towards a general policy of restriction of what he saw as the overgrown power of the Church. The number of reputedly idle clergy, and more particularly of the monastic orders, was reduced, and the Spanish Inquisition, though not abolished, was rendered torpid.In the meantime, much antiquated legislation which tended to restrict trade and industry was abolished; roads, canals and drainage works were established. Many of his paternal ventures led to little more than waste of money, or the creation of hotbeds of jobbery; yet on the whole the country prospered. The result was largely due to the king, who even when he was ill-advised did at least work steadily at his task of government. He created the Spanish Lottery and introduced Christmas cribs following Neapolitan models. During his reign, the movement to found "Economic Societies" (a rough prototype Chamber of Commerce) was born.
His example was not without effect on some of the nobles. In his domestic life King Charles was regular, and was a considerate master, though he had a somewhat caustic tongue and took a rather cynical view of humanity. He was passionately fond of hunting. During his later years he had some trouble with his eldest son and daughter-in-law. If Charles had lived to see the beginning of the French Revolution he would probably have been frightened into reaction. As he died on the 14th of December 1788 he left the reputation of a philanthropic and philosophic king, still nicknamed "el rey alcalde" ("the king mayor") because of the public works in Madrid. In spite of his hostility to the Jesuits, his dislike of friars in general, and his jealousy of the Spanish Inquisition, he was a very sincere Roman Catholic. Charles was responsible for granting the title "Royal University" to the University of Santo Tomas in Manila which is the oldest in Asia.
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