Silver Wine Taster w/ 1633 Spanish 8 Reales Coin
This desirable wine taster has a 1633 Spanish 8 Reales Coin and two hallmarks. One, the Spanish pentagram indicating silver purity between .915 and 1000. The second, a makers mark I can not decipher. 3.25 diameter, 4″ with thumb rest and 1″ high.
Additional information on the coin can be found below. In the 1950s, if you had an old coin inherited from grandparents, you could take it to a silversmith and have a little plate, a tastevin or any object you wanted made.
This coin is a 1633 Spain 8 Reales of Felipe IV (1621-1665). The obverse shows the Hapsburg shield Crowned. The Arabic number “8”, representing the denomination “8 reales” is at the right of the shield. At the left is the mint mark, a 2-tier, 4-arch aqueduct representing the Segovia Mint. Below is the letter “R”, the mark of the assayer, Rafael Salvan. The abbreviated Latin legends around the shield are: PHILIPPVS IIII D.G. (Philip IV By the Grace of G-d).
The legend continues on the reverse: HISPANIARVM REX 1633 (King of Spain 1633). There is a cross within a tressure that shows alternating Castles and Lions, representing the unification of the two medieval Kingdoms of Castilla and León that eventually became Spain (España).
For hundreds of years the Spanish 8 reales was the world’s trade unit. When the fledgling U.S.A. created their monetary system it was based on a decimalized version of the 8 reales (US$1=8 reales). Spanish coins were legal tender in the U.S.A. until 1858 and helped alleviate the coin shortages that were endemic around the country. (Contemporary 8 reales were often cut into 8 parts when small change wasn’t available. Each part, called a “bit”, was 12 1/2 cents. Two bits was a quarter, a term still known today but now quickly disappearing from colloquial language).
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