Denominations--Notes and Coins
Spanish coins during the American colonial period were minted in denominations that used 1/8 as the division. The following is a table of copper, silver, and gold coin denominations. Only silver coins are known to have been used as vignettes on US obsolete paper money.
Spanish American Colonial Coin Denominations
|1/16 real||1/4 real|
|1/8 real||1/2 real*||1/2 escudo|
|1 real*||1 escudo|
|2 reales*||2 escudos|
|4 reales*||4 escudos|
|8 reales*||8 escudos|
|* denomination used as a depiction on US notes|
|16 reales = 1 escudo|
Denominations of US Obsolete Notes and the Coins They Used
US obsolete notes come in many different and sometimes strange denominations. Because the Spanish 8 reales was the model for the US silver dollar, the division of the dollar into eighths (even sixteenths) came about. Notes of 12 1/2 and 6 1/4 cents denomination are fairly common, most without any depiction of a Spanish coin or reference to the Spanish system.
Only the silver coin vignettes were used on notes--never the copper or gold--and the 1/4 real coin is not found. The following are the most common combinations of coins and note denominations.
- 1/2 real coin. Used on 5 cent and 6 1/4 cent notes.
- 1 real coin. Used on 10 cent and 12 1/2 cent notes. Also found on at least one 37 1/2 cent note.
- 2 reales coin. Used on 25 cent notes. At least 4 75 cent notes are also known.
- 4 reales coin. Used on 50 cent notes; also on one Alabama 75 cent note.
- 8 reales coin. Used on dollar and multiple dollar notes (2, 3, 5, and 10 dollars). For multiple dollar notes, the Spanish coin is sometimes depicted with a US coin--the designer was basically covering all bases.