When the first Portrait Silver Dollars were minted, Spain was the largest imperial power and as such had access to the rich silver mines of Mexico to produce the coins. The Portrait Dollar was the most popular form of Spain’s famous silver 8 Reale, commonly called a “Piece of Eight” in the American colonies. In an age when international trade was largely conducted in silver coinage, the Portrait Dollar gained worldwide fame and acceptance and was the preferred silver in the American colonies. Due to its high silver content it remained the preferred legal tender even after the emergence of a US minted silver dollar in 1794.
This particular coin from 1809 bears the likeness of King Ferdinand VII. The Piece of Eight and its Certificate of Authenticity #1208: America’s First Silver Dollars c. 1773-1821 are presented in a dark blue leatherette folder with historic information on Portrait Dollars.
This is an original coin, not a reproduction.