During the times of the New World, Spanish gold coins were a popular and highly sought after coin. Also known as the gold doubloon, these gold coins were minted in 1, 2, 4, and 8 escudo denominations. The one-half escudo coin was also minted by Spain.
The escudo was nicknamed the "shield". It was equal to 16 reales of silver. The two and four escudo valued coins were known as the "pistole", and the "double pistole". English colonists eventually referred to the eight escudo coin as the Spanish doubloon.
This eight escudo coin became the basic gold coin, or the doubloon. In 1537, 8 escudos were set at 27.4680 g of .92 fine gold (22-carat gold) . This was later changed to 27.06429 g, and later .90103 grams in 1772. Over the span of 250 years the weight of Spanish gold coins only changed a fraction.
|Spain Gold 1786 1/2 escudo Spanish Coin|
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As the Spanish spread and formed new colonies in the New World, they discovered more gold deposits. The first milled gold coinage was minted in Mexico in the year 1732. Before this time, gold cobs were produced, starting in the year 1622.
Gold does not deteriorate as easily as silver, which makes Spanish gold coins easier to authenticate. Many have held their initial designs and images, and are cherished by coin collectors throughout the world.