Today is the first installment of a new set of articles featuring Pirate history, facts, fiction, and trivia. We will be listing these articles under “All things Piratey” . Though many of the people who love pirates may be well versed in the stories of many of the famous characters thoughout history, we would like to share with those who may not. So without further adieu.
During the Golden age of Piracy Spain minted their currency in silver and gold. Spanish money was originally minted by hand. The silver and gold was melted down into thin strips. As the metal cooled it was beaten into the desired thickness by hand. Then the coins were cut out to the approximate size and the blank was placed into a coin die ( or stamp). The face or head side would be struck , and then the tails, with a hammer and the die into the soft metal. It would then be weighed and if over , small pieces would be “nipped off”.
Later, a coin press was used pressing both sides at once and cutting off the extra metal making them more uniform.
The word “doubloon” is derived from the Spanish dobla, which means “double,” a reference to the fact that the doubloon was worth twice that of the pistole, the regular Spanish gold coin. Going progressively down the scale of value, the Spaniards also dealt in reales, coins of much smaller denomination. Incidentally, the “pieces of eight” which crop in stories about pirates would have been worth eight reales, or around 1/16 of a doubloon.
Pieces Of Eight