ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Up until the mid-1790s, America did not have coin minting capability. Commerce was conducted using foreign coinage along with bartering.
The most common coin of this period was the Spanish 8 Reales which was minted in Mexico and South America. Former Albuquerque Coin Club President Phil Vitale discusses the coin and its history.
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The coin was essentially the size, weight, and silver content of what would later become our future dollar and in the 1790s, this was a lot of money for many people. While there were smaller denominations Reales, the typical method was to chop the coin into eight “bits” with each being worth 12.5 cents. People were so used to the system that when the Mint started to make coins in 1793, it minted a half-cent for people to use as change.
From November 12 to November 14 the ACC will be hosting its Great Southwest Coin Expo at the Marriott Pyramid Hotel. Dealers from seven states will have millions of dollars in coin and currency available for the public to see and purchase.
For more info on the Albuquerque Coin Club, visit abqcc.org.