Macuquina: coin of Spanish Empire (Bolivian issue)


Macuquina, 1596-1605: Spanish Empire (Bolivian issue)

Macuquina, 1596-1605: Spanish Empire (Bolivian issue)

Ruler: Philip III (Spanish "Felipe III"; also known in Spain as Philip the Pious) — King of Spain during 1598-1621. As Philip II, he was also King of Portugal, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia and Duke of Milan from 1598 until 1621.

Spanish colonial silver coin (an ingot in the form of a coin of high purity silver: an example of the so-called "Colonial Cob coinage") with a denomination of 4 reales.

Coat of arms of the King of Spain Philip III (and also presented separately Lesser or abbreviated coat of arms of the Spanish monarch).

Mint of Potosi (modern Bolivia).

  • Silver (0.931): 26 mm - 11.24 g
  • Reference price: 36$

COIN MACUQUINA — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. SPANISH COLONIZATION OF THE AMERICAS (16th-18th centuries): macuquina

MACUQUINA as coin name.
Macuquina (much less often "Makukin"; English "Cob") — old Spanish colonial silver coin that was issued during the 16th-18th centuries at the mints of modern Mexico, as well as in South and Central America (nowadays Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Venezuela...). Basically, we are talking about Latin America.
Macuquinas as a phenomenon, in fact, are still not fully understood. Among historians and collectors, there are constant disputes about their essence... In addition to everything else, there are too many copies / fakes, as well as the difficulty (often — the impossibility) to accurately determine the time and place of production (although there is a distinction between macuquinas "Mexican", "Peruvian" etc.).
The key feature of the macuquina is the high quality of silver with minimal, often deplorable for the indicated historical period, quality of coin production.
The emission was carried out by the Spanish in American regions rich in silver deposits.
Macuquina is a conventional name. In fact, these were reales of the Spanish Empire (½, 1, 2, 4 and 8 reales, which differed in weight). The last, the largest, of the listed denominations corresponded to European thaler in terms of weight. This is not accidental. Brought across the ocean to Europe, the American by their nature macuquinas, did not enter monetary circulation: they were immediately remelted with the subsequent minting of thalers.
Recently, it is increasingly possible to find the statement that the macuquina is not a coin, but only an ingot of high-quality silver with stamps in the form of Spanish coats of arms. The main argument of supporters of this statement: macuquinas were not used in monetary circulation. Most likely, this is how it was (with the exception of pirates, who used the looted macuquinas among themselves). But the macuquina has all the external signs of a coin (and the wrong shape is not at all rare in world numismatics).
Be that as it may, it can be unequivocally stated: macuquina is a numismatic material issued on the American continent in the 16th-18th centuries for Spain.
The name of the macuquina coin comes from the Spanish term, which in turn owes its appearance to the word "Makkaikuna" in the South American Quechua language — "beaten / struck" (the aborigines called the coins obtained by the Spanish colonizers by striking a piece of silver). I consider this assumption (supported by Spanish-language sources) to be the most realistic.
There is also a widespread version of the origin of the name from the Arabic "machuch" — "confirmed" (that is, a coin of an irregular shape, the value / weight of which is confirmed by drawing an image).
On English-language numismatic sites, macuquinas are called "cob coins" — from the Spanish "cabo": "end" (it means that for the manufacture of macuquinas, the blanks were cut from the end of silver bars / ingots).