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Philip III 1 real

By Dave Busse

The 1 real through the 8 reales all have a similar basic design. The primary difference, aside from the amount of silver in the coin, is the denomination. The obverse has the Shield of Philip HI (a variation of the Hapsburg Coat of Arms, see below for more details) centered and topped by a royal crown. The mintmark is centered vertically just left of the shield. The denomination (found with both Roman and Arabic numerals, the former being less common) is centered vertically just right of the shield.
The legend beginning at 1:00 o'clock on the right side of the crown reads: " # PHTLTPVS # /// * DEI M GRATIA M". Beginning in 1607, GRATIA was changed to a Gand the RATIA was replaced by a four digit date.
The reverse has a cross centered. The cross has balls on the ends. Within the quadrants formed by the cross are lions and castles. Normally the lions are in the UR and LL quadrants while the castles are in the LR and UL. The legend around the circumference reads: " 9 M HISPAN1ARVM M ET # 1NDIARVM M REX #". For 8 reales produced between 1598 and 1606 - i. e., sans date - with the assayer initial F, one often finds it difficult to differentiate them from Philip II coins. One way, though not fool proof is to examine the crown. On Philip II pieces the central band of the crown is jeweled while it is usually plain on the Philip III examples. Normally Philip III coins have a shaded area at the bottom of the crown that is not found on Philip II's. Observed coins are as follows:

Known examples:

Year Assayer  
ND F  
1607/ATIA F  
1607 F  
1608/7 F  
1608 F  
1608 A/F  
1609 A/F  
1610,1/0 F  
1610/9 A/F  
1610 F  
1610 D (1616?)
1611/0 F  
1611 F  
1612 F  
1613 F  
1614 F  
1620/19 D  
1620 D