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Interesting CT thread on a small group of 4th century Roman bronze coins apparently found in Venezuela


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Very interesting thanks. I heard years ago about some coins found in the harbor at Rio De Janeiro (not sure how accurate the report was). I do recall that the fallen horseman types of Constantius II had been found in Sri Lanka, as evidence of long distance trade. The ships left the port of Berenike on the Red Sea coast of Egypt and headed across the Indian Ocean, apparently some of the trade was Myrrh and Frankincense.

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1 hour ago, robinjojo said:

It seems that these small bronze coins were used to a very limited extent in South America during early Spanish colonial times.


I've also heard the explanation that the ship's ballast was dug up around the Med (including coins) and then dumped at the port where they were loading up with New World goods, which in Venezuela could’ve included gold.

Edited by John Conduitt
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  • Benefactor

The Spanish and Portuguese colonizing South America, Central America, the Caribbean and areas of North America would need to bring coins with them during the early days of exploration and conquest, since the New World mints of Potosi, Bolivia (established in 1573), Mexico (established May 11, 1535), Santo Domingo (1542 to 1552) and Lima (established August 21, 1565) did not exist prior to those dates. 

I know that Spain produced very limit quantities of silver coinage for use in the colonies.  Also, there's evidence that a limited number of 8 reales were produced by making cast molds of Spanish Charles and Johanna coins.  But for copper coinage, the coinage of everyday use, it makes sense that these coins would be introduced, including old Roman 4th century bronze coins, until local minting was able to fulfil that need. Even then, with the focus on minting gold and silver coins to help the Spanish Crown finance ongoing wars and pay the loans provided by European banking houses , copper coinage initially was sparse.

Edited by robinjojo
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