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An "Indian" style imaginary bust 8 reales of Ferdinand VII, Lima mint


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As I go through the boxes that comprise the collection, really journey through time, I photographed a coin from my Spanish colonial coinage phase, covering around two decades.  This is an imaginary bust 8 reales from Lima, dated 1808.  In the past this style was referred to as the Indian bust, though I think such a designation these days may not be appropriate, so let's call it the Lima style imaginary bust.

Lima also minted for most of 1808 8 reales with the legend and portrait of Charles IV. 

Prior to the arrival of dies from Spain with an accurate portrait, die engravers in Mexico, Santiago and Lima were left to their own devices when news of Ferdinand's success arrived in Spain's colonial possessions.  Perhaps these renderings were based on paintings of Ferdinand VII, but perhaps another source was used. It's also important to remember that this transition from Charles IV to Ferdinand VII occurred during the wars of independence throughout Latin America and the Napoleonic War, and the associated interruptions in communications with Spain

Other mints, notably Bogota and Guatemala, resolved the problem by simply continuing to use the bust of Charles IV, but changing the legend to Ferdinand VII.  In the case of Bogota, the bust Charles IV was used continuously through Colombia's independence from Spain on August 7, 1819, with 1820 being the last date for this type.

Lima minted these imaginary 8 reales from 1808 to 1811.  The bust size varies over this period, ranging from large (1808) to medium (1809) to small by 1810-1811.  Eight reales dated 1808 are the rarest, but some later varieties are quite scarce.  By far 1811 is the most common Lima date with the imaginary bust.  Later that year Lima began minting coins with the proper bust; those coins are quite rare.

This coin is generally nice, but with a few small rim nicks and minor scratches.

Peru, Ferdinand VII, 8 reales, Lima, 1808 JP.  Large Bust.

KM 106.1

27.2 grams 


Here's an example of Colombia's "frozen" portrait of Charles IV, with a Ferdinand VII legend.

Colombia, 8 escudos, Ferdinand VII, Bogota, 1810JF.

KM 66.1

26.8 grams


Are there any other imaginary portrait coins out there?  Please post if you wish and other coins are always welcome!


Edited by robinjojo
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Here are a couple more imaginary bust coins from the period.  Both are from 1809 and have the armored imaginary bust that was issued until 1811, when the proper bust was introduced later that year.

Ferdinand VII, 8 escudos, Mexico, 1809HJ.

KM 160

27 grams



Ferdinand VII, 8 reales, Mexico, 1809TH.

KM 110

26.88 grams


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Great coins and very informative post @robinjojo.  This inspired me to photography my only Lima imaginary bust, an 8 reales:


I was not aware of the various bust sizes for this - so this would be the small type, I assume.  It does look smaller than the OP's.  

This coin actually photographs better than it really is - the rims are chewed up and it is slightly bent.  About 25 years ago I found it in a local dealer's shop - old school dealers back then would price low-grade 8 reales very low sometimes - I think it was $15.  I'd like to upgrade, but the prices...ouch!  

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Those are some nice example of Ferdinand VII's bustos imaginarios for Lima and Mexico. That Mexico 8E is...😍

I have an 1810 from Lima somewhere, no picture though. 


Santiago is generally thought not to have known either what the new monarch looked like, so they came up with this bust:

(However, some people believe a portrait of Fernando VII was available in Chile depicting him closer to what he really looked like)  




Chile Santiago 8 Reales 1810 - OBV:REV - FINAL.png

Chile Santiago 2 Reales 1810 - OBV:REV - VGP - 2022 - 2024.png

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Recently an 8 reales from homeland Spain came my way with what is called a "first bust" type (so I gleaned from auctions).  I don't know much about these, but this bust looks more like Ferdinand VII, of course, since he lived in Spain, but it is not quite the classic FVII bust that came later.  Too bad about the hole:


Spain 1809 8 Reales Ferdinand VII (first bust) Seville Mint FERDINANDUS VII · DEI ·  G ·· 1809 · draped bust right / HISPANIARUM · REX ·  | around crowned arms, R | S - 8 | C·N | across fields KM 451;  (old C 136b); ME Cayon 15810; Calicó 635.  (26.87 grams / 38 mm) eBay Nov. 2023     Lot @ $20.83


Edited by Marsyas Mike
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Though probably not.  Ferdinand VII was a Bourbon, descended from Philip V, nephew of Louis XIV of France. 

I had to rummage through the boxes, but was able to locate the imaginary bust 8 escudos Ferdinand Vii, Santiago.  This coin is in an old ANACS slab from the early 1990s (came that way).

Chile, Ferdinand VII, 8 escudos, Santiago, 1811 FJ.  Imaginary bust.

KM 72 


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