Spain: Coins Issued and Used

Showing only circulating coin types (regular coinage plus circulating commemoratives).

Spain (1516 - )
Information about what currencies were issued by Spain, with lists of coinage, as well as periods when foreign-issued currencies were used.
Currency: Spanish Dollar. Used in Spain: (1598 - 1869)
CurrencySpanish Dollar
PeriodSpanish Dollar
Used1598 - 1869

After the introduction of the Guldengroschen in Austria in 1486, the concept of a large silver coin with high purity (sometimes known as "specie" coinage) eventually spread throughout the rest of Europe. Monetary reform in Spain brought about the introduction of an 8-real coin in 1497. In 1537 the Spanish Escudo Gold Coin was introduced, which was worth 16 reales. The later Gold Doubloon was worth 32 reales or 2 escudos. It is this divisibility into 8 which caused the silver coins to be named "Pieces of Eight".

In the following centuries, and into the 19th century, the coin was minted with several different designs at various mints in Spain and the New World, having gained wide acceptance beyond Spain's borders. Thanks to the vast silver deposits that were found in Mexico (for example, at Taxco and Zacatecas) and Potosí in modern-day Bolivia, and to silver from Spain's possessions throughout the Americas, mints in Mexico and Peru also began to strike the coin. The main New World mints for Spanish dollars were at Potosí, Lima, and Mexico City (with minor mints at Bogotá, Popayán, Guatemala City, and Santiago), and silver dollars from these mints could be distinguished from those minted in Spain by the Pillars of Hercules design on the reverse. In the 19th century, the coin's denomination was changed to 20 reales (based on 20 reales de vellón) and finally 2 escudos.

Spain's adoption of the peseta in 1869 and its joining the Latin Monetary Union meant the effective end of the last vestiges of the Spanish dollar in Spain itself. However, the 5-peseta coin (or duro) was slightly smaller and lighter but was also of high purity (90%) silver.

In the 1990s, commemorative 2000-peseta coins were minted, similar in size and weight to the 8 reales and also with high fineness.

Currency: Euro, Spain. Used in Spain: (1999 - present)
CurrencyEuro, Spain
Used1999 - present

The currency was introduced in non-physical form (traveller's cheques, electronic transfers, banking, etc.) at midnight on 1 January 1999, when the national currencies of participating countries (the eurozone) ceased to exist independently. Their exchange rates were locked at fixed rates against each other. The euro thus became the successor to the European Currency Unit (ECU). The notes and coins for the old currencies, however, continued to be used as legal tender until new euro notes and coins were introduced on 1 January 2002.

The changeover period during which the former currencies' notes and coins were exchanged for those of the euro lasted about two months, until 28 February 2002. The official date on which the national currencies ceased to be legal tender varied from member state to member state. The earliest date was in Germany, where the mark officially ceased to be legal tender on 31 December 2001, though the exchange period lasted for two months more. Even after the old currencies ceased to be legal tender, they continued to be accepted by national central banks for periods ranging from several years to forever (the latter in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Estonia and Latvia for banknotes and coins; also, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Slovakia will accept banknotes forever, but not coins). The earliest coins to become non-convertible were the Portuguese escudos, which ceased to have monetary value after 31 December 2002, although banknotes remain exchangeable until 2022.

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