COB COINAGE, 1546 - 1773
Also known as "cut money", these irregularly shaped coins from different colonial mints were mostly hand- struck from silver and gold silvers. Whenever possible, these coins bore the royal coat of arms, the denominations (8 reales, 4 reales, 2 reales, 1 real and half real), the mint mark and the initials of the official mint assayer. These coins changed hands on the basis of their weight and purity in the Spanish colonies as well as in the Philippines greatly as a result of the Manila - Acapulco Galleon Trade which ensured their circulation in the East. Because of their irregular shape, the coins soon became debased by such practices as clipping, punching, shaving and other ingenious methods resorted to by merchants.