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The new Silver Shield Pieces of Eight physically represents the deadly history of silver. Praedatum In Mundo translates into “A Predatory World” that defines the struggle of man against nature to extract this rare, precious metal, but also violent clash of civilizations to control the treasure of the world.
The ocean and sky in the background of the Silver Shield Pieces of Eight represent the treacherous seas that would claim many a men in search of this glorious treasure. Explorers sought to find new trading routes with Asia soon discovered the new world and all of it’s riches.
The Silver Shield Pieces of Eight has an Aztec inspired lower border that represents the powerful Native American empires that arose long before European discovery. The Aztecs, Mayans and Incas as well as many more Native American tribes conquered the Americas and spread their power throughout the Western Hemisphere. That is until another predatory power came to the new world...
The Spanish Conquistadors brought Christianity, brutal tactics and most importantly disease to conquer the indigenous populations and steal their natural wealth. Perhaps the most brutal example of the dangers and deaths associated with silver, is the legendary Cerro de Potosí mine in Bolivia. The Potosí mine was known as the mountain “made of silver” or the “mountain that eats men”. Since the Spanish first forced indigenous populations to mine the mountain, an estimated 8 million souls have died mining silver out of that one mountain. It is said that with the amount of silver taken from Potosí, the Spanish could have built a bridge of silver back to Spain. Local legends also say that they could build a second bridge back to the new world from the bones of the men that perished in the mining of that silver.
Despite and estimated 33 million Indigenous People and African slaves that worked the Potosí mine over the past 500 years, she is still yielding silver today. At over 15,000 feet above sea level, young boys as young as 14 years old work all day in medieval conditions hauling rock on their backs or breaking the rock with hammer and iron chisel. To think that even today, these boys risk their lives to work in brutal conditions in the dark for $14 a day is amazing. Everyday, they face almost certain death from either the dangers of the job, or if they are lucky enough to get to their 40’s, they will certainly face numerous lung diseases associated with this dangerous job.
As powerful as the Spanish Empire was, soon other colonial powers sought to dominate the nature and their fellow man. The eight swords of the Silver Shield Pieces of Eight represent the 8 great colonial powers that fought countless wars in dominating the world. Spain, England, France, Portugal, Denmark, Netherlands, The United States and Belgium all fought in foreign lands for the natural resources of other poorer people. This colonial warmongering continues to this day with the resource wars in the Middle East and Asia.
And no matter how powerful any one nation or empire is, on the open sea they were all subject to yet another predatory power, the Pirate. Despite the very bad reputation of the pirates, they actually had a very egalitarian code among them. It gives us a strong example of a true democracy that would put modern American democracy to shame. Pirates not only directly voted for their captain, but they also had the power to depose their captain at any time. Pirates also had a worker’s comp program that stated that if any pirate should become a cripple or lose a limb in service that they would receive 800 Pieces of Eight from the common stock.
The Silver Shield Pieces of Eight was styled after the original Spanish Dollar or Eight Reales coin. Like the original Spanish Dollar, the twin pillars of Hercules are adorned with the early manifest destiny motto of the Spanish Empire, PLVS VLTR, or "further beyond". These adorned pillars are also the reason why we have the dollar sign ($) today. For many years of the early American history, the Spanish Dollar was used as an official currency of the new colonies.
The Spanish influence on the American monetary system is still evident today. The original Spanish Dollar was a one ounce silver coin was valued at eight reales. This "piece of eight” could be fractioned into halves (four reales) or quarters (two reales) much as we do with modern dollars. These "pieces of eight” were also why the stock market traded stocks for hundreds of years measured in 1/8 until the decimalization in 2001.
Like the original Spanish Dollar, the only way to cut the Silver Shield Pieces of Eight into it’s eight pieces, is a lot of effort and strong tools. Unlike the original Spanish Dollar, Silver Shield Pieces of Eight has a unique reverse that shows the purity and weight of the (8) 1/8 oz pure silver pieces of the 1 ounce pure silver strike.
The Silver Shield Pieces of Eight is a 1 ounce Brilliant Uncirculated strike available now at Golden State Mint.
|Weight:||1 Troy Ounce|
|Composition:||.999 Fine Silver|
|Mint:||Golden State Mint|
|Condition:||Brilliant Uncirculated | Mint Fresh|
|Diameter:||39.3 mm | 1.55"|
|Thickness:||3.2 mm | 0.125"|
|Packaging:||20 per tube | Singles in flips|
|Shipping:||Free on orders over $500!||SKU:||SSBUPC8-1.0AG|