The Great Transition at the Potosí Mint 1649 - 1653

The 1652 Transitional 8 Reales by Robert Mastalir Divisek




342 page color - 8 x 10''





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Mastalir's Book: The Great Transition at the Potosí Mint 1649





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Mastalir's Book: The Great Transition at the Potosí Mint 1649


About the Author: Robert Mastalir Divisek

Roberto MastalirBorn in Prague, Czech Republic, in 1945, and migrated to Ecuador in 1954 after a short stay in Trieste, Italy (1948-1954). With schooling in Italy and Ecuador, higher education followed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Class of 1969) with degrees in Physics and Mathematics. Upon return to Ecuador became involved in the Tourism industry as a General Manager of a Hotel located in the prime tourist destination of Baños in the Ecuadorean Andes, with active participation in the corresponding professional societies (1976-2009), retiring from the industry in 2010.

A lifelong collector dedicated to philately for many years, becoming an active numismatist in 1983, with different collecting interests and progressively getting more involved with the Spanish Colonial coinage of Potosí, not only as a collector but as a full time researcher and investigator of these issues.





This book describes in detail all the die-varieties of Potosi, Bolivia, cob 8 reales (silver coins) struck in 1652, a year of transition of design to what has become known as the "pillars-and-waves" style of 1652-1773. The previous design, up to and including 1652, featured instead a full Habsburg coat-of-arms (shield). This book also details the events leading up to the change of design, particularly the investigation and prosecution of fraud at the mine and mint in the 1620s through 1640s that resulted in silver coins that were underweight and below standard in fineness. Also contained in this book are brief descriptions of a couple shipwrecks (the Capitana of 1654 and the Maravillas of 1656) that yielded a majority of these transitional coins recent decades, enabling a rigorous die-study like this one to finally be realized. The various die changes are illustrated by photos and drawings throughout. The author anticipates completing the series with other volumes about the lower denominations (smaller coins) in the 1652 mint production, as well as coverage of the coins struck immediately prior and after the 1652 transition.