8 reales 1734, Potosí Heart

8 reales 1734, Potosí Heart

8 reales, 1734 Potosi Heart

Period: Baroque

Country: Bolivia

Ruler: Philip V

Denomination: 8 Reales

Mint: Potosí

Weight: 25,62 g

Quality: almost EF (MBC+)

Auction house: Aureo & Calicó

Date: 16 March 2017

Starting price: 9000 euros

Historical context

Between the end of XVI Century and the beginning of XIX Century Potosi minted vast quantities of silver that was extracted from Cerro Rico. Among the millions of silver coins minted in Potosi during the colonial era, a few were struck on blanks with the shape of the Sacred Heart. These are known as “Potosi Hearts” or “Heart Cobs”. They were all struck at the beginning of the XVIII Century and the reason why reminds a mystery. Glenn Murray considers that silver dealers asked for these coins to be later on sold to important clients.

For those who are interested in the Potosi Hearts I would recommend a text by Daniel Frank Sedwick and an article of the same author. You can also find other texts in Spanish, like this one and this one. Finally the last book of Glenn Murray and the catalogue by Lazaro are must have for those interested in Potosi coins .


Potosi never made gold hearts, so there is no coin superior in value for those interested on Potosi coins or the countless collectors of crown sized coins all around the world. This implies a huge demand for this coin, which guarantees high price; its rarity makes its price very difficult to predict.

Maybe the best reference for this coin is this one hammered in 2012 for 18.000 euros (the coin auction says that no more than three specimens were known to exist). The date is the same and the quality is similar, although that specimen was holed. Another specimen of another date, in a similar condition but also holed was hammered for 19.000 euros. However, we can see that an unholed specimen of another date (but similar rarity) was hammered for $100.000. This hammer price is twice as much as what I would consider reasonable for a Potosi heart, but it shows how unpredictable the price of these rare coins is. In any case, I would consider that the coin in auction worths between 25.000 and 30.000 euros.

Description from the seller

1734. Felipe V. Potosí. E. 8 reales. (Cal. 859, mismo ejemplar) (Lázaro 330, mismo cuño del reverso). 25,62 g. En forma de corazón. Triple fecha, una parcialmente visible y triple ensayador. Ex Colección Amat, Ponterio 08/03/1991, nº 3. Rarísima y más sin perforación. MBC+.



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