Mexican Eagle Dollars

"From 1823 (the 3rd year of Tao Kuang), when Mexico declared independence from Spain, Portrait Dollars were no longer minted. The new nation took the opportunity to introduce her newly designed silver coins to the immense markets in Asia and the Americas who had depended on Portrait Dollar as the major unit of exchange for both domestic and international trade. Undoubtedly, China was the most important customer.

These new Mexican silver coins were called "Eagle Dollars" by the Chinese. The unit weight was identical to that of the Portrait, approximately 27 grams, but its silver fineness of 90.3% than that of  the Portrait which was 90%. Shown on its reverse, there was a "Cap & Ray" symbolizing liberty; and on the obverse, the national emblem of Mexico- An eagle standing on top of a cactus with a snake held in its mouth.

After having circulated in China for 30 years, in 1856 (the 6th year of Hsien Feng)  Mexican Eagle Dollars were finally acknowledged as the successor of Portrait Dollars by 36 leading merchants representing the import businesses of Shanghai in their meeting dated the 1st day, 1st month of Hsien Feng 6th year. According to a resolution passed in that meeting, the Eagle Dollars were to replace Portrait as the new monetary unit for bookkeeping in the Chinese commercial society commencing on the 6th day, 2nd month of the same year. From that date, any payment used in any agreement, check or loan had to be made in Mexican Eagle Dollars. This resolution was quickly ratified by the Chinese authority.

The British government was eager to see an end to the monetary chaos since it had been a major obstacle to the expansion of British commercial interests in China. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued "Communique No.501" to the Chinese Imperial government, urging that the monetary unit of the Chinese custom tax levied on British subjects, according to the Tienjing Treaty agreed between the two countries in 1858 (the 8th year of Hsien Feng), should be changed from Spanish colonial Portrait Dollars to Mexican Eagle Dollars. This caused the era of Eagle Dollars to begin, and to make it impossible for any other coin to compete with them in the Chinese currency markets.

Mexican Eagle Dollars were only driven out from China in 1933 by the Nationalist government when they monopolized the minting of silver coins.  Mexican Eagle Dollars along with various foreign coins circulating in China were forced to be withdrawn from the markets. A great majority of them were melted down for the new Chinese coinage by the government, although some of them were treasured by the people."*

*Refer to Chang Huei Hsin, "Essays of the History of Chinese Currencies", published by Tai Young Publication Co., 07.1994. ISBN 957-8590-22-9 

1859 Mo FH 8 Reales

1868 Mo PH 8 Reales

1868 Go YF 8 Reales

1877 Mo MH 8 Reaels

1877 Mo M ? 8 Reales

1885 Ca MM 8 Reales

1885 Mo MH 8 Reales

1886 Cn AM 8 Reales

1887 Pi MD 8 Reales  

1890 Mo AM 8 Reales  

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