Spanish Colonial Portrait Dollars

Spanish colonial Pillar Dollars were remodeled to bear the Kings' bust in 1773, and this style continued until 1820s when the Spanish American colonies declared indepedence. The new Dollars were brought into China in tremendous amounts and became very popular with the commercial societies. The Chinese gave this Portrait Dollars the name of "Bang Yang" (Principal Foreign Silver Coins) the same name and position as they have gave to Pillar Dollars; these coins served as a monetary unit for accounting and could be used in transactions without the need to melt them down to be recast as sycee. Because the Chinese did not know the identities of the various kings shown on the coins, nor understand the inscriptions ,  the "Fang Ying" (Barbarian Silver), were also called  "Fou Tou" (Buddha's head),  since they believed the portraits of the kings were Buddha's. 

When the minting of Portrait Dollars was discontinued in the 1820s, it presented a challenge for the Chinese traders since they had to choose another type of foreign silver coin to replace Portrait Dollars' role as Principal Foreign Silver.  The decision was not formally taken until1856, when the monetary business association of Shanghai formally decided to replace Portrail Dollars with Mexican Eagle Dollars as the unit of "Principal Money". This decision was quickly accepted by the major foreign powers conducting business in China and who had been waiting for over 30 years for a resolution to the monetary uncertainy.   Meanwhile, Portrait Dollars were still in use and welcomed by the Chinese, until the latter part of the 19th century. 

1779 Carolus III Portrait Dollar

1781 Carolus III Portrait Dollar 

1782 Carolus III Portrait Dollar

1787 Carolus III Portrait Dollar

1789 Carolus IV Portrait Dollar

1790 Carolus IV Portrait Dollar 

1802 Carolus IV Portrait Dollar

1809 Ferdinand VII Portrait Dollar

1810 Ferdinand VII Portrait Dollar

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