The STA Blog - Tag: Fiat Money

‘Pieces of eight’: And the real value of money

You probably remember this expression from the film ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. This makes sense, because in those days Spanish coins were minted with silver mined in Latin America, based on a system of 8 ‘reales’ – as Brazil’s currency is known today (real). In 1537, after some debasement, Spain introduced the escudo (as Portugal’s currency was later called) gold coin, worth 16 reales. After further debasement, the gold doubloon (from the word double) was introduced and worth 32 reales. I remember trading and charting – on appropriate graph paper – gilts in thirty-seconds – as US Treasury bonds are still priced today.

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