One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Spanish dollar, equivalent to 8 reals.
- ‘Silver dollars would be chiselled into fragments to provide change - hence pieces of eight, quarters, two-bits.’
- ‘My senses were all confused as within my sight was a king's ransom - Spanish gold doubloons and shining silver reals, gold pieces of eight, old English milled gold guineas, crowns, minted silver shillings.’
- ‘The material reported ranges from the obligatory porthole to cannon and shot, several pieces of eight and a Charles I gold coin.’
- ‘Spanish piece of eight, a coin common in the American colonies during the Revolution, had eight segments marked on their reverse so that the coins could be divided (to make change).’
- ‘I changed all my available funds into copper pennies - the old ones, the size of half-crowns - which I would trickle through my fingers as if they were doubloons or pieces of eight.’
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