As my original collection was British sixpences I seem to have a preference for the smaller denominations over trade coinage as these saw extensive day-to-day use and high grade examples are therefore much more of a challenge. This situation coupled with surprisingly limited data and research means that the opportunity to make new discoveries is much greater - or is it that I am just a glutton for punishment? For example at a recent auction a major London dealer thought my quest for die numbers on sixpences was 'mad' - and that's the polite version, as even the most complete 6d collections have not come close and, anyway, it may not even be possible.
My last journal entry highlighted the discovery of an excellent example of the French 1808I 10 centimes however the upheaval of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic period was felt throughout Europe and beyond, most notably it precipitated the collapse of the Spanish Empire. It is no surprise that 8 reales are very popular with collectors, particularly the colonial issues, and as a result there are some excellent books on the subject and there has been extensive and outstanding research on both the 'real' issues and the many counterfeits - contemporary or modern. Naturally I was drawn to the smaller coins - 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2 and 4R - and found that detailed information was somewhat lacking, particularly for the 'home' Spanish issues and as a result I have picked up a few examples of these over the years.
There were a few of these minors in rare high grades scattered amongst the 8 reales in the many January auctions and despite strong bids I only managed to pick up a single example, a Spanish 1808S CN 2 reales in NGC MS64.* As the last issue from the Seville mint for Charles IV it can usually be found in Fine/VF although an uncirculated example is very rare so I was happy to add this to my collection - my Registry Set now boasts a total of 3 coins out of a possible 41, so the prospects of completing this single country set in high grade does not look good but there is no harm in trying!#
* I am still amazed that the 1781Mo FF 1/2 real went for $1800!
# Graded coins currently exist at both services for only 19 of the 41 Charles IV issues with only 11 of them having mint state examples, often just a single coin - high grade raw coins also seem to be just as elusive if not more so. The Ferdinand VII coinage is an even greater undertaking as the French forces were occupying much of Spain by then resulting in many temporary mints being established.