Item 105088 - Potosi (Bolivian) Eight Reales Cob coin, Castine, 1678

Item 105088 - Potosi (Bolivian) Eight Reales Cob coin, Castine, 1678
Contributed by Maine Historical Society
Item 105088
Potosi (Bolivian) Eight Reales Cob coin, Castine, 1678
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This Eight Reales Cob coin was part of a cache found by the Grindle family at the mouth of the Bagaduce River in 1840. The geographic reach of the coins indicated the area's thriving trade in the 1600s.

The obverse depicted an elaborate crest, the letters "P" and "E," and the text "D.G.HISPA..." The reversed was divided into nine sections and was stamped with "P/8/B/PLW/SVL/TIRA/E/78/P."

Present-day Castine was a contested area of overlapping Wabanaki, English, and French claims for centuries. In 1674, during a period of French control, Dutch privateers attacked the fort and took the Baron of Saint-Castin (Jean Vincent d’Abbadie) and others hostage for ransom. When Saint-Castin returned to Castine in 1677, he established a trading post among Wabanakis on the Bagaduce River, about six miles from the old fort.

In 1684 Chief Madockawando’s daughter, Pidianiske (baptized as Molly Mathilde), married Saint-Castin and solidified the alliance between the French and Penobscot. Family ties and reciprocal relations gave Saint-Castin a stronger footing among Wabanaki people than the English settlers and traders encroaching up the coast. There are many Penobscot descendants of Jean Vincent and Pidianske in Maine, including WWII combat medic Charles Shay and Penobscot tribal historian James Francis.

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