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Visiting a Sunday morning Coin Fair in Spain with pictures.

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My wife and I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Spain. On Sunday, our flight back was booked for the late afternoon, so we could still spend the morning wondering about in the beautiful city of Barcelona.


As luck would have it, I purely by chance stumbled upon a large coin & stamp market being held on a square (plaza) in the central part of the old city.


The coins and stamp stalls were separated and a third category was reserved for sellers of bottle (mainly champagne) and beer bottle tops. This seems to be a huge collector’s attraction in Spain.


In numbers the coin stalls (I guess about 20) were approx. twice the number of those of the stamp stalls. .


Regarding the coins on sale, I observed the following –



  • Obviously the most coins & coin sets, numismatic books etc were from Spain or Spanish speaking countries.
  • More than half of the coins were crown-sized coins – the Spanish like their coins big
  • Most of these, and most of all the other silver coins that I saw, were “dipped” but few were polished. It seems like the Spanish except dipped coins and do not frown upon this practice – even for coins below XF.
  • Of the thousands of coins that I saw, only four were in graded (NGC) capsules – seems like they prefer their coins raw.
  • Most of the coins were in 2 x 2 Mylar holders (stapled) with the details and price written upon the carton holders – this makes it very easy for buyers, especially those who cannot speak Spanish.
  • Very few gold coins were on sale – only two sellers offered gold coins – the one 4 and the other 15.
  • The quality and “depth” of the silver coins on sale were below average. Besides a few beautiful Pieces of Eight and Reale fractions, very few “nice” coins were offered. They obviously do not have good stock to offer and this may be a worldwide problem at the moment – the guys with the better coins are apprehensive to sell.
  • The most transactions that I observed were buyers of run of the mill world coins so I expect they were mostly aimed at the tourist market. It also seems like the 1 and 2 Euro coins (minted by the different EEU members) are very collectable at the moment – there were brisk business in these coins.
  • Only two sellers had South African coins for sale and all were common date SA crowns – the asking price averaged at 25 Euros (about R400) each. (The only bargain I saw - but this was not at the market but in a coin shop in Seville - was a 1940 SA 2-Shilling in AU condition offered for 15 Euros.
  • My overall view of this coin market was that there were truly many eager buyers (one can hardly view the coins as some stalls had rows of people standing in line and pushing forward) but very few sellers of quality items – the selling was brisk only regarding coins bought by tourists and lower end collectors.


The sellers just did not have really upper end coins to sell – or if they had, did not display them.


Please see following three pictures I took their on Sunday.





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Hi Pierre,


I was in Spain last month and was also impressed by the size of the coin market there (mostly seen by the amount of shops in close vicinity and the stock they carry). The square in question is called "Plaça Reial". Funny thing about that square is that it is also the place that people get pick-pocketed most at. There is a syndicate there that consist of a bunch of men riding around on their bicycles stealing things.


Back to the coins... while in Madrid I was in a square called Plaza Mayor and was blown away by the amount of coin shops. I saw about 8 shops right across from each other and more around the block. I could not find anything of quality whilst searching and only stumbled upon a few South African AU crowns, AU silver R1's and a few Krugerrands. It seems that the modern 1 & 2 EURO collecting is quite big there. I was offered a few of those modern packs but they were way over priced and mintage quite high too. The Silver crown-sized Spanish/European coins they have are quite lovely but there are so many that it would take quite some time and perhaps be a bit expensive to try and complete a set. Most of the other world coins were also way overpriced and of bad quality in my opinion.


It seems to me that the biggest market that these dealers target are indeed the tourists as both of these squares are situated in tourist areas. This could also be the reason why you cant find any top end coins in those shops/markets.


I hope you managed to visit one of these while in Spain, see picture below taken on 23/03/14.







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Hi George


Seems like our observation were much the same.


But we did not go to watch the bullfights - seem like a despicable medieval practice to me.


I'll rather stick to coin collecting for fun & games!



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Hi Pierre and George,


In 2009 I visited Madrid and also stumbled into the Plaza Major on a Sunday morning to find lots of sellers of Coins there. My wife and I searched for decent SA coins and found a Lutuli Proof Silver R1 that was going cheap and we did get a bargain as the sellers did not know our prices.


I also found a Two Reale from Spain dated around 1474 that was struck during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella I . This was the time when during their rule, Spain became united into what to-day is modern Spain with their marriage. This marriage brought together the provinces of Castille and Leon as well as Aragon which included the southern half of Italy. Christopher Columbus was comissioned by Queen Isabella to seek a sea route to the East and who found America on his attempt. I paid 70 Euros then for the two reale - quite reasonable - please see link Columbus Era 1474 1504 Spain Silver 2 Reales Coin Monarchs Ferdinand Isabella | eBay


On the coins issued during these so called Catholic Kings, appeared in partial abbreviated Latin Inscription of Isabella (ELSAB) and Ferdinand (FERNANDVS) - Rex et Regina Castelle et Aragon. In addition what is clear is the bundle of arrows signifying her emblem and a plough (his emblem). In the four and very scarce eight reale, there also appears a Pomegranate below the eagles and castles of Castele and Leon which refers to the southern area of Granada that was under Muslim conrol (defeated during their reign).Spain still hosts some beautiful Muslim architecture from that time.


Interestingly the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand was done in secret so that the warlords who had interests in keeping Spain divided would not find out. Ferdinand was disguised as a monk on the way to his wedding ! I have read a book about these royals some years ago.


Perhaps the grass roots interest in numismatics in Spain that Pierre noticed springs from the lack of confidence the people have in the Euro in particular and Banks in general. Unemployment rates are high in Spain.


Pics of the two reale and a graded AU58 Four Reale are shown that I won on Heritage recently - gradable silver coins like this are really scarce and far scarcer than the well known gold double excelentes from the same period in my view.There was tough bidding at the auction for that coin.


These earliest Spanish Coins were amongst the mother load found on the Wreck of the Santiago that wrecked on Bassos da India half way between Mozambique and Madagascar in 1585. They were also found on the recent wreck discovered in Namibia.











Edited by geejay50

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Ambassadors Invest

That Bull looks like he had a sleeping tablet? And The the fighter a "red" bull..:awesome:

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