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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 49, December 2, 2007, Article 5

BOOK REVIEW: THE MACUQUINA CODE BY AGUSTÍN GARCÍA-BARNECHE

[With permission from the author, below is a book review
by Bill Eckberg originally published in the Fall, 2007 issue
of The Virginia Numismatist, official publication of the
Virginia Numismatic Association (VNA).  I've appended links
to web sites of the VNA and the book's publisher.  -Editor]

Review:  The Macuquina Code: A numismatic and Spanish
colonial translator for collectors, dealers, traders and
shipwreck treasure enthusiasts by Agustín García-Barneche

Have you ever been intimidated by the language problem when
trying to collect or study foreign coins? Do you stay away
from foreign coins because of that problem? Can you reasonably
stay away from foreign coins when the coin-of-the-realm of
the early United States was primarily foreign? This 92-page,
soft-cover book, written by Virginia specialist, Agustín
García-Barneche, attempts to address those problems with
respect to Spanish coins. The Spanish dollar, at least,
provides the basis for our current dollar, so these coins
are very important to United States monetary history.

The first half of the book is a dictionary of about 1,500
Spanish numismatic terms and their English translations;
the second half gives the corresponding English terms and
their Spanish translations. The reader is, therefore, able
to translate terms either way. It also identifies many of
the terms as numismatic, auction-related, heraldic or
obsolete from the colonial period.

I found the book very interesting and useful. It opens
up possible new collecting interests for me, and that is
always a good and useful thing to do. I have only two minor
quibbles. First, it would have been useful to give the
mintmarks their own entries in the Spanish-English side.
They are listed after the name of the city (e.g., Santo
Domingo = SP – SD). However, looking from the English-Spanish
side under “Mint Mark”, you find each city and its mint marks
listed in alphabetical order. Second, there are some instances
where some sense of context would have been helpful. For
example, I suspect that the words lema, mote and divisa
are not exactly synonymous, but each is translated as
“motto”. A macuquina, for those who haven’t read the book,
is a cob, a hammered coin of irregular shape.

I recommend this book for anyone who collects Spanish or
colonial coins or who would like to know more about these
important pieces of American history. Further information
is available from www.RealTreasures.com or from Historic
Real Treasures, PO Box 606, Great Falls, VA 22066.

To order a copy of The Macuquina Code, see:
http://www.realtreasures.com/macuquina.htm

To visit the Virginia Numismatic Association web site, see:
http://www.freewabs.com.vna/

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
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