Brazilian 300 Reis coin, Philip IV, Castine, 1659

Contributed by Maine Historical Society

Brazilian 300 Reis coin, Philip IV, Castine, 1659

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This Brazilian 300 Reis coin was part of an extensive cache found at the mouth of the Bagaduce River, indicating the area's thriving trade in the 1600s. Dating to the reign of Philip IV, this four reales coin was counterstamped with a new value of 300 Reis. The reverse side depicted an elaborate shield and the text "PHILIPPVS.IIII.D.G." beneath the counterstamp. The reverse side featured a crest and the text "HISPANIANRVM.REX.1659."

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.

In 1840, the Grindle family found hundreds of coins buried on their farm. It is possible that this coin was part of a secret stash from Saint-Castin’s trading post.

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About This Item

  • Title: Brazilian 300 Reis coin, Philip IV, Castine, 1659
  • Creation Date: 1659
  • Subject Date: 1659
  • Town: Castine
  • County: Hancock
  • State: ME
  • Media: Metal
  • Dimensions: 3.4 cm x 3.4 cm
  • Local Code: A00-52-19
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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