1808-1813 Spain 4 Reales Silver Joseph Napoleon F-VF

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All Hail King Joe – Napoleon’s Less Famous Older Brother


The old adage of “It’s not what you know, but who you know” certainly played a role in Joseph Bonaparte’s ascension to the Spanish throne in 1808. Yes, you read that right… Joseph Bonaparte.


The exploits of Napoleon Bonaparte on his path to proclaiming himself Emperor of France are well-known. His first name alone fills people with visions of epic conquests, grand set piece battles and the pomp of imperial Paris where Napoleon reigned supreme with the glamourous Empress Joséphine at his side. The name of Joseph Bonaparte, however, usually results in blank stares and patronizing questions that ask, “Don’t you mean Napoleon?”


Well, here’s the story: Joseph, or Ioseph, was the older brother of the famous conqueror. He was initially made King of Naples and Sicily in 1806, but in 1808 Napoleon stripped him of that title and installed him instead as the king of Spain. This was rough news for Joseph, who had been popular in Naples and now found himself extremely unpopular in Spain. His detractors referred to him as “Joe Bottle” for his alleged proclivity to drinking copious amounts of alcohol. His arrival also sparked a Spanish revolt against French rule. Following a series of battlefield losses, Joseph abdicated and returned to Paris. After Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo, Joseph fled to the United States, where he survived by selling jewels he had stolen from Spain.


In an effort to prop up his older brother’s tenuous reign in Spain, Napoleon had this 4 Reales silver coin struck with Joseph’s likeness to help solidify his new rule. It did not last long, however – Joseph ruled from only 1808 until 1813. Joseph was never accepted as the legitimate king of Spain and during his reign Mexico and Venezuela both declared independence. He wielded little power, with his generals checking with Napoleon before obeying any of Joseph’s orders.


Because the Bonapartes were so unpopular in Spain, most coins bearing their effigies were destroyed – making this piece quite the find, especially pieces like this in Fine to Very Fine (F-VF) condition. Seize this opportunity and secure one of these coins for your collection today! Date and condition varies.


  • NAPOLEON-THEMED COIN … FROM SPAIN!!! – The portrait on this coin may be that of Joseph Bonaparte, but the resemblance to his more famous sibling is striking! On the coin’s reverse you can see the crowned Spanish Coat of Arms. It was Napoleon’s way of letting everyone k now that HE was the real power behind the Spanish throne.


  • STRUCK IN FINE SILVER – Each of these splendid coins were struck in 89.6% silver.


  • LEGAL TENDER COINAGE – These Joseph Bonaparte “Napoleons” were struck from 1808–1813 and were 4 Reales legal tender in Spain.


  • WONDERFUL COLLECTOR CONDITION – Your Spanish 4 Reales Joseph Napoleon Silver Coin comes in Fine to Very Fine condition with such details as the date and inscriptions still visible. This is a remarkable condition for a coin like this that has witnessed so much turmoil and history over the past 200 years!


Historians will never confuse Napoleon with his older brother, Joseph – unless they take a look at these coins! Don’t miss your chance to obtain one of these popular collectibles from the heyday of Napoleon’s European empire.

Year of Issue 1813, 1812, 1811, 1810, 1809, 1808
Country Spain
Composition Silver
Purity 0.8960
Condition Circulated
Grade F, VF
Denomination 4.00
Currency Type Reales
Coin Weight 13.5 Grams - g
Dimensions 32mm