Christopher Columbus didn’t have it easy.
After years of rejection and failure, he finally got what he needed for his famous journey: money. And the double excelente is the coin that Columbus showed the indigenous people he encountered when he set foot in the Americas and set in motion the world as we know it today.
The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile unified the two Spanish kingdoms, uniting all the dominions of Spain, ending Islamic rule on the Iberian Peninsula, and elevating Spain to a world power. As this power, Spain financed Columbus’ voyages across the Atlantic, claiming much of the New World and its riches for Spain.
The obverse of the gold double excelente depicts the union of Ferdinand and Isabella with two busts of the royals facing each other with words meaning, “Ferdinand and Isabel Kings by the grace of God.” This is significant, because the young couple — married in their teens — ruled together. The reverse features an imposing eagle and coat of arms with an inscription meaning, “Under the shadow of Thy Wings, Jehovah.”