reales de vellón

English translation: reales de vellón (copper reals)

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Spanish term or phrase:reales de vellón
English translation:reales de vellón (copper reals)
Entered by: Charles Davis

16:29 Oct 2, 2018
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Tourism & Travel / guía de sitios
Spanish term or phrase: reales de vellón
Término que aparece en la descripción de una ruta:

"Esta ruta nos lleva a un tradicional conjunto de molinos que muestra la explotación intensiva de un río como fuente de energía. Ya aparecen mencionados en el Catastro de Ensenada, elaborado en 1752, en el que se explica que eran utilizados durante nueve meses al año, con un rendimiento que, en la mayoría de ellos se estimaba en sesenta y tres ***reales de vellón***"

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¡Gracias!
soniagp
Spain
reales de vellón (copper reals)
Explanation:
In theory, vellón is an alloy of copper and silver, as the first DLE definition cited by Bea indicates:
"Aleación de plata y cobre con que se labró moneda antiguamente"

In English it is called "billon", derived from French:

"billon. An alloy formerly used for coinage, containing gold or silver with a predominating amount of copper or other base metal."
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/billon

Up to the end of the sixteenth century, Spanish vellón coinage did indeed contain some silver along with copper, though as silver became more scarce it was reduced to a very small amount; by 1591, it was as little as 0.35%:
https://books.google.es/books?id=WsSlZqEvTZ0C&pg=PA143&lpg=P...

However, before the end of Philip II's reign, the minting of vellón coinage consisting of pure copper with no silver at all was already contemplated. An order was issued on 31 December 1596 to mint coins in copper "sin que lleve ni se le eche ninguna liga de plata", and although this was rescinded a month later, soon afterwards coins which continued to be called vellón but were actually pure copper, with no silver at all, began to be minted in huge quantities; Philip III's Real Cédula of 3 June 1602 ordered that "la moneda de vellón que en adelante se labrase fuera sin mezcla ni liga de plata y de la mitad de la agora corre". From then on, apart from a period in the later seventeenth century when they went back to minting in copper-silver alloy, vellón was in practice pure copper, although the old name was retained.
"Al principio, por no haber demasiada moneda fraccionaria, el vellón se encajó bien. Pero ya no era vellón, sino cobre"
"La modesta moneda, primero, de vellón, después, de cobre sólo (aunque comunmente llamada vellón) [...]"
For full details, see pp. 50-61 here:
Manuel Vilaplana Persiva, Historia del real de a ocho
https://books.google.es/books?id=SGNJPtOQvgQC&pg=PA50#v=onep...

By the time the first Spanish Royal Academy appeared in 1726-39, vellón was defined simply as "la moneda de cobre Provincial de Castilla", and so it remained in later editions; the definition was "moneda usual de cobre", and the meaning of vellón as an alloy for coinage was not even included until 1899, and then with the definition "liga de plata y cobre, con que se labró moneda antiguamente" (my emphasis): i.e., a long time ago, not recently.

It is not surprising, then, that in nineteenth-century English sources "reales de vellón" were called "copper reals": that is what they actually were:

"At Bilboa, Madrid and Malaga, accounts are kept in reals vellon, or copper reals of 34 maravedis."
The Shipmaster's Assistant and Commercial Digest (1837)
https://books.google.es/books?id=QzhkAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA392&lpg=P...

In the light of all this, although I myself have translated "reales de vellón" as "billon reals" in the past, I think it would be better to call them "copper reals". The fact that they continued to be called vellón officially might justify using "billon", but since they were actually pure copper (after the sixteenth century) we might as well say so. "Billon" is a very unfamiliar word in English, familiar only to specialists and unsuitable in a tourism text. Readers would be quite likely to think it might be a typo for "billion". "Copper" is much more easily understood, and also accurate.

I would in any case prefer to retain the Spanish term (which would go in italics in English), and then add "copper reals" in parentheses. As for "reals", you can either use this form, with an English plural, or retain "reales" in the Spanish form (preferably in italics). You find both.
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 04:36
Grading comment
Thanks a lot for all the information about this term. It has been really helpful. I followed your advice with the Spanish term in italics and the translation in parentheses. I think it is the best solution.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +2reales de vellón (copper reals)
Charles Davis
Summary of reference entries provided
billon reals
Carol Gullidge
vellón
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro

Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


15 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
reales de vellón (copper reals)


Explanation:
In theory, vellón is an alloy of copper and silver, as the first DLE definition cited by Bea indicates:
"Aleación de plata y cobre con que se labró moneda antiguamente"

In English it is called "billon", derived from French:

"billon. An alloy formerly used for coinage, containing gold or silver with a predominating amount of copper or other base metal."
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/billon

Up to the end of the sixteenth century, Spanish vellón coinage did indeed contain some silver along with copper, though as silver became more scarce it was reduced to a very small amount; by 1591, it was as little as 0.35%:
https://books.google.es/books?id=WsSlZqEvTZ0C&pg=PA143&lpg=P...

However, before the end of Philip II's reign, the minting of vellón coinage consisting of pure copper with no silver at all was already contemplated. An order was issued on 31 December 1596 to mint coins in copper "sin que lleve ni se le eche ninguna liga de plata", and although this was rescinded a month later, soon afterwards coins which continued to be called vellón but were actually pure copper, with no silver at all, began to be minted in huge quantities; Philip III's Real Cédula of 3 June 1602 ordered that "la moneda de vellón que en adelante se labrase fuera sin mezcla ni liga de plata y de la mitad de la agora corre". From then on, apart from a period in the later seventeenth century when they went back to minting in copper-silver alloy, vellón was in practice pure copper, although the old name was retained.
"Al principio, por no haber demasiada moneda fraccionaria, el vellón se encajó bien. Pero ya no era vellón, sino cobre"
"La modesta moneda, primero, de vellón, después, de cobre sólo (aunque comunmente llamada vellón) [...]"
For full details, see pp. 50-61 here:
Manuel Vilaplana Persiva, Historia del real de a ocho
https://books.google.es/books?id=SGNJPtOQvgQC&pg=PA50#v=onep...

By the time the first Spanish Royal Academy appeared in 1726-39, vellón was defined simply as "la moneda de cobre Provincial de Castilla", and so it remained in later editions; the definition was "moneda usual de cobre", and the meaning of vellón as an alloy for coinage was not even included until 1899, and then with the definition "liga de plata y cobre, con que se labró moneda antiguamente" (my emphasis): i.e., a long time ago, not recently.

It is not surprising, then, that in nineteenth-century English sources "reales de vellón" were called "copper reals": that is what they actually were:

"At Bilboa, Madrid and Malaga, accounts are kept in reals vellon, or copper reals of 34 maravedis."
The Shipmaster's Assistant and Commercial Digest (1837)
https://books.google.es/books?id=QzhkAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA392&lpg=P...

In the light of all this, although I myself have translated "reales de vellón" as "billon reals" in the past, I think it would be better to call them "copper reals". The fact that they continued to be called vellón officially might justify using "billon", but since they were actually pure copper (after the sixteenth century) we might as well say so. "Billon" is a very unfamiliar word in English, familiar only to specialists and unsuitable in a tourism text. Readers would be quite likely to think it might be a typo for "billion". "Copper" is much more easily understood, and also accurate.

I would in any case prefer to retain the Spanish term (which would go in italics in English), and then add "copper reals" in parentheses. As for "reals", you can either use this form, with an English plural, or retain "reales" in the Spanish form (preferably in italics). You find both.

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 04:36
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 119
Grading comment
Thanks a lot for all the information about this term. It has been really helpful. I followed your advice with the Spanish term in italics and the translation in parentheses. I think it is the best solution.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
7 mins
  -> Gracias, y saludos, Bea :-)

agree  Jessica Noyes
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Jessica :-)
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Reference comments


9 mins peer agreement (net): +3
Reference: billon reals

Reference information:
Spanish colonial real - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_colonial_real
The silver real (Spanish: real de plata) was the currency of the Spanish colonies in America and the Philippines. In the seventeenth century the silver real was established at two billon reals (reales de vellón) or sixty-eight maravedís. Gold escudos (worth 16 reales) were also issued.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_colonial_real
Carol Gullidge
United Kingdom
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 180

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Taña Dalglish: Post it Carol as an answer. reales de vellón [billon real]. https://www.coleccionbbva.com/en/.../2359-320-reales-2/
53 mins
agree  Andrea Shah
1 hr
agree  Charles Davis: This is strictly accurate, but I think it would be better to call them copper reals, for reasons explained above.
15 hrs
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4 hrs peer agreement (net): +2
Reference: vellón

Reference information:
vellón
1. m. Aleación de plata y cobre con que se labró moneda antiguamente.
2. m. Moneda de cobre que se usó en lugar de la fabricada con aleación de plata.

real de vellón
1. m. Moneda de plata, del valor de 34 maravedís, que equivalía a 25 céntimos de peseta.
http://dle.rae.es/?id=bUQNnkU|bUTAQVU

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 15 hrs (2018-10-03 07:38:30 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

moneda de vellón
1. f. moneda acuñada de plata y cobre en proporciones variables y solo de cobre desde el reinado de Felipe V.
http://dle.rae.es/?id=PdNuKTo

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Spain
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  bigedsenior: Yes. It has nothing to do with any quantity. 'vellón' (SP) = 'bilon' (FR) = copper/silver alloy (EN)
9 hrs
agree  Charles Davis: Muy oportuna la definición de "moneda de vellón"; no se me había ocurrido buscarla.
10 hrs
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