Why do early Mexican and South American coins have three or four letter mintmarks?

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Why do early Mexican and South American coins have three or four letter mintmarks?

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The letters designate two things. The mintmark is one, shown by either one or two letters. The other one or two letters are the Assayer’s initials. In the early mints, the assayer’s job was important, and dangerous. A coin found with an assayer’s initials that was underweight or had the wrong mix for the alloy could cost him his life. What’s the largest diameter coin currently circulating? This may be outdated, but according to a 1980 listing, the Indian 50 rupee coin, which measures 54 mm, seems to take the honors. However, there may be some question as to its circulation status. Address questions to World Coin Clinic, World Coin News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose stamp for reply. Write or call for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

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