Bust dollars, such as this beautiful coin, were called such because the bust of the reigning monarch’s image appeared on the obverse side of the coin. These coins were also made with the new screw press technique, and, in comparison to previous issues are exceptionally symmetrical and clearly struck. It is interesting to note that the number in a king’s title is in roman numerals, but accurate only in respect to the sophistication of the mint from which it came, i.e., often on coins of the new world the numeral “IV” is struck as “IIII”.
Charles IV was king of Spain from 1788 until 1808. He was the son of Charles III. His wife, Princess Maria Louisa of Parma, and ministers, especially Manuel de Godoy, his wife’s paramour, profoundly influenced Spanish foreign policy during his reign. Consequently, Spain became involved disastrously in the wars of the French Revolution 1792-1797 and was forced to cede to France the territory of Louisiana in America. In addition, the Spanish Navy was destroyed at Trafalgar, and the French under Napoleon invaded Spain two years later. In 1808 Napoleon deposed Charles and made Joseph Bonaparte King of Spain. Charles spent the rest of his life in Rome.