Can anyone explain to me what the phrase "Nine Pieces of Eight" means? I understand that it took 9 pirate lords to bind Calypso, and the movie also shows the 9 pieces. However, what is this statement? What does it mean? Why is this important?

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    Do you know what a "piece of 8" is? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_dollar
    – Catija
    May 5, 2016 at 17:34
  • Yeah. What she said. You can have any number of pieces of eight. Even eleventy-one! You can also have 9 inches of one or six degrees of 2. It's just math. May 5, 2016 at 18:39
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    @Vishwa, well, in the public-facing profile she created with the full expectation that people would look at it, she indicates both how to pronounce her name and what her preferred pronoun preference is. Oct 22, 2018 at 9:51
  • 3
    @vishwa then maybe you should be too lazy to question someone’s use of female pronouns too? :-) Oct 22, 2018 at 10:20
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    @Vishwa yes, I understand these comments are about 2 years old, however, I would point out that we're SUPPOSED to look at user's profiles, in order to use the pronouns the user wants us to. In fact, depending on details, it is possible to run into a bit of trouble NOT doing so. Using the wrong pronouns purposefully is against the rules here, and ignorance is not always an valid excuse.
    – CGCampbell
    Sep 28, 2021 at 14:29

2 Answers 2


It’s a Spanish silver coin worth 8 Spanish reales. So the 9 pirates would break the coin (worth 8) into 9 pieces. One piece of the coin for each of the 9 pirates. So basically 9 pieces of a coin worth 8 of it’s face value.

In the movie, the crew/swabbies were confused because it wasn’t a coin, instead it was items or junk. It is explained when they collect the pieces, the plan was to use 9 pieces of 8 (silver coin), but when the Brethren court met they were, well, broke! So they improvised;

“Nine pieces of whatever we happen to have in our pockets at the time!”

To which the swabbies answered:

“Oh yes, that sounds very piratey.”

Watch it again you’ll get it when he explains it to the crew. They just never explained that the 9 of 8 was pieces of a coin.

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    Your answer seems to confuse the issue similarly, though. Are you sure they were actually using 9 pieces of a single 8 reales coin, rather than simply 9 "pieces of 8", i.e. 9 coins worth 8 reales each?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Oct 25, 2017 at 18:09

A piece of eight is currency, specifically the Spanish dollar which was a piece of silver worth eight reales.

Spanish silver dollars could be split, scored, into 8 pieces to make change and when done so each eighth was worth 1 reale, hence why a Spanish dollar was called a "piece of eight". It seems strange to us now since we no longer break up our money to make change but back in the day this was not an unheard of practice.


  • A piece of eight could be split because it was already scored. Sep 27, 2021 at 1:22
  • many Americans still call a quarter "2 bits" - 2 of the 8 pieces of the reale. Sep 28, 2021 at 23:03

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