Nineteen rare pieces of "pirate treasure" are going under the hammer in October along with a collection of coins and stamps worth $2 million.

The pieces of eight are described as classic pirate treasure coins and will be up for auction along with more than 200 other coins on October 14 in Wellington.

The 8 reale coins of the Spanish Empire became known as Spanish Dollars and were ultimately the ancestors of New Zealand's present dollar coins, said auction house Mowbray Collectables.

Valued at around $200 each, the roughly struck pieces of silver were produced in the world's largest silver mine at Potosi in Bolivia.


They show the Spanish coat of arms on one side and the "Pillars of Hercules" - the rocks on either side of the Straits of Gibraltar - over waves on the other side.

The dates of these particular coins ranged from 1656 to 1679.

Sea transport made the coins vulnerable to piracy, immortalised in books like Robert
Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, where the character Long John Silver had a parrot perched on his shoulder, screaming out the phrase "Pieces of Eight".

Also going under the hammer are a New Zealand 50-pound note worth an estimated $18,000 and a special 1935 Waitangi coin set showing William Hobson shaking hands with Maori chief Tamati Waka Nene estimated to be worth $16,000.