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Key Coins: The 1828 Coquimbo Peso

For a second entry on key coins following my post on the 1840 La Rioja Rebel Peso, I thought I would focus on the Coquimbo Peso. No better write up could be done that to simply copy Carlos Jara's summary of his book on Coquimbo.

At present there are 13-15 examples of the Fine type (depending on duplicates in the census dating back to cataloging prior to imaging eg. the Peltzer piece and the Ulex piece).

As an aside, Carlos informed me that another 1/2R had been discovered since this write-up was published in 2013 and his book was published in 2011.

Here is my piece, ex. @MrEureka, which was discovered in the collection of a British man, who's other pieces were unremarkable. It was brought to the Antiques Roadshow and brought to the national stage via a DNW sale.

Coquimbo
By Carlos Jara

A detailed history of the short-lived mint of Coquimbo
(Northern Chile) can be found in Jara & Luedeking: Chile’s
Coquimbo Mint: a documented history (2003), and a short
summary follows:

Due to the distance between the Santiago Mint and
the silver and gold Mines in the area of Coquimbo (around
300 miles), a local Mint in Coquimbo seemed to be a good
idea. By government decree in September 1827, such a mint
was authorized and the project was put under supervision ofGregorio Cordovez, who in turn enrolled Theodor (or Teodoro,
as written in the contemporary documentation in Spanish)
Hagen as his handyman: Hagen worked as both engraver and
assayer his initials are shown in
the presently known examples
of the Coquimbo Mint’s issues.
While, the Santiago mint
was instructed to send “all
the equipment necessary for
the proper functioning of the
Coquimbo Mint”, such was not
entirely the case: in particular,
no dies, hubs or punches were
sent, and so Hagen had to
hand engrave the blank dies he
acquired from a local English
mining company for his initial
trial strikes.

Records show that the
first 20 samples of 1 Peso coins
struck in Coquimbo were sent
to Santiago on June 23, 1828:
these 20 coins were presumably
the best ones (as should be
expected from a new mint
seeking approval) from an initial
batch of around 200 coins. Of this initial sample, 6 coins were
destroyed for assay purposes while the remaining 14 were
returned to Coquimbo. These samples were rejected on the
basis of their lower than expected fineness and defective
engraving (Medina refers to this initial batch of 20 coins in
his work “Las Monedas Chilenas”, but many numismatists
misinterpreted him concluding that only 20 Coquimbo Peso
coins had been minted, which was clearly not the case!).
On November 18 of 1828, a second batch of
samples of 1 Peso, 4 Reales (currently unknown) and ½ Reales (two of which are now known) were sent to Santiago.
While an improvement over the specimens from the sample
sent on June 23, the coins were nevertheless rejected in
Santiago: the flans were described as “poorly prepared and
discolored”, the dies as “badly made”, the edges as “not
properly wreathed”, the coins as “not well struck”, and the
fineness as “slightly too low”.

By late 1829, a proper screw press had finally been
installed at the Coquimbo Mint, while Hagen had been able
to finish dies made from hubs and punches (as opposed
to hand engraved ones). At that time, the Coquimbo Mint
would have been able to produce coinage of a high standard
but the Revolution of 1829-30 cut all plans short (most of
the Coquimbo Mint’s employees were forced to flee) and
the whole project was cancelled by force majeure.
Two different types of the Coquimbo Peso are
currently known: a crude type (pictured in both editions of
Elizondo), with hand engraved dies, and a finer type, from
much finer dies made using hubs and punches: the present
specimen is from this later finer type.

While a number of modern authorities had dismissed
the cruder type as modern forgeries, the documentary
evidence in their favor is overwhelming: their characteristics
are an almost perfect match for the description by the officers
of the Santiago Mint of the coins from the batch sent to
Santiago on November 1828. As stated in Leu Numismatik’s
catalog 89 (October 21st, 2003, description of lot 440), the
trial issues of (November) 1828 were rejected precisely for
those very same faults that the modern commentators used
in their rationale in proving the coins false!

The finer type was made in late 1829, and
corresponds to the presently offered specimen: as usual for
this type, the flan is well made and has excellent surfaces,
the dies are as well made as any produced in Santiago, the
edging is fully correct, the coins are sharply struck and of
proper fineness. As mentioned previously, and quoting
the aforementioned Leu Numismatik catalog # 89, “shortly
after these beautiful coins were struck civil disturbances
erupted, which both precluded the chance of sending this
third issue of trials to Santiago (where they would have most
probably been accepted) and resulted in the looting of all
the bullion and trial strikes then in the Coquimbo mint. All
known examples of the ‘crude and fine types’ (= the second
and third issues) must have left the Coquimbo mint during
this period of disturbances (some may even have been kept
as keepsakes by Cordovez and Hagen themselves), with the
strong probability that most of the pieces then existing were
melted down.”

Comments

  • scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,240 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great writeup!
    Is this an example of the "crude type" that was once thought a forgery? Odd that NGC does not specify.

    https://coins.ha.com/itm/chile/world-coins/republic-peso-1828-th-au55-ngc-/p/3096-11113.s?ic4=GalleryView-Thumbnail-071515#

    The date and lettering especially look hand-done and hurried. Not hard to see how people could reject these without the proper documentation. But imagine buying one as a fake!

    Coin-specific photobucket alternative:
    CollectiveCoin

    Check it out!
  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 10,259 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @scubafuel said:
    Great writeup!
    Is this an example of the "crude type" that was once thought a forgery? Odd that NGC does not specify.

    https://coins.ha.com/itm/chile/world-coins/republic-peso-1828-th-au55-ngc-/p/3096-11113.s?ic4=GalleryView-Thumbnail-071515#

    The date and lettering especially look hand-done and hurried. Not hard to see how people could reject these without the proper documentation. But imagine buying one as a fake!

    Yes it is, type 2

  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 10,259 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Guess this type of thread isn’t of interest to anyone

  • AbueloAbuelo Posts: 1,293 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I disagree. The write up was excellent and the coin is quite the prize.

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,593 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Boosibri said:
    Guess this type of thread isn’t of interest to anyone

    A great addition to the story would be a link to the AR UK episode where it was presented. Maybe that part wasn't aired though since I cannot locate it.

    One night maybe 20 years ago while surfing late night TV, I saw a What's My Line rerun from the 1960s which featured Ed Rochette as Executive Director of the ANA. I mentioned it to Ed when I saw him, but I never could find that episode online or referenced anywhere else again.

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 8,481 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think there's a lot of value to threads like these. It can work as a reference point for initial and additional information on the key coins, such as your Coquimbo. Other than Carlos' book, are there additional references that go in-depth on or mention this issue? How many of the 13-15 known pieces do you have documented? Any images of those, as well?

  • MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 22,488 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pruebas said:

    @Boosibri said:
    Guess this type of thread isn’t of interest to anyone

    A great addition to the story would be a link to the AR UK episode where it was presented. Maybe that part wasn't aired though since I cannot locate it.

    https://coinbooks.org/esylum_v19n41a31.html

    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic.

    Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at USPatterns.com.
  • bidaskbidask Posts: 12,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Its just that we are all amazed and speechless.

    I manage money. I earn money. I save money .
    I give away money. I collect money.
    I don’t love money . I do love the Lord God.




  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,593 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MrEureka said:

    @pruebas said:

    @Boosibri said:
    Guess this type of thread isn’t of interest to anyone

    A great addition to the story would be a link to the AR UK episode where it was presented. Maybe that part wasn't aired though since I cannot locate it.

    https://coinbooks.org/esylum_v19n41a31.html

    I read the original article on Cambridge News, but have never seen the AR clip. My guess is that it didn't air.

  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 10,259 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TwoKopeiki said:
    I think there's a lot of value to threads like these. It can work as a reference point for initial and additional information on the key coins, such as your Coquimbo. Other than Carlos' book, are there additional references that go in-depth on or mention this issue? How many of the 13-15 known pieces do you have documented? Any images of those, as well?

    Census for the Fine type

    1) The British Museum specimen, accessioned through the Bank of England in 1856. UNC.

    2) José Toribio Medina: "Las Monedas Chilenas", pp.CLXX, pieza No 73. No specimen is plated (only a line drawing), but he mentions 3 specimens: the Oscar Salbach piece (type 3), a coin sold in Valparaíso (Gonzalez specimen, type 3, see reference below), and "a piece in the possession of a distinguished lady from La Serena".

    3) Rafael Gonzalez specimen. Plated in p. 28 of his work "Colección Completa de Monedas de Chile" (Valparaiso, 1908). Same coin mentioned in Medina as "from Valparaíso" (see entry 2 of this list. Same coin as lot 20493 in Heritage 9/2009 sale and same as lot 23841 in Heritage 9/2011 sale. Now certified as XF45 NGC.

    4) Rafael Gonzalez specimen. Plated in p. 28 of his work "Colección Completa de Monedas de Chile" (Valparaiso, 1908). Same coin mentioned in Medina as "from Valparaíso" (see entry 2 of this list. Same coin as lot 20493 in Heritage 9/2009 sale and same as lot 23841 in Heritage 9/2011 sale. Now certified as XF45 NGC.

    5) Ulex collection specimen: lot. 3731 (no illustration) in Adolph Hess 5/1908 sale. The description says VF and this is probably the Peltzer specimen (same grade in catalog description, see below). AU-UNC.

    6) Specimen plated as No. 8 on page 41 in Wayte Raymond, "The Silver Dollars of North and South America". Sold as lot 1787 in Superior 8/1975 ANA sale, and later as lot 1334 in CNG 8/2014 sale (Lissner collection). Choice UNC.

    7) The Newcomer collection specimen: lot 606 in J.C. Morgenthau & Co. 2/1935. Same coin as next entry. Later lot 432 in Hans Schulman/New Netherlands 4/1951, later lot 1004 in Goldbergs 5/2008 sale (Millenia collection). Choice UNC.

    8) Peltzer collection specimen: lot 1012 in Glendining's 6/1927 sale. Probably the Ulex piece. Same as Guttag collection specimen: # 1003ª in his catalog. Later sold by Abe Kossoff (ANA sale 8/1942, lot 961. AU-UNC.

    9) Honorio Aguirre specimen: lot 754 in Adolph Hess HG 10/1961 sale. Later lot 849 in Renaissance Auctions 12/2000 auction, and lot 441 in Leu Numismatik 10/2003. AU-UNC. The present coin.

    10) Private collection in USA : lot 1880 in Heritage 8/1990 sale, later lot 2326 in SBC 9/1991 sale. Small but distinctive obverse scatches, reverse rim off-center to left. AU-UNC.

    11) Vargas collection specimen (Valparaiso, Chile). Handled by Carlos Jara. Sold as lot 20305 in Stacks Bowers 9/2011 sale. AU50 NGC.

    12) Enrique Aguayo V. specimen. Ex Rony Almeida. Sold as lot 738 in Renaissance Auctions 12/2000 sale and later lot 9247 in Ponterio 8/2009 sale. Damaged XF.

    13) Banco de Chile specimen. Gem UNC. Probably the finest extant.

    14) my coin, ex DNW, MrEureka

    If the Ulex and Peltzer pieces are not the same coin, the total of confirmed examples of the "fine" Coquimbo 1828 Pesos would be of 15 pieces instead of 14.

  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 10,259 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The Banco de Chile piece.

    I’ll try and assign images to the coins in the census above a bit later

  • EddiEddi Posts: 66 ✭✭✭

    I am a long-time collector of Chilean coinage, both from the Colonial era and from the Republican era.
    Brian's coin, the Coquimbo peso, is considered to be one of the most interesting and desirable numismatic items from the Republic of Chile.
    Interestingly, there are a number of Chilean coins which are significantly scarcer than the Coquimbo Peso, for example some dates of the Santiago Volcano Peso (1824,1825,1826,1830,1831) are all very to extremely scarce, as well as a number of other later issues, but none has the allure of this coin. Brian's coin is a true prize, and one with an interesting pedigree as well.
    I would be interested to know more about the so-called 'crude' type. For example, how many are known? I do not have jara's book on this issue, I imagine this information is contained in there.
    I would consider the acquisition of a Coquimbo peso for my collection to be the epitome of my collecting career and a dream come true, alas, one which will probably remain unfulfilled.

  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 10,259 ✭✭✭✭✭

    1) The British Museum specimen, accessioned through the Bank of England in 1856. UNC.

    2) José Toribio Medina: "Las Monedas Chilenas", pp.CLXX, pieza No 73. No specimen is plated (only a line drawing), but he mentions 3 specimens: the Oscar Salbach piece (type 3), a coin sold in Valparaíso (Gonzalez specimen, type 3, see reference below), and "a piece in the possession of a distinguished lady from La Serena".

    3) Rafael Gonzalez specimen. Plated in p. 28 of his work "Colección Completa de Monedas de Chile" (Valparaiso, 1908). Same coin mentioned in Medina as "from Valparaíso" (see entry 2 of this list. Same coin as lot 20493 in Heritage 9/2009 sale and same as lot 23841 in Heritage 9/2011 sale. Now certified as XF45 NGC.

    4) Rafael Gonzalez specimen. Plated in p. 28 of his work "Colección Completa de Monedas de Chile" (Valparaiso, 1908). Same coin mentioned in Medina as "from Valparaíso" (see entry 2 of this list. Same coin as lot 20493 in Heritage 9/2009 sale and same as lot 23841 in Heritage 9/2011 sale. Now certified as XF45 NGC.
    This appears as a double listing in the Herit!age write-up...

    5) Ulex collection specimen: lot. 3731 (no illustration) in Adolph Hess 5/1908 sale. The description says VF and this is probably the Peltzer specimen (same grade in catalog description, see below). AU-UNC.

    6) Specimen plated as No. 8 on page 41 in Wayte Raymond, "The Silver Dollars of North and South America". Sold as lot 1787 in Superior 8/1975 ANA sale, and later as lot 1334 in CNG 8/2014 sale (Lissner collection). Choice UNC.

    7) The Newcomer collection specimen: lot 606 in J.C. Morgenthau & Co. 2/1935. Same coin as next entry. Later lot 432 in Hans Schulman/New Netherlands 4/1951, later lot 1004 in Goldbergs 5/2008 sale (Millenia collection). Choice UNC.

    8) Peltzer collection specimen: lot 1012 in Glendining's 6/1927 sale. Probably the Ulex piece. Same as Guttag collection specimen: # 1003ª in his catalog. Later sold by Abe Kossoff (ANA sale 8/1942, lot 961. AU-UNC.

    9) Honorio Aguirre specimen: lot 754 in Adolph Hess HG 10/1961 sale. Later lot 849 in Paul Karon sale; Renaissance Auctions 12/2000 auction, and lot 441 in Leu Numismatik 10/2003. AU-UNC. Sold by Heritage for $50k, to World Numismatics who listed for $59k.

    10) Private collection in USA : lot 1880 in Heritage 8/1990 sale, later lot 2326 in SBC 9/1991 sale. Small but distinctive obverse scatches, reverse rim off-center to left. AU-UNC.

    11) Vargas collection specimen (Valparaiso, Chile). Handled by Carlos Jara. Sold as lot 20305 in Stacks Bowers 9/2011 sale. AU50 NGC.

    12) Enrique Aguayo V. specimen. Ex Rony Almeida. Sold as lot 738 in Renaissance Auctions 12/2000 sale and later lot 9247 in Ponterio 8/2009 sale. Damaged XF.

    13) Banco de Chile specimen. Gem UNC. Probably the finest extant.

    14) my coin, ex DNW, MrEureka

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 8,481 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Man, that Banco de Chile example... <3

  • EuclidEuclid Posts: 27 ✭✭

    Very cool to see the photographs lined up with list of examples. With the internet and high quality photographs enabling this type of research and presentation, it's an exciting time for numismatics.

  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 10,259 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I’ll post a listing of the sales of the crude examples later. They are a bit less organized and more a listing of sales vs unique examples. I’m building a set of catalogs to try and match them all together.

  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 10,259 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here is a rubbing of the Obverse of the Salbach piece and the reverse of the coin from "La senora de la Serena noted in Medina taken from the Jara book.

    My poor Spanish translation reads: Rubbing from the Salbach specimen (Courtesy of Leon Bursztyn). The right rubbing on the reverse, the specimen mentioned of Senora de la Serena (mentioned by Medina) is a different specimen (the two smears are not at the same scale).

    Judging from the marking on those coins I dont see them as being represented in the pictures above. The left piece is the Salbach coin and the right the Serena coin.

    Note the slight upset of the rim between "IM" in Coquimbo and and the rim (perhaps delamination) at the "H" in T.H. on the reverse.

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 8,481 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 6, 2021 11:20AM

    @Boosibri said:

    While a number of modern authorities had dismissed
    the cruder type as modern forgeries, the documentary
    evidence in their favor is overwhelming: their characteristics
    are an almost perfect match for the description by the officers
    of the Santiago Mint of the coins from the batch sent to
    Santiago on November 1828. As stated in Leu Numismatik’s
    catalog 89 (October 21st, 2003, description of lot 440), the
    trial issues of (November) 1828 were rejected precisely for
    those very same faults that the modern commentators used
    in their rationale in proving the coins false!

    Fascinating, since there are a number of what I would normally consider to be red flags on these coins, as well.

    Why would they sink such short dentils, for example? You can see this effect the most on #11 all the way from FUERZA to TH - short dentils folowed by flat area means that the die with which these were struck also had these short dentils.

    If this was a Mexico 8 Reales, I would call that a result of being minted using a transfer die created from an authentic coin in which the dentils stopped at the edge of the coin vs having a full length as they would have been on the original die. By the way, another die marker is the dentil repair to the left of the F in FUERZA that looks like a bulge. If the dentils were punched in individually, then why are the repaired ones longer?

    Lots of questions. Neat coin to study.

  • KingOfMorganDollarKingOfMorganDollar Posts: 541 ✭✭✭
    edited January 8, 2021 6:01PM

    Simply amazing story major congrats well done sir!!

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