Grade update- Chiloe 8 Reales and summary of Jara's work on the topic
As I post this coin, I know that the vast majority of people will have absolutely no clue what it is, but in truth, the coin is exceptionally rare and very important. I’ll summarize here, but I encourage you to read Carlos Jara’s article from Numismatic International on the Newman portal. This article became the foundation for this later book on the issue. https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/522799?page=6
The Chiloe 8 Reales is a sand cast emergency issued by Spanish commander Antonio Quintanilla, dating from roughly 1821-1826, on the island of Chiloe in the Chilean archipelago. Quintanilla was the last Spanish holdout from the Republican forces in Chile, and ultimately in the New World, making this issue the last Spanish issue of the New World.
There have been several theories behind the purpose and legitimacy of the issue which Jara discusses, but through his research it can now only be concluded that the Chiloe 8 Reales was issued by Quintanilla as emergency coinage on the isolated island and manufactured to roughly equal fineness and weight as the traditional royal issues.
The first appearance of the issue dates back to the late 1800’s with a discovery of the pieces in Chiloe, which the noted author Jose Toribio Medina pictured first in his 1902 Las Monedas Chilenas as a drawing featuring an 1822-Potosi example, and later, and more importantly, in his 1919 Monedas Obsidionales de Chile, which featured an image of an 1818 Lima piece in the collection of Alcibiades Santa Cruz, this coin. Medina describes his 1822 and the Santa Cruz 1818 both as having a hand made reeded edge. The 1822 weighed in at 22.1 grams and the 1818 at 26,7 grams vs. the royal standard of 27 grams. The coin pictured is the coin plated in Medina book and from the collection of Santa Cruz shown in the image below.
What Jara then seeks to prove is which of these Chiloe 8 reales are legitimate royal issues, which are contemporary counterfeits, and which are more modern counterfeits. To do so, he presents various letters, one such letter from Chiloe’s intendant J. F. Carballo to the Minister of Hacienda in Santiago, dated December 20, 1832, outlining the development of crude counterfeits of Chiloe issue, and a decree from Caraballo withdrawing all Chiloe coinage, real and counterfeit, to the local government as a response to the growing counterfeit issue. Further, the payment for the confiscated pieces was to be made based on the weight of the coin, noting significant underweights amongst the group. Knowing that Quintanilla issued royal coinage to the fineness and weight of the royal issues. It is safe to assume that the underweight issues were the contemporary counterfeits.
Jara then divides the known issues into types. First to do so he notes that the Medina 1822, was sold to Rafael Gonzalez which is plated then in his Coleccion de Monedas de Chile. The coin is later sold to the Banco de Chile for its collection. Importantly, the drawing from the 1902 Medina books does not match the plated coin in Gonzalez work. The drawing was inaccurate.
As we then look at the classes of Chiloe pesos, Jara first excludes all the coins which have been stamped or engraved with Chiloe vs. cast as was described in the source materials from Chiloe. The Quintanilla coins were made with a cast and the words “Chi” and “Loe” embedded in the cast versus counter stamped on a host coin.
Second is the Amat coin which is overweight at 28.3grams, lacks a reeded edge, and is of a different manufacturing technology than the 1822 which is in Medina as a known contemporary based on its discovery date. Jara concludes this piece is a modern forgery due to a) why would two coins made at the same time have different manufacturing techniques, and 2) the fact that it is overweight, and 3) it lacks the reeded edge which would have been a key feature to enable circulation.
Third, there are cast pieces which model the Medina drawing, which was not in fact a real coin per the comparison to the Gonzalez coin which came from Medina, just an inaccurate representation of the Gonzalez/Banco de Chile specimen. This whole class of coins is then more of a modern fake than a contemporary counterfeit likely based off of a coin engraved to look like the Medina drawing, and then cast to mimic the production method.
Finally, the 1818 which the author deems to be likely authentic due to the correct weight, edge reeding, and discovery in the late 1800’s prior to any published article on the Chiloe issues. It is at least contemporary, and includes all of the features described and expected of a royal issue intended to circulate. Per the article: "The specimen dated 1818, cast from a Lima 8 Reales mould, illustrated by Medina. This coin shows a doubled date and obverse legends, a weight of 26.7 grams which is fairly close to the standard 27 grams and a hand made edge design. Apparently, no other pieces of this type have surfaced since all references are to this same specimen, the origins of which can be traced to the XIX century. This coin clearly should be considered genuine or at least contemporary since its appearance predates the information about the issue. See image 7.”
Since the publishing of this article and book on Chiloe, two other specimens have surfaced, one an 1813 Lima, and one an 1819 Lima, all with the same characteristics and Chi-Loe punches in the cast as the 1818 pictured. The second coin is in the collection of a well known American dealer/collector, and the third importantly was discovered in a museum in Madrid.
The Madrid piece is sourced from a solider, Brigadier Saturnino Garcia, who donated the coin via his neighbor, Antonio Delgado in 1854 after returning from war. This 1819 includes the same doubling, punch placement and features of the 1818 Lima. It is not surprising that all of the likely legitimate royal issues are rom Lima as Chiloe was under the viceroyalty of Lima at the time and this issue what have been considered a royal issue from Lima.
Delgado, in addition to presenting the piece to the institution, on March 20, 1854, makes a report of it, of its importance, "Expelled the royal troops from the territory of Chile, they took refuge on the island of Chiloé, located not far from the coast, and on the crossing from Cape Horn to Valparaiso. In the year of 1821 and 1822 seeing the authorities gathered there without a numerary for the most precise attention, they collected and melted silver from the Churches and the State, and as they lacked the stamp and means to cut, they commissioned a silversmith, called Palomino, to mint "strong" reales in the mold of a strong Reales with the bust of Fernando VII minted in. This piece was made by Commander Antonio Quintanilla, in the last territory faithful to Ferdinand VII in South America, the island of Chiloé and it is, therefore, the last Indian issue of reales of 8." Source: Fátima Martín Escudero Reconstrucción de un monetario... text shown below.
Image of Medina book
…and yes it weighs 26.7g still!