Colombia 1755-NR S 4 escudos

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Eliasberg lot 1452
Colombia 1755NR 4 escudos rev Eliasberg 1452.jpg
This specimen was lot 1452 in the Eliasberg sale, where it sold for $103,500. The catalog description[1] noted,
"1755 S 4 escudos. Bogotá mint. AU-53 (NGC). Large draped and armored bust of Fernando VI to right, legends around, date below/crowned arms, legends around. Medium gold with rich coppery highlights at the peripheries, some lustre remains in protected areas. A short diagonal scratch is visible above 17 of the date, dull nick present right of crown on reverse. A highlight of the Eliasberg collection, a coin that has captured the attention of the numismatic community and world at large, featured in front page headlines in Coin World, World Coin News,, and even in newspapers and radio programs in its home city of Bogotá. Before the identification of this coin among the Eliasberg holdings, no milled coin had ever been thought to have been struck at Bogotá (also known as Santa Fe de Bogotá or Nuevo Reino) before 1756. Records show that a mechanized mint was installed in the city in 1756, complete with a screw press capable of producing round coins. Cobs were produced through 1756, making the mint at Bogotá the last New World mint to produce gold coins in this way. With the discovery of this coin, it becomes clear that mechanized minting was planned and perhaps begun before 1756 at Bogotá, although it is possible that this obverse die was created in 1755 and not used until the following calendar year. The coin is unquestionably genuine, and the 5 punch used in the date matches the 5 punch on 4 escudos in this collection dated 1757 and 1758. The form of this 5 punch is peculiar, apparently broken where the upright meets the top serif of the digit. Both 5s on this coin were produced with that punch and are the same in every way. While this coin was published before, in a 1943 B. Max Mehl catalogue, this is the first time it has been displayed or carefully studied since that time. This coin re-writes a portion of numismatic history and now stands as one of the most significant rarities in Colombian numismatics. When B. Max Mehl had the opportunity to catalogue this piece in 1943, he wrote the following: '1755, 4 Escudos. Bogotá mint. Type as last. Extremely Fine with mint luster. Mint letter S. Very rare; more so than the Doubloon. The great Newcomer collection did not have a 4 Escudo piece of this Emperor.' The piece sold for $38.50, the same as a 1776 8 escudos in EF a few lots later and not a particularly impressive sum. It was consigned by Thomas W. Voetter, a lifelong diplomat who lived in Mexico, Venezuela, and Chile, and this coin was undoubtedly acquired during his stay in Latin America between 1907 and 1933. From B. Max Mehl's sale of the Thomas W. Voetter Collection, January 1943, Lot 344."
The NR mintmark is for Nuevo Reino, now known as Bogotá. The mint there had been striking cobs since the 1600's; 1755-56 marks the transition to coinage struck on the screw press. The date is not listed in SCWC. Restrepo[2] lists this coin as unique.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 13.54 g, .917 fine gold. This specimen: 13.43 grams, 30.50 mm diameter.

Catalog reference: Cayón-10818 (listed as a cob), KM 31.1, Fr-12, Restr-20.


  • [1]Kraljevich, John, John Pack, Elizabeth O. Piper and Frank Van Valen, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., Collection of World Gold Coins and Medals, Wolfboro, NH: American Numismatic Rarities, 2005.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.
  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • Cayón, Adolfo, Clemente Cayón and Juan Cayón, Las Monedas Españolas, del Tremis al Euro: del 411 a Nuestros Dias, 2 volumes, Madrid: Cayón-Jano S.L., 2005.
  • Calicó, Xavier, Numismática Española: Catálogo General con Precios de Todas las Monedas Españolas Acuñadas desde Los Reyes Católicos Hasta Juan Carlos I, 1474 a 2001, Barcelona: Aureo & Calicó, 2008.
  • [2]Restrepo, Jorge Emilio, Monedas de Colombia, 1619-2006, Medellin, Colombia: Impresiones Rojo, 2006.

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