La Rioja 1842-R 8 escudos

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Argentina 1842R 8 escudos obv Eliasberg 1011.jpg
Argentina 1842 8 escudos rev Eliasberg AN91880444-rz.jpg
This specimen was lot 1011 in the Eliasberg sale, where it sold for $39,100. The catalog description[1] noted,
"1842 R 8 escudos. Rioja mint. Uniformed bust of General Rosas to left, legends around/arms, legends and date around. Light yellow gold, some smoothing on portrait and in fields, light polishing has left fields a trifle bright but original lustre remains in protected areas where metal looks frosty and fresh, reverse unaffected. An important and noteworthy coin, a great rarity whose fame and desirability approaches that of the 1836 Rosas portrait piece. The Ulex specimen sold in a 2004 Stack's auction, described as Extremely Fine, for $40,000 on an estimate of $27,500 to $35,000. The catalogue description for that piece noted that only 'five pieces believe[d] to exist.' Calico likewise says 'pocos ejamplares conocidos.' A more worn piece appeared in the December 1991 Superior auction with an estimate of $20,000 and up. We do not recall the last time a sale included both Rosas portrait 8 escudos (1836 and 1842); it might have been the 1908 Ulex sale. Like the 1836 Rosas, this type was missing from the collections of Fonrobert, Rosa of Buenos Aires, Karon, and most other specialists. An outstanding rarity. From the John H. Clapp Collection; Clapp estate to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., 1942."
This coin was offered as lot 1077 in Stack's "Vermuele and Ward collection" sale (New York, January 2010) but did not sell. The catalog description noted,
"8 Escudos, 1842 R. Rioja. Uniformed bust l. of Argentina's first military dictator, General Juan Manuel de Rosas (ruled 1829-1852) The legend gives the title RESTAURADOR DE LAS LEYES, Restorer of the Laws. Rv. Oval Arms crowned by brilliant Sun, legend REPUB. ARGENT. CONFEDERADA, Confederated Argentine Republic. Coarse diagonal reeding. Fr.10, KM 4, Calicó Onza 1694, Hector Carlos Janson Rioja-51. No example of this 34mm, 26.76 gram issue appeared in the Fonrobert, Rosa of Buenos Aires or Karon collections that were rich in Latin American gold. The example in the classic Georg F. Ulex Collection sold by Adolph Hess in 1904 was sold by us in January 2004 with the note that only five pieces were known. This example is sharper than the plate coin in Hector Carlos Janson's La Moneda Circulante En El Territorio Argentino (2006). Careful examination of this major rarity reveals hints of smoothing on the portrait from a past polishing and obverse field though the reverse is wholly original and lustre extends over both sides for exciting visual quality. Extremely Fine or perhaps somewhat better. Rosas (1793-1877) ranks among the most ruthless and successful of all Latin American military dictators. A Porteño or native of Buenos Aires, he paradoxically opposed the Unitarios who sought a tightly centralized republic, insisting on a loose Confederation and using the slogan Mueran los Sauvages Unitarios, Death to the Unitary Savages on state documents and even tombstones. Defeated in the war with Brazil in February 1852, Rosas fled to England and died there in 1877. Modern advocates of authoritarian government are still called Rosistas today."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 27 g, .875 fine gold, .759 troy oz AGW; this specimen: 26.76 grains, 34.00 mm diameter.

Catalog reference: Fr-10, Calico Onza-1575, KM 14 (filed under La Rioja).


  • [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.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • 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.

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