Chile 1828-Coquimbo peso

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Goldberg sale 46, lot 1004
photo courtesy Ira & Larry Goldberg
CNG Lissner sale, lot 1334

The first specimen was lot 1004 in Goldberg sale 46 (Beverly Hills, May 2008), where it sold for $132,000.

The catalog description[1] noted,
"Chile - Republic. Peso, 1828-TH (Coquimbo). Volcano type. Smoking volcano amid mountains and lake; wreath above, value within. Reverse: Column surmounted by globe; star and banner above. Crisp and detailed, with only just a hint of cabinet wear on a few of the highest points. Excellent even old gray toning, multicolored in reflection, over mirror fields. The Classic Key Crown of the Latin American Republic series. This example long considered the Finest Known. NGC graded Proof 64. Coquimbo is a city located north of Santiago in the La Serena region. Close to the northern desert areas, precipitation is sparse. Coquimbo was an important mining area in Spanish colonial times. The proximity to large gold and copper deposits made it an essential part of the Spanish trade route. Few silver coins were produced there however, so this coin is of major importance."
The second specimen was lot 1334 in Classical Numismatic Group's sale of the Lissner Collection (Chicago, August 2014), where it sold for $108,900. The catalog description[2] noted,
"CHILE, Republic. 1818-present. AR ‘Fine Type’ Peso. Coquimbo mint. Gregorio Cordovez, mintmaster. Theodor Hagen, assayer. Dated 1828 TH. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 63. Deep mottled toning over incredibly lustrous fields. Razor sharp strike. This is the finest known Mint State example in existence, next closest graded specimen is AU 58. This cataloger had the opportunity to hold the Lissner coin and the AU coin together at a recent Chicago Coin Fair, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Ex F.C.C. Boyd Collection (Superior Stamp & Coin, 19 August 1975), lot 1787.

The ultimate jewel in the crown of the Richard Lissner Collection. This was Richard’s favorite South American coin and is the centerpiece of his South American collection. Only one other coin from Ecuador reaches the rarity and desirability of this coin. These coins were struck at a provincial mint less than fifty miles from Santiago during the early stages of the Chilean Republic.

Because of the distance between the mines at Coquimbo and the mint at Santiago, a local mint at the mines was proposed. Authorized in 1827, the new mint was supervised by Gregorio Cordovez. Under him, Theodor (or Teodoro) Hagen acted as both engraver and assayer. When the Santiago mint failed to send some of the materials necessary for the manufacture of dies, Hagen was forced to create his own for his initial trial strikes of issues from the new mint.

In late June and again in mid November 1828, two trials of the Coquimbo mint's initial output were shipped to Santiago for inspection. Included in these were examples of the 1828 peso. In both cases, mint officials rejected the coins on the basis of their lower than expected fineness and "defective" (i.e. crude) engraving and execution. These two samples constitute the so-called 'Crude Type'.

By late 1829, a screw press was installed at the Coquimbo mint and Hagen, with hubs and prepared punches now at his disposal, was able to make dies of a finer style, unlike the earlier, hand-engraved, ones used in 1828. Although the Coquimbo Mint was now equipped to strike coinage of a high standard and did begin striking trials of the new, so-called 'Fine Type' peso, the Chilean Civil War of 1829-1830 forced the Coquimbo mint to close and its bullion and trial strikes to be lost in looting. Today, no more than fourteen examples of the ‘Fine Type' peso are known, with one in the British Museum and one in the Banco de Chile collection."

The Coquimbo peso is another of the glamorous coins from this Goldberg sale, this specimen being the finest of a handful of pieces. It is overweight, suggesting that these pieces were struck for presentation rather than circulation.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: silver, 30.80 grams; the second specimen Ø41 mm, 25.95 g, 12h axis.

Catalog reference: WR-10 (this the plate coin); Eliz-98; KM 88.


  • [1]Goldberg, Ira, and Larry Goldberg, Goldberg Sale 46: the Millenia Collection, Beverly Hills, CA: Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, 2008.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • Elizondo, Carlos A., Eight Reales and Pesos of the New World, San Antonio, TX: 1968.
  • [2]Teller, M. Louis, and Victor England, Jr., The Richard Lissner Collection, Lancaster, PA: Classical Numismatic Group, 2014.

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