Colombia 1622-SA 1/4 real

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from the Stack's Bowers 2018 NYINC sale, lot 11127
Colombia SB118-11127r.jpg
This specimen was lot 11127 in Stack's Bowers NYINC sale (New York, January 2018), where it sold for $16,800. The catalog description[1] noted,
"COLOMBIA. 1622-A 8 1/4 Real or Cuartillo. Cartagena mint. Philip IV (1621-1665). F-15 (PCGS). An historical relic from the opening of the mint at Cartagena, this is the finest of just three specimens known. The surfaces are golden gray, microscopically granular but quite well preserved for a billon coin of this era. Both the S mintmark and the A assayer initial on either side of the shield are well struck up, as are most of the fine details within the shield. The king's ordinal IIII is especially bold. On the reverse, the pomegranate is well defined, and the date (in the upper left corner at the periphery) is mostly present, with the base of the 1 visible, 62 bold, and the final digit obscured. The pillars and P / V (for Plus Ultra) are nicely rendered.

The rarest and most important coin in the 1/4 Real series, the 1622 Cuartillo is perhaps the most historic of the rare issues coined in the first year of the Cartagena mint. Herman Blanton, after Juan Friede, put a fine point on it in an article in the July/August 2008 issue of the Numismatics International Bulletin: "the purpose of establishing a subsidiary mint in Cartagena was to produce low silver quarter reals." With a silver fineness of about .186 and about half the actual silver weight of a later Cuartillo, the coins were quickly rejected by the populace, who saw the coins as profiteering by the Mint's administrators and the Crown. This example is one of only three that has survived. It is struck on the broadest planchet and retains the best detail, characteristics that led to its selection as a plate coin in Restrepo-Lasser, Restrepo, Krause-Mishler, and Calicó (which lists this as a Santa Fe 1/2 Real). This piece traces its provenance to the Lasser Collection and is among the highlights of this collection as well. From the Eldorado Collection of Colombian and Ecuadorian Coins."

This seems to have been a failed attempt to circulate a billon coinage in America. The next issue, a few years later, was good silver but only 0.86 g.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 2.3 g, .186 fine silver, this specimen 2.15 grams.

Catalog reference: Restrepo M11.1.

Sources:

  • Cayón, Adolfo, Clemente Cayón and Juan Cayón, Las Monedas Españolas, del Tremis al Euro: del 411 a Nuestros Dias, 2 volumes, Madrid: Cayón9-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.
  • Restrepo, Jorge Emilio, Monedas de Colombia, 1619-2006, Medellin, Colombia, Impresiones Rojo: 2006.
  • [1]Ponterio, Richard, Kyle Ponterio, John Kraljevich and Cris Chatigny, The January 2018 NYINC Sale: Ancient Coins, World Coins & Paper Money, featuring the Eldorado Collection of Colombian and Ecuadorian Coins, Santa Ana, CA: Stack's Bowers LLC, 2017.
  • Krause, Chester L., and Colin R. Bruce II, Standard Catalog of World Coins: Spain, Portugal and the New World, Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2002.

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