Colombia 1820-P MF 8 reales

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from the Stack's Bowers 2018 NYINC sale, lot 12096
Colombia SB118-12096r.jpg
This specimen was lot 12096 in Stack's Bowers NYINC sale (New York, January 2018), where it sold for $8,400. The catalog description[1] noted,
"Extremely Rare 1820-MF 8 Reales of Popayán. The Last 8 Reales of Colonial Colombia. COLOMBIA. 1820-MF 8 Reales. Popayán mint. Ferdinand VII (1808-1833). VF Detail — Plugged (PCGS). Bust of Carlos IV. One of the great rarities in the Colombian portrait series. Calicó calls this date "rarísima," while Restrepo states that only two are known. The Restrepo plate coin is well worn and holed. That coin last appeared publicly in the December 2008 Cayón sale as lot 2286 and traces its earlier provenance to Calicó/ANE's sale of March 1975 and perhaps the Burzio Collection before that. This coin is struck from the same dies, both obverse and reverse, hallmarked by several distinctive aspects: the 2 of the date appears to be punched over another digit, perhaps a 1; the obverse legend stops before the point of the bust; the top of the left pillar touches the bottom of the F in the assayer's initials; the A's in GRATIA and HISPAN are made from a punch intended for a V.

This example is described as plugged, which may or may not be accurate. The top of both obverse and reverse have been deftly reengraved, affecting the top of the portrait and the laurel leaves above it, the field nearby, the central upright of the crown and the cross above it, and the field on either side of the crown. No evidence of a plug is seen, and this piece may have just been mounted then reengraved upon the mount's removal. The difference is perhaps unimportant. The vast majority of this coin's surface is pleasing, with good dark toning and lighter silvery fields. Some minor hairlines are seen, to be expected, and some marks near the central obverse show light evidence of smoothing. A dropped lamination surrounds V in the king's ordinal. The obverse is heavily swollen, with a die crack appearing at ND VII and the fields around the portrait pillowed outward. The central reverse is softly struck from the lack of pressure opposite this sunken portrait. The centering is excellent, and little actual wear is seen. From the Eldorado Collection of Colombian and Ecuadorian Coins."

This coin represents the only attempt to strike portrait reales in Colombia during colonial times. It was issued from the Popayán mint 1810-14, 1816 and 1820. While other mints such as Mexico City and Santiago were using the standard bust of Ferdinand VII, Popayán persisted in continuing the bust of the abdicated Charles IV.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 27.07 g, .896 fine silver, .780 troy oz ASW.

Catalog reference: Restrepo 120.12; KM 71.


  • 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.
  • [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.
  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • Elizondo, Carlos A., Eight Reales and Pesos of the New World, San Antonio, TX: 1968.
  • Raymond, Wayte, The Silver Dollars of North and South America, 2nd Ed., Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing, 1964.
  • Restrepo, Jorge Emilio, Monedas de Colombia, 1619-2006, Medellin, Colombia, Impresiones Rojo: 2006.

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