Colombia 1851-B 2 reales
This specimen is an example of a decimal two reales struck in Colombia (then called Nueva Granada) in 1851. The type was struck 1849-53. Unlike Mexico, which converted directly from 8 reales = 1 peso to 100 centavos = 1 peso in the 1860's, Colombia took a roundabout route to decimalization. In colonial Colombia, two reales coins were 6.77 g, .896 fine, just like the rest of Spanish America. The chaos of the struggle for independence and the shortage of bullion affected the two reales as it did the other denominations. Cundinamarca issues (1815-16, KM C4) were 4.9 g, .583 fine; the "Libertad Americana" issue (1819-20, KM 76 and 77) were 5.9 g, .666 fine. The first two reales of the independent Nueva Granada (1839-46, KM 97) were 5.5 g, .666 fine. Thus, when this coin appeared, the populace were resigned to underweight two reales and were probably unimpressed when they were told that ten reales made a peso instead of the former eight. A modified design was issued 1849-53 (KM 109) and then the coin was redesignated a two décimos, struck 1854-58 (KM 117). In 1866, the fineness was lowered to .835 and struck at that standard 1866-74 (KM 149, 155, 159, 160) and a twenty centavos struck 1874-86 (KM 176, KM 178).
Recorded mintage: unknown.
Specification: 5 g, .900 fine silver, .144 troy oz ASW.
Catalog reference: KM 109.
- Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
- Restrepo, Jorge Emilio, Monedas de Colombia, 1619-2006, Medellin, Colombia: Impresiones Rojo, 2006.