Costa Rica (1841-42) 4 escudos

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Stack's Bowers ANA sale, lot 558
photo courtesy Stack's Bowers LLC
This specimen was lot 558 in Stack's Bowers ANA auction (Chicago, August 2014), where it sold for $16,450. The catalog description[1] noted,
"COSTA RICA. 4 Escudos, ND (Decree of December 24, 1841). San Jose Mint. PCGS AU-53 Secure Holder. Finest Certified Countermarked Costa Rican 4 Escudos Type-II countermark: Radiant six pointed star, rosette at center all in a 4 mm circle. On a central American Republic 1837-CR-E 4 Escudos applied at the base of the Ceiba tree. According to Jorge Murillo, author of "Historia de las Monedas de Costa Rica", due to the introduction of counterfeit ounce and a half ounce gold coins (8 and 4 Escudos) by Julian Fabrega in Leon, a full investigation was launched in Nicaragua. By the decree of December 24, 1841 it was stated that all coins bearing the seal of the Central American Republic and any foreign coins, no matter what size were to be countermarked. Only the silver coinage that was countermarked has a small circular piece extracted to test the purity and to pay for the work of countermarking.

The only known genuine host coins for the gold issues are the 1837-CR-E 4 Escudos and 1835-CR-F 2 Escudos of which we have been able to track down five specimens of the 4 Escudos, with this piece being a newly discovered sixth example. Of the six examples, we have determined that this is the finest. VERY RARE and very interesting. Sharply struck with virtually full details in the leaves of the Ceiba tree, with only slight signs of wear. The reverse is fully struck up with full details in the face and mountains. Lustrous with light attractive toning. Co[u]ntermark AU Details, host coin."

This type, listed by the SCWC under the Central American Republic, was minted in Costa Rica 1828-37 and in Guatemala 1824-25 (KM 8). All are rare and expensive, even more so with this counterstamp.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 13.54 g, .875 fine gold, .760 troy oz AGW.

Catalog reference: Fr-2a; KM-29; Gurdian-pg.63, Type VII; Resello de Costa Rica-pg.23.


  • [1]Ponterio, Richard, The August 2014 Chicago ANA Auction: Ancient Coins, World Coins & Paper Money, Featuring the David O'Harrow Collection, Irvine, CA: Stack's Bowers LLC, 2014.
  • 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.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • Gurdian, Raul, Contribucion al Estudio de las Monedas de Costa Rica: 100 Años de Colon, 2a Ed., San José, Costa Rica, 1997.

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