Guatemala 1733-G J 1/2 real round flan '1/2' variety

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Sedwick sale 9, lot 1277
Stack's Bowers 2015 NYINC sale, lot 3897
Guatemala Stacks Jan15-3897r.jpg
from the Mountain Groan Collection
Guatemala 1733 medio real rev DSLR.jpg

Shown is a 1733 half real from the Guatemala mint, of a type issued only in that year, during the reign of Philip V. 1733 was the first year the Guatemala mint struck coinage, having first applied for authorization from the Spanish crown in 1714. The machinery was brought from Mexico City, and had already seen much service. As a consequence of that, and the fact that in Guatemala there were few people skilled in striking coins, production of milled coins equivalent to those being produced at Mexico City was not economically feasible[2]. The endeavour was abandoned shortly thereafter and the mint began striking coins on irregular planchets without applying edge devices, which was achieved at an acceptable rate.

The first example shown was sold by Daniel Frank Sedwick auctions in April 2011 for $1,850 (lot 1277). It is the variety in which the denomination is shown as '1/2' to the right of the shield. On the left side of the shield would be the assayer's initial 'J', if that part of the coin were visible. The catalog description reads:
"Guatemala, cob 1/2 real, 1733(J), denomination as "1/2," very rare first year of issue. Unpriced in KM and vastly underpriced in CT, with bold date below good full pillars-crown-worlds (slightly off-center), full crowned shield with bold 1/2 to right, nicely toned AVF for type, first specimen we have offered."
The second specimen was lot 3897 in Stack's-Bowers NYINC sale (New York, January 2015), where it sold for $229.13. The catalog description[3] noted, "GUATEMALA. 1/2 Real, 1733-J. Philip V (1700-46). NGC AG-03. RARE first year of issue. Fairly well centered on cob planchet, fully discernible date."

Mexican numismatists hotly debate which side of the coin constitutes the obverse. Gilboy[1] depicts the shield side as the obverse as that side bears the king's name. However, auction catalogs and dealer listings more frequently use the pillars and globes side as the obverse, as that side bears the date.

Recorded mintage: unknown but extremely rare.

Specifications: 1.62 g, 0.917 fine silver, 0.0498 oz ASW; the first specimen 1.6 grams.

Catalog reference: Cayón-8233, S-G1; KM-2; CT-1736.


  • 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]Gilboy, Frank F., The Milled Columnarios of Central and South America: Spanish American Pillar Coinage, 1732 to 1772, Regina, Saskatchewan: Prairie Wind Publishing, 1999.
  • Yonaka, Brad, A Variety Guide to the Pillar Coinage of the Guatemala, Bogota, Lima, Potosi, and Santiago Mints, 1752-1771, Long Beach, CA: Agorocu Consulting, 2018.
  • Yonaka, Brad, A Variety Guide to the Fractional Pillar Coinage of Mexico City, 1732-1771, Long Beach, CA: Agorocu Consulting, 2017.
  • [2]Jara, Carlos M., Historia de la Casa de Moneda de Guatemala 1731-1776, Santiago, Chile: Andros Impresores, 2010.
  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • Robinson, Charles, The Coins of Central America, 1733-1965, San Benito, TX: 1965.
  • [3]Ponterio, Richard, The January 2015 NYINC Auction: Ancient Coins, World Coins & Paper Money, Featuring the John W. Adams and Ray Czabor Collections, Irvine, CA: Stack's Bowers LLC, 2014.

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