Guatemala 1747-G J 8 escudos

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Heritage sale 3041, lot 32261
Guatemala H3041-32261r.jpg
This specimen was lot 32261 in Heritage sale 3041 (Chicago, August 2015), where it sold for $235,000. The catalog description[1] noted,
"Ferdinand VI gold 8 Escudos 1747 G-J MS61 NGC, Guatemala mint, Choice for the type and designation with partially lustrous surfaces, and fewer marks than one would expect for the assigned grade, the surfaces and finish being fairly crude as usual for this issue. Truly a 'miracle' coin since it survives from a meager estimated mintage of only 127 pieces (Jara, op. cit., page 172), and a particularly attractive specimen for this extremely rare type, well struck for the issue on a large diameter flan and with an amazingly clear four digit date. The latter characteristic is perhaps the piece's most salient feature, and has nothing to do with chance. Indeed, Jara (op. cit. pages 76-80) indicates that upon the analysis of sample coins corresponding to the years 1739-1743 and sent to Madrid for their approval, a Royal Ordinance dated May 24, 1746 was sent to Guatemala. Said Ordinance instructed that, in view of the defects seen on the sample coins, it was required that the employees of the Guatemala mint put the utmost care so that the subsequently issued coins would be issued clearly showing both the date and the assayer's initial. It was received in Guatemala on February 10, 1747, prior to the first production batch of coins for that year. On April 29, 1747 the Guatemalan authorities analyzed the coins from the first batch of silver coins (4,772 marks that had been delivered on April 25) and reported that these indeed all showed the date and assayer initial. Obviously, even more care was put into the mintage of the only gold batch of 1747 which consisted of little more than 15 marks that were minted on May 8 of that year. Our example naturally comes from said batch, proudly displays a full four-digit date on the obverse and a clear assayer initial on the reverse, and shows an unusually careful workmanship for the issue with all important data clearly seen! This carefully minted jewel undoubtedly is a most exciting discovery piece sure to become a centerpiece in the next owner's cabinet. It should logically be considered among the more valuable 8 Escudos of Ferdinand VI, especially when one considers the decaying workmanship of the later issues, due to both failing minting equipment that forced the use of smaller flans, which often leave the date or other important information out. A case in point is for example lot 629 in Aureo's 4/2002 sale: an 8 Escudos 1752 G-J that was misattributed as 8 Escudos 1750 G-J because its reduced sized flan only showed a barely visible date). And based on its remarkable quality, we fully expect this MS61 unique specimen to surpass the $125,000 realized for the 1735 dated piece in 2012."
Other dates of this type are known but all are very rare.

Reported Mintage: unknown.

Specification: 27.07 g, .917 fine gold, .798 troy oz ASW.

Catalog reference: Cayón-unlisted, KMA13, cf. Onza-Tipo B (date unlisted), Jara-unl.


  • Cayón, Adolfo, Clemente Cayón and Juan Cayón, Las Monedas Españolas, del Tremis al Euro: del 411 a Nuestros Dias, vol. 1, Madrid: Cayón-Jano S.L., 2005.
  • 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.
  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and David Michaels, Heritage World & Ancient Coins Auction 3041, featuring the Eric Beckman Collection of Canadian Coins, the Kaiser Collection of German Gold Coins and the Rudman Collection of Mexican Coins, Part I, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2015.

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