Guatemala 1863-R 16 pesos

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Heritage sale 3030, lot 24458
Guatemala 1863 16 pesos rev H3030-24458.jpg
This specimen was lot 24458 in Heritage sale 3030 (New York, January 2014), where it sold for $15,275. The catalog description[1] noted,
"A Great Rarity in the Guatemalan Series Republic gold 16 Pesos 1863-R, AU58 NGC. Lustrous, especially on the shield side, with little or no actual wear but contact marks keep it from the Uncirculated grade. Excess metal at 2 o'clock on the obverse, and a couple of minimal rim nicks. Only 459 pieces minted. Types as above. A one year type (see note below) of very great rarity. Listed in KM as a three year type, although the cataloguer has never seen the 1864 or 1865. These two other dates probably do not exist with the large diameter planchet, making the present coin a one year type of great rarity. Note that the cataloger of the reduced diameter 1865 16 Pesos in the Eliasberg collection (ANR 5/2005, lot 3049) confused that issue with the present type albeit he correctly indicated the Friedberg reference for that coin. We may also mention that the 1863 variety with the bust of Carrera facing LEFT listed in local Guatemalan references is the result of heraldic confusion and does not exist.

KM mentions "a few specimens of the 1863-R were found...during the 1977 Guatemala earthquake". Before that serendipitous hoard find (to quote the Eliasberg collection catalog), only two pieces were known. The up-to-date census of the pieces known to the cataloguer is as follows:

- The Farouk (Sotheby's 2-3/1954, lot 103) - Norweb (Christie's Dallas, lot 866) specimen. Described as Very Fine and inferior to the present specimen.

- The Haberthuer (SBC 1/1996, lot 2715). Described as "Extremely Fine" and with noticeable rim nicks.

- The Casterline (Superior 5/1989, lot 8089) - Millenia (Golbergs 5/2008, lot 1062 for $21,000). Graded AU-55.

- The Caballero (Aureo 4/2009, lot 311 for 7,500 Euros). Described as "Extremely Fine, one discrete rim ding" and with more wear than the present coin.

- The KM plate coin, recognizable for its large scrape to the right of Carrera's bust.

- A specimen housed in a California collection. Comparable to the present coin.

- The present coin. AU-58.

The latter five specimens are the ones from the mentioned hoard discovered in 1977. The Rudman coin is possibly the finest known for this type. Ex. Mike Dunigan/Louis Hudson (2/1984 for $10,000). From The Isaac Rudman Collection of Guatemala Coins."

This type is listed for 1863 only and is part of a gold series which included one, two, four, five, eight, ten, sixteen and twenty pesos.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 27.03 g, .875 fine gold, .760 troy oz AGW (same weight as the old eight escudos).

Catalog reference: KM 183, Fr-31.


  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and David Michaels, Heritage World and Ancient Coins Auction 3030, featuring the RLM Collection, the Isaac Rudman Collection, the Hans Cook Collection and the Collection of Donald E. Bently, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2013.
  • 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.

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