Philippines 1861 4 pesos

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Stack's Bowers 2015 NYINC sale, lot 4235
Philippines Stacks Jan15-4235r.jpg

This specimen was lot 4235 in Stack's-Bowers NYINC sale (New York, January 2015), where it sold for $458.25. The catalog description[1] noted, "PHILIPPINES. 4 Pesos, 1861. NGC EF Details--Removed From Jewelry. Removed from jewelry at one point, surface fairly nice considering. Minor contact points. Bright and lustrous with nice details." This coin is one of a series minted by the Spanish authorities in Manila in an attempt to drive out foreign coin (mostly Mexican) circulating there. There are also silver ten, twenty and fifty centimos and gold one and two pesos, all with the portrait of Queen Isabella.

The Philippines were conquered by Spain in the late 1500's. Other than introducing Christianity, the colonizers made little effort to develop the islands which gradually fell into the hands of the friars. Manila was important only as a way station on the route from China to Mexico and whatever coins were used there were derived therefrom. Crude, locally produced copper coins were issued c.1798-1835 and in the 1830's large quantities of Latin American pesos were counterstamped "F.7" or "Y.II" for local circulation. Finally, about 1860, a reforming government in Madrid sent the resources to reorganize the Manila mint and modern coinage began. After the Americans seized the archipelago during the Spanish-American war, all the Spanish issues were demonetized in 1904. This type was struck 1861-68 (plus the restrikes dated 1868) but this date is scarce. An 1866/5 overdate exists.

Recorded mintage: 183,000 (a slightly better date).

Specification: 6.77 g, .875 fine gold, .190 troy oz AGW.

Catalog reference: Fr-1; KM-144.


  • Basso, Aldo P., Coins, Medals and Tokens of the Philippines, Menlo Park, CA: 1968.
  • Ganzon de Legarda, Angelita, Piloncitos to Pesos, A Brief History of Coinage in the Philippines, Manila: Bancom Development Corporation, 1976.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • [1]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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