Santa Marta 1820 1/4 real

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Heritage sale 378, lot 12972
photo courtesy Heritage Auctions
from Heritage sale 410
Colombia 1820 cuartilla obv Heritage 410077264r.jpg
another specimen, from the Mountain Groan Collection
Colombia 1820SM cuartilla rev DSLR.jpg

The years 1811-1819 were the first years of liberation during the struggle for independence from Spain. The first republican coinage was issued during this period of 'La Patria Boba', except for the interval 1817-1818, when Royalists took brief control. The royalists also produced coinage from areas which were under their control longer, such as Stanta Marta.

Colonial quarter reales of the "Lions and castles" type are known from the Nuevo Reino (Bogotá) and Popayán mints for 1796-1819 (KM 63, KM 67). Cundinamarca quarter reales of debased silver are known for 1814-15 (KM F2) and 1820-22. Republican quarter reales (KM 85) are known for 1826-36. This specimen is an issue of the royalist faction in Santa Marta during the Colombian war of independence. As the royalists were finally defeated in 1821, this coin's circulation must have been brief. Surviving specimens generally show little wear but grade low due to bad strike or bad planchets. The first specimen was part of lot 12972 in Heritage sale 378 (Long Beach, June 2005) where it sold for $517.50. The catalog description reads: "Copper Siege Types, Santa Marta KM-C2 1/4 Real 1813, choice VF+ with full bold details, very scarce, and KM-B4 1/4 Real 1820, choice VF+, very attractive, plus Cartagena KM-D2 1/2 Real 1812, crude VF, and KM-D1 2 Reales ND (1811), crude VF+. All of the coins in this lot are well above average and are very attractive for this turbulent period in Colombian history. Sold as is, no return lot."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: copper.

Catalog reference: KM B4.


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • Restrepo, Jorge Emilio, Monedas de Colombia, 1619-2006, Medellin, Colombia: Impresiones Rojo, 2006.

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