Bolivia 1854-Paz F 2 soles

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Heritage sale 410, lot 16164
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries

This specimen is a two soles (nominally equal to two Mexican reales but lightweight and debased) minted at the La Paz mint in 1854. The similar issues from the Potosi mint are much more common. The obverse bust is of Simon Bolivar, liberator of South America and the namesake of Bolivia. It was lot 16164 in Heritage sale 410 of the Whittier collection (Long Beach, June 2006), where it sold for $747.50. The catalog description[1] noted, "Republic 2 Soles 1854-F Paz, AU58 NGC, 'Potosi' style laureate bust, incredibly bold details, lightly cleaned at one time and now attractively toned. Very rare condition and believed to be the finest known." That such a rare coin could sell for so cheap shows the unmerited contempt most collectors have for Bolivian minors.

The Potosi mint produced standard weight two reales (6.77 g, .896 fine) of the colonial type until 1825. After independence, the weight was lowered to 6.2 grams (KM 95, struck 1827-29). In the 1830's and 1840's, Bolivia issued an enormous quantity of two soles debased to .667 fine, all dated 1830 (KM 95a). These coins flooded South America and were denounced by Bolivia's neighbors, to no avail. Later types struck at Potosi and La Paz are also to this standard (KM 121 thru 129, struck 1853-59). The last two soles, struck 1860-63, was 4.5 g, .903 fine silver (KM 135.2).

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 6.2 g, .667 fine silver, .132 troy oz ASW.

Catalog reference: KM 126.


  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • [1]Tucker, Warren, and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 410: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2006.

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