Colombia 1655-C S 8 reales

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from the Stack's Bowers 2018 NYINC sale, lot 11037
Colombia SB118-11037r.jpg
This specimen was lot 11037 in Stack's Bowers NYINC sale (New York, January 2018), where it sold for $5,040. The catalog description[1] noted,
"Extremely Rare 1655 8 Reales of Cartagena. Calbeto Plate Coin. COLOMBIA. 1655-CS 8 Reales. Cartagena mint. Philip IV (1621-1665). VF-35 (PCGS). An extraordinary survivor, a non-salvage example of this very rare one-year issue. Only a few such specimens are known, but perhaps none are as singularly impressive as this one. The planchet is especially broad, measuring more than 41 mm across its widest breadth. A large angular unstruck portion across the base of the coin suggests the square shape the planchet must have had before striking. HISPA at the upper right periphery is easily readable, and the central obverse is sharp despite showing some double striking. PLVS VLTRA is complete, though the P is soft. The pillars and waves are clear. The shield on the reverse is also quite bold, along with most of the crown, though the denomination is obscure on the left and only the top of C and a portion of the lower curve of S are visible on the right. The medium gray surfaces are glossy and supremely attractive. This piece is plated as No. 34 in Calbeto, page 50.

Joe Lasser's study on the cobs of Cartagena (ANS American Journal of Numismatics 3-4, 1992) was the first real attempt at telling the fascinating story of the oficina at Cartagena. More details were fleshed out in later years, and the second edition of the joint efforts of Jorge Restrepo and Lasser remained the last word on the subject until Jorge Proctor and Herman Blanton's superb 2012 article, 'The Illegal Mint Office of Cartagena, 1655,' published in the Numismatics International Bulletin. It illustrates the best surviving specimen, in the Museo Casa de la Moneda in Madrid. Previously illustrated in Calicó with a pencil rubbing, the piece was last offered in the 1929 sale of the collection of Julius Guttag. Though a previous mint operation had produced gold and silver coins at Cartagena, Blanton and Proctor revealed that the mint of 1655 was essentially brand new, opening for business on June 21, 1655, to combat the economic hardship created by the devaluation and counterstamping of silver coins struck in Potosí. As it turned out, King Philip IV had decreed in September 1654 that the Cartagena mint would remain closed, but that communication didn't arrive in Cartagena until about two weeks after the mint began production. Spanish authorities compromised with the Cartagena local officials and allowed the facility to produce coins until August 1655. A 1659 inquiry suggested that the mint may have stayed open for as much as two months longer than was permitted, but the life of the 1655 manifestation of the Cartagena mint was still very short indeed. It produced 8 Reales and 4 Reales, all struck from dies made in Cartagena. Until the wreck of the Maravillas was salvaged, the 1655 issues of Cartagena were uncollectibly rare. They remain extremely rare even today, but especially in unsalvaged condition. From the Eldorado Collection of Colombian and Ecuadorian Coins. From James Kelly's sale of February 1954."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 27.48 g, .931 fine silver, this specimen 26.52 grams.

Catalog reference: Cayón no. 6481, Restrepo M48.2, KM 7.2.


  • Cayón, Adolfo, Clemente Cayón and Juan Cayón, Las Monedas Españolas, del Tremis al Euro: del 411 a Nuestros Dias, 2 volumes, Madrid: Cayón-Jano S.L., 2005.
  • Calicó, Xavier, Numismática Española: Catálogo General con Precios de Todas las Monedas Españolas Acuñadas desde Los Reyes Católicos Hasta Juan Carlos I, 1474 a 2001, Barcelona: Aureo & Calicó, 2008.
  • Restrepo, Jorge Emilio, Monedas de Colombia, 1619-2006, Medellin, Colombia, Impresiones Rojo: 2006.
  • [1]Ponterio, Richard, Kyle Ponterio, John Kraljevich and Cris Chatigny, The January 2018 NYINC Sale: Ancient Coins, World Coins & Paper Money, featuring the Eldorado Collection of Colombian and Ecuadorian Coins, Santa Ana, CA: Stack's Bowers LLC, 2017.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.

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