Zacatecas 1833 1/4 real

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Morton & Eden sale 104, lot 304

This specimen was lot 304 in Morton & Eden sale 104 (London, November 2019), where it sold for £6,500 (about US$10,067 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[1] noted, "Republic, State of Zacatecas, 'Flying Eros' Coinage, pattern or proof quarter-real, 1833, similar to the brass currency coin but struck in a copper-nickel alloy of unknown composition, first type legend, obliquely reeded edge milling as usual, carefully struck, mint state and toned, very rare. Ex Guttag Collection." This specimen is one of a series of brass quarter reales issued 1825-64 by the "free and sovereign" state of Zacatecas. It is a common date but this specimen may have been a presentation piece as fully struck, uncirculated specimens with mint luster are virtually unknown. If it really is copper-nickel, then it was made later as the first regular copper-nickel issues appeared in the 1880's. Many German silver alloys have the appearance of copper-nickel.

The Mexican constitution reserved the right to coin gold and silver to the federal government but granted the right to mint copper to the states, which right they used and abused. For some states, this was a major source of revenue as the metal content was much less than the face value. For others, it was an opportunity to thumb their noses at the central government by proclaiming their "free and sovereign" status.

Recorded mintage: unknown but probably in the millions.

Specification: brass, this specimen 28.3 mm, 10.67 g.

Catalog reference: KM 366.


  • Harper, David C. [Ed.], North American Coins & Prices, 17th Ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2007.
  • Buttrey, T. V., and Clyde Hubbard, A Guide Book of Mexican Coins, 1822 to date, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1992.
  • [1]Eden, Tom, James Morton, David Kirk and Menelaos Danellis, Morton & Eden sale 104, Ancient Coins and the Mexico Collection, London: Morton & Eden, 2019.
  • Bailey, Don, State & Federal Copper and Brass Coinage of Mexico, 1824-1872, Hemet, CA, 2008.

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