Last week’s preview for the January 2019 Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction of the New York International Numismatic Convention featured a lovely Latin American 8 Escudos. This week we continue that trend with the single finest graded Guadalajara Mint "Hand on Book" 8 Escudos. This coin is remarkable, displaying superb quality for any "Hand on Book" issue, let alone one from the conditionally challenging Guadalajara Mint.
The obverse features the "Hand on Book" design. The central design is an open book, with the top of the page inscribed: "LEY" (Law). An arm suspends a Liberty Cap (Phrygian Cap) above the book. This symbol was inspired by the French Revolution’s "Liberty Cap," misrepresentation of the Roman "Pilius," which was a similarly shaped hat that freed slaves would wear. The upper inscription reinforces these symbols: "La Libertad En La Ley" (Freedom in the Law). The lower inscription provides the various information necessary for circulating coinage: "8 E. Ga. 1861. JG. 21Qs." These symbols stand for: "8 Escudos, Guadalajara (as a mintmark), the date of 1861, the initials of the assayer of the Guadalajara Mint, and finally the fineness, represented as 21 quilates which are equivalent to karats. With pure gold being 24 karat, 21 would equal to a gold fineness of .875, with .125 copper. The reverse design is dominated by the resplendent Mexican eagle perched atop a cactus, holding a writhing snake in its talons and beak. An oak and laurel half-wreath appears below the motif, with the upper inscription "Republica Mexicana" completing the design.
While we are no longer taking consignments for our January 2019 New York International Auction, we are taking consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for the February 2019 Collector’s Choice Online Auction and the August 2019 ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction in Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. We are also accepting consignments of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our March 2019 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) contact one of our consignment directors.