This gold 8 Escudos dated 1873 was minted in the town of Hermosillo which was named the capital city of the Mexican state of Sonora in the year 1879. Although its origins date back to the early 1700s, it was not given its current name until 1828 when it was named after General Jose Maria Gonzales de Hermosillo who fought in the War of Independence against Spain. The state leased the mint to private individuals and companies during most of its existence. The mint ceased operations and closed in 1895. During the Mexican Revolution, Hermosillo became the meeting place of Carranza’s war cabinet and was the capital of Mexico for about five months.
The obverse of the coin depicts the national arms of Mexico, which evoke the legend of the founding of Mexico City, then known as “Tenochtitlan.” The legend begins with an Aztec oracle pronouncing: “Settle where an eagle is found perched on a cactus, tearing a snake apart.” This symbol has been used on Mexican coins since as early as 1823. The obverse for this piece bears these icons as well. The eagle stands triumphant atop the cactus, wings spread with one claw grasping the cactus and the other holding the tail end of the snake. The eagle is biting the snake near its head, as it prepares to pull it apart. Two branches, oak and olive, are twined together by a bow knot, and form a half border along the bottom of the coin. The words: “REPUBLICA MEXICANA” complete the outer border for the coin.
The reverse is dominated by the “Liberty Cap” design. A forearm is shown holding a stick, with the liberty cap resting atop. An open book, with its visible page reading “LEY” (Spanish for law) is just to the left of the hand. The upper inscription: “LA LIBERTAD EN LA LEY” means “Liberty within the law.” The lower inscription of 8E signifies the denomination of 8 Escudos, the monogram of “Ho” for Hermosillo, the date of 1873, the mint assayer’s initials: “P.R.” for Pablo Rubio, and finally the fineness of the gold expressed in karats (21 quilates). This coin displays a choice lustrous quality, and is graded by NGC as a Mint State 64, the finest certified 8 Escudo (of any date) for the mint of Hermosillo. This coin is sure to draw a crowd when it crosses the block at the November Baltimore auction.
Look for this and other world numismatic rarities in our upcoming November Baltimore sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this October at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Auction Schedule/Details link under Current Auctions at www.StacksBowers.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 800.566.2580. While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio November Baltimore sale is closed for further consignments, we are currently taking consignments of world and ancient coins for our January New York International, and April 2014 Hong Kong sales. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.