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The Unique & Well Pedigreed Santiago Chile Pillar Dollar With a Mozambique Countermark

This week we highlight a wonderful rarity, a coin that we have handled a few times over the years. Lot 407 in our upcoming official auction of the New York International Numismatic Convention is a Chilean 8 Reales of 1764, struck at the Santiago mint, a rare coin in its own right. This rare coin is made unique by the addition of a Mozambique countermark. We expect strong bidding participation from specialists in both Chilean and African coins.

Unlike in Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru, the mines in Chile were rich in gold, not silver, so the Santiago mint focused on minting gold coins. Silver coins were struck when there was enough slag produced from the gold refining process. On January 5, 1765, 23,346 1764-dated pieces were struck from a single batch of this slag; only five examples are confirmed to survive. Most of this silver coinage was intended for local commerce and not international trade. Perhaps as part of payment in the slave trade, this single 1764 Santiago Mint 8 Reales found its way to Africa shortly after striking, ending up in Mozambique, where it received a large “MR” monogram counterstamp, authorizing it under the terms of the Decree of August 20, 1765. This historic item is unique as a Santiago mint Pillar Dollar with a foreign counterstamp, and is highly important to collectors of Chilean, as well as African crowns.

This coin is one of many very important numismatic items to be offered in the Stack’s Bowers official auction of the New York International Numismatic Convention. The sale is now posted on our website at www.stacksbowers.com, and catalogs are mailing shortly. If you would like to receive a copy of the catalog, be sure to contact one of auction services associates to add your name to the mailing list. We look forward to seeing you at lot viewing, either in our Irvine, CA headquarters or in New York. We are also accepting consignments of coins for our monthly World Coin iAuctions, the April 2015 Hong Kong and August 2015 official ANA World’s Fair of Money sales, so be sure to contact one of our consignment specialists to discuss your holdings. For your reading pleasure, the full text of Kent Ponterio’s expert description can be found below.

CHILE. 8 Reales, 1764-SoJ. Santiago Mint. Charles III (1759-88). PCGS VF-20 Secure Holder. KM-18 (RARE); Jara-Luedeking-pg. 295 (this coin); FC-7 (Rarity 10 "this coin"); EL-12, Gilboy-SC-8-11 (R4); Cal-Type-109#100. The Santiago Chile 8 Reales dated 1764 were struck from a single batch of silver, rendered on January 5, 1765. Only 23,346 pieces were minted, of which five examples are confirmed to exist today. Unlike the Spanish Colonial mints located at Mexico City, Potosi, Bolivia and Lima Peru, the mint of Santiago Chile was not known for large outputs of silver coinage. Much like the mint of Nuevo Reino Colombia, the silver from the Santiago mint during this period was produced in small quantities and should be considered RARE. Unlike Mexico, Bolivia and Peru, which were rich with silver mines, the mines in Chile were abundant with gold. Most of the silver coinage produced at the Santiago mint was made from silver that was extracted while refining gold. When enough slag silver was collected it was then made into coinage. Due to their relatively small mintages, the silver coinage produced at the Santiago mint was mainly produced for the local economy rather than export. Historically, on very rare occasions coinage of this mint has surfaced abroad; however, foreign trade was not the predominant function of silver coinage produced by this mint. A hoard of Colonial pillar 8 Reales was found in the wall of an old mission in Vietnam around 1990. This hoard gives some perspective to the relative rarity of Santiago Pillar 8 Reales circulating abroad compared to those of other colonial mints. The hoard consisted of some 400-500 pieces of mostly high grade pillar 8 Reales, predominantly of the Mexico City mint from the era of late Ferdinand VI to early Charles III. Among this group a single Santiago 8 Reales was found, a 1764 8 Reales that was later sold at auction by Ponterio & Associates in sale #129 January 2004, lot #1601. Through some strange anomaly or happenstance, the 1764 Santiago pillar dollar offered here somehow made its way to Africa some time shortly after it was minted, finding itself in Mozambique, possibly as a result of the slave trade. Countermarked in Mozambique with a large "MR" monogram by decree of August 20, 1765. Unique countermark and host coin combination, highly important as an African crown and possibly the only Santiago Pillar 8 Reales with a foreign countermark. Pleasing tan-grey old cabinet tone, countermark EF Details, host PCGS VF-20 Secure Holder
Estimate: $20,000.00 – $25,000.00

Pedigree: Ex: Jess Peters April 1-4 1976 Auction plate 29, lot#409 "The Thomas Faistauer Collection".

Ex: Donald J. Canaparo Collection.

Ex: Henry Christensen July 25, 1986 Auction No. 93, lot#2.

Ex: Ponterio & Associates Auction#36 April 4, 1989, lot#362 (front cover coin).

Ex: Ponterio & Associates Auctoin#46 March 8, 1991, lot#68 "The Viceroyal Amat Collection of Latina American Colonial Coinage".

 

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