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Remarkable MS-66 Graded Popayan Mint 20 Pesos

By Chris Chatigny, Numismatist & Cataloger

Author: Chris Chatigny / Wednesday, August 01, 2018 / Categories: World Coin of the Week

This preview for the Stack's Bowers Galleries August ANA auction continues the trend of highlighting marvelous and desirable gold coins. From Colombia is offered an 1875 20 Pesos, the single finest certified example for all dates. An additional layer of interest is added by the distinguished provenance as this outstanding coin traces its pedigree to the R.L. Lissner and Norweb collections. The United States of Colombia (the penultimate government) produced this coin, with the obverse design featuring a left facing bust of Liberty wearing drapery and a headband (inscribed: Libertad). The date of 1875 appears below, with "Estados Unidos de Colombia" around, and stars below the date and bust. The reverse utilizes a legend offering the denomination, fineness, weight and mint location: "G(rams) 32,258" at left, "Veinte Pesos" at top, "Lei 0,900" at right and "Popayan" below. The field is dominated by the arms of the Republic of New Granada: A condor stands atop a shield, holding a laurel wreath. The shield is topped by a ribbon stating: "Libertad I Orden." The first of three sections of the shield depict two cornucopias at either side of a pomegranate; the left cornucopia is filled with coins, the right with fruit. The middle section contains a liberty cap suspended on a spear. The lower section displays the Isthmus of Panama with a ship sailing above and below. Despite the crudeness of its manufacture, which shows significant recutting in the legends and intermittent granularity over the surfaces, the quality is absolutely amazing, with an intense jewel-like sparkle in the fields and designs that remain mostly razor sharp. Inspection with a loupe confirms the Gem quality, as no signs of handling appear noteworthy even under magnification. It is almost certainly the finest extant and worthy of an exceptional Latin American cabinet.

While we are no longer accepting consignments for our August 2018 ANA Auction, we are accepting consignments for our October 2018 Collector's Choice Online Auction as well as the January 2019 New York International Auction. In addition, we are currently taking 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.