DescriptionRepublic 8 Reales 1820-JF MS62 NGC, Cundinamarca mint, KM-C6. Brilliant Uncirculated with remarkably clean, frosty surfaces and only the slight (and typical) strike weakness preventing the Choice technical designation. Extremely rare in this handsome quality, currently the single finest specimen certified at either NGC or PCGS and among the very finest seen by the cataloguer, this coin's desirability is also enhanced with its unusually early provenance, stated in the accompanying description written on the contemporary piece of paper folded around the coin as a proto coin envelope that carefully housed it from shortly after it was minted. The description reads as follows: "Dollar of the Republic of Columbia & Venezuela - General Bolivar Protector -This was obtained at Santa Martta (sic.) on the coast of South America April 1821 HM S Parker - This coin is not of pure silver these being 18 instead of 16 to a doubloon (sic.) but are payed by the Government of Columbia (sic.) as if they were as good as the Royal Spanish Dollar."
This rather remarkable document not only pedigrees this coin to the beginning of the year after it was struck (undoubtedly making it the earliest provenance known for a Cundinamarca 8 Reales), but also shows that as early as April of 1821 the recipient of this coin was aware of the debased nature of its metallic content. The indicated date of April 1821 bears a high historical significance since the 6-month truce of Santa Ana - signed by Bolivar and Royalist General Pablo Morrillo on November 26, 1820 - effectively ended on the 18th of that month, which in turn marked the beginning of the final phase of the independence conflict for Gran Colombia. The indicated contemporary exchange ratio of 18 of these "dollars" to the gold 8 Escudos instead of the usual 16 is a consequence of the slightly reduced weight of this issue. The reduction in intrinsic value would only increase by the issuance in the following years of coins with 0.666 fineness and the frozen date of 1821, but without assayer initials. This combined with its extensive circulation - since it provided the backbone of the circulating media of the nascent Republic of Gran Colombia results in this being the most difficult early Latin American Republican crown to locate in Mint State. A handsome historic relic from the Bolivar era of South America's War of Independence.
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