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    The First Republican Crown of Colombia and Venezuela

    Republic Mule 8 Reales 1820-JF VG8 NGC, KM-D7 (not plated!), Restrepo-156 ("rare"). A wholesome and attractive coin for the designation, free of major defects with all important detailing still quite sharp. Slight evidence of flan peeling on the reverse as often seen for this issue is essentially inconsequential and mentioned for accuracy's sake.  A very rare and historical one-year type unlisted in Elizondo with around 12 confirmed examples, muling the obverse die of "REPUBLICA DE COLOMBIA . 1820 ." (as in KM78) with the reverse "NUEVA GRANADA" (as in KM-C6). Many numismatists have wondered whether the existence of this type was fortuitous (meaning an accidental combination of dies belonging to two different series of coinage) or purposely made. It is in fact the latter, and as such, of extreme historical importance.  The motto was ratified by the Fundamental Constitution of Colombia proclaimed on December 17, 1819 under which the provinces of Venezuela and Nueva Granada were reunited under the new Republic. The proclaimed decree was sent by Bolivar from Angostura to Santander in Nueva Granada on the following December 20 and must have been received in early 1820. Article 5 specifically indicated that the new Republic would be "...divided in the Departments of Venezuela, Quito (anticipating the liberation of Ecuador which only happened after the battle of Pichincha in 1822) and Cundinamarca." The latter would comprise the territories formerly known as Nueva Granada, and "... this previous designation (of Nueva Granada) would be suppressed thereafter".  After receiving said decree, Santander was bound to strike coins with the aforementioned motto of "REPUBLICA DE COLOMBIA" for the new Republic and without the "NUEVA GRANADA" one (since that designation was no longer current). Obviously, the more important of the new dies to be prepared was the obverse one, with the Republican legend. Thus, coins of the present type were struck beginning in early 1820 (note that this chronology of events also explains why the 1820 date is much rarer than the 1819 one for the KM-C6 type, as correctly indicated by Restrepo but barely recognized elsewhere). After the Fundamental Constitution was ratified on February 12, 1820, the motto of "NUEVA GRANADA" also needed to be mandatorily removed from the issued coinage and replaced by the one indicating "CUNDINAMARCA". This date of February 12, 1820 is thus the terminus ante quem production date for the present type. Naturally, this provides a logical explanation for its great rarity (and, conversely, the abundance of the KM78 type dated 1820) since it was only produced for probably less than a month: its terminus post quem date of production must have been in early 1820 after the aforementioned law of December 17, 1819 was received and after the new dies with the REPUBLICA DE COLOMBIA motto were completed as noted previously. Moreover, the presence of a progressive breakage of the reverse die (starting on the "N" and crossing the pomegranate) on all examples of the present type seen by the cataloger points to further technical difficulties which can only have hindered its production even further.

    The hereby presented evidence allows us to conclude that the coins of the present type represent in fact the first Republican Crown for both Colombia (the previous type was struck by Nueva Granada and represents a local emergency issue) and Venezuela and as such, their historical importance can hardly be overestimated. The present, essentially unflawed, example should attract serious interest despite its low grade.

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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