Description

    1817 New Spain (Texas) Jola, VF20
    R. GARZA Dies
    The First Public Offering
    An Unprecedented Opportunity

    1817 1/2 RL New Spain (Texas) Jola Half Real VF20 PCGS. Most American collectors are familiar with the 1818 New Spain (Texas) half real coins, called jolas, through their listing in A Guide Book of United States Coins, and in other colonial references. Although they were known to a small number of Texas collectors for several decades, the first widely publicized notice of the similar 1817 dated pieces appeared in The Paper Republic by James P. Bevill, published in 2009. Further details were published in "Lone Stars Rising, A Missing Numismatic Link," by Bevill and Alvin Stern in the May 2011 issue of The Numismatist. To the best of our knowledge, the two pieces in the present sale represent the first ever public offering of any 1817 jolas.
    In the early 1800s, Spanish missions included those at San Fernando de Bexar, Goliad, and Nacogdoches, the most successful settlements of the Texas interior. As daily activities bustled and commerce flourished, a shortage of small denomination coins caused a serious hardship, much as they did a few decades later in California.
    Manuel Pardo was the acting Spanish Governor in New Spain in early 1817, and he received authorization from Mexico City to produce copper coins known as jolas, worth a half real each. Pardo chose a local merchant and public administrator, Manuel Barrera to produce 8,000 of those coins. A public notice was issued, announcing the new coins and identifying Barrera as the coiner. A copy of that notice survives in the original Bexar archives. Those coins have the initials MB above 1/2 and 1817 on the obverse, with an incuse single star on the reverse, considered the first appearance of the Texas Lone Star symbol. The 1817 MB jolas are nearly identical to the 1818 JAG jolas in layout and design. The 1818 JAG pieces have been known since their discussion and first illustration in 1892 (L.E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas, San Antonio, Maverick Printing House, 1892).
    Governor Pardo soon turned his command over to Antonio Maria Martinez, who was the last governor of Spanish Texas, serving from May 27, 1817 to August 17, 1822. In December 1818, Martinez recalled the Barrera coins in favor of a new issue produced by Jose Antonio de la Garza. The recall notice was dated December 6, 1818, stating that de la Garza would receive the Barrera coins and replace them with his own for a period of 12 days. The recall of the older coins was probably intended to supply the metal necessary for the new issue. There was apparently an additional issue later in 1817, produced by R. Garza, as the current two pieces suggest. More about the varieties and authentication follows in the next lot.
    Deep green and ebony patina appears on both sides of this crudely produced copper coin. Only the top half of the 1817 date appears on the out-of-round flan. The planchet is wavy, probably as struck, although the actual production method is unknown. (PCGS# 559)


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2012
    2nd-5th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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