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    Finest Known 1818 New Spain (Texas) Jola, AU58

    1818 1/2RL New Spain (Texas) Jola Half Real, Large Planchet AU58 PCGS. The Texas Jolas were made by José Antonio de la Garza of San Fernando de Bexar. While that locale may not ring a bell, its current name surely will: San Antonio.
    San Fernando de Bexar was the capital of Texas (then a province of New Spain) during the 1810-1821 War of Independence. Apparently, community leaders prevailed upon the Governor of the Province, Lt. Col. Manuel Prado, to authorize Manuel Barrera to coin 8,000 copper coins to facilitate commerce in March of 1817. No specimens are currently known.
    In May of 1817, Prado was succeeded by Antonio Martinez as Governor and Military Commander of the Province of Texas. In December of 1818, he granted the request of José Antonio de la Garza, the local postmaster, to mint 500 pesos worth of "small change in copper coins called Jolas, which shall circulate only through the town with values of one half of a real each." This amounts to 8000 pieces authorized. In a town with a population of about 2000 people, this could have had a significant impact on relieving the shortage of small change.
    The petition which was granted also stated that "these shall be engraved with the first letters of my name and surname and the year of this date." de la Garza was also required to redeem Barerra's coins issued the previous year in exchange for his own. Perhaps this exchange was so successful that no Barrera Jolas survived. While significant parts of the United States were at one point Spanish territory, the Texas Jola is a unique issue in that it is the only known Spanish colonial coin made in what is now the U.S.
    The de la Garza Jolas first came to the attention of collectors when one was sent to The Numismatist, which published a line drawing of the piece in 1903, but was unable to provide any information to its owner. A historian knew of them in 1892 but this knowledge didn't make it to numismatic circles for more than half a century. Meanwhile, the house in which de la Garza may have minted these coins was destroyed in 1912, so all information about this issue is likely to come from the coins themselves and documents in the Bexar Archives. It has been speculated that the star on the reverse was the inspiration for the "lone star" that became perhaps the best known symbol of Texas.
    In 1959, a group of about 60 specimens was discovered during some excavation along the San Antonio River. A few others have been discovered since, all or virtually all of which have been dug. Apparently they did not circulate long, so most are not greatly worn but, having been buried, most do show corrosion. It is likely that fewer than 100 exist, a number of which are in bank or museum collections.
    Not only are the Jolas rare, but they appeal to Colonial coin collectors, collectors of Mexican numismatics or Spanish Colonial issues, as well Texas numismatists no matter what their numismatic specialty. Even though these are very rare coins, several variations have been noted, including large and small planchet coins, and a number of different dies were used. The sideways fraction in the center of the obverse stands for 1/2 real, which was a familiar Spanish-Mexican coin of the time.
    This is by far the finest piece known of this rare issue. Most of the original luster remains and the devices are very sharply defined. The gray patina that is seen over each side has a significant reddish undertone on the obverse. The star on the reverse is especially well defined. As a Large Planchet variety, this is the finest certified by 18 grading points. An AU53 Small Planchet is known, that coin being the finest example known of that particular variety.

    Coin Index Numbers: (PCGS# 660)


    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2002
    9th-12th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,967
    Sold on Jan 12, 2002 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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