The "Pesos" gold set is a very popular set for Costa Rican collectors. As of November 2016, over 200 coins in this set with all the 5 different denominations (1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 Pesos) have been slabbed by NGC. These coins were authorized in two different Decrees, the first Decree as of December 11, 1863, includes all the coins dated 1864 through 1871, including the 10 Pesos 1871 and 10 Pesos 1872 and the second Decree as of April 1, 1871, includes all the coins dated 1871 through 1876, including the “Un Peso” of 1871. All the coins for circulation were minted in the San Jose Mint and have the initials “G.W.” for the Assayer Guillermo Witting. The set spans the years from 1864 to 1876.
It is important to note that even though the Krause Catalog indicates the existence of a “1 Peso 1868”, which is referred as “rare” it has yet to be seen. None of the best collections known to this collector or that have been auctioned have had this coin. Also, NGC gives a slot to this coin, but it only grants one point for any and all grades. Most likely the coins minted in this year, were minted with dies of prior years.
These coins have in the obverse the National Coat of Arms on two branches joined in the lower part by a ribbon with the words "República de Costa Rica" and the date. On the Reverse, it has the value within two branches joined on the lower part by a ribbon with the words “America Central” on top and “21 Q” and “G.W.” on the bottom. The diameter and weight of these coins is the following: 20 Pesos (33mm, 32.258 grams), 10 Pesos (29 mm first decree, 27 mm second decree, 14.677 grams), 5 Pesos (22 mm first decree, 21 mm second decree, 7.333 grams), 2 Pesos (18mm first decree and 19 mm second decree, 2.935 grams) and 1 Peso (14 mm first decree and 13 mm second decree, 1.525 grams).
As for this specific set of coins that appear in this NGC Registry, many of them are either the finest known specimens or second finest known. Among the highlights of this set are the “2 Pesos 1867 MS 63”, “5 Pesos 1869 MS 63” and the “10 Pesos 1876 MS 63”, all being gem uncirculated with striking eye appeal. Also, the crown of the collection is the elusive and scarce “20 Pesos 1873 AU 58” which is tied to the third best grade in the NGC census.
This set has also a big variety of pedigrees coming from different magnificent collections that have either been publicly auctioned or privately sold, including coins from the Frederick Mayer collection (October 2008), from the Richard Lissner collection (August 2014) and recently from the collection that has been known to be the greatest Costa Rican collection ever assembled, the Richard Stuart Collection (October 2016). There are seven coins from the Stuart collection in this set that are the best graded coins for their respective denomination and year according to the NGC Census.