NGC Registry Updated NGC Registry

Collection Manager >

The Beginning, Dependability, and End of the Spanish Peseta

Category:  World Coins
Owner:  gherrmann44
Last Modified:  11/20/2019
The gallery tab shows only items with images. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
1 2 Next
Slot: Spanish Provisional Government 5 Peseta Pattern
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 5P 1868 GOBIERNO PROVISIONAL BRONZE
Grade: NGC MS 63 BN
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The use of persons on coins to represent a place or a concept dates back to ancient Greece. Copying the Greeks, the Romans used deified feminine personifications on their coins to represent the various regions of their empire. By utilizing those personifications in creative ways, their coins became tools to disseminate propaganda. Without an alternate means of mass communication, circulating coins were quite effective in spreading propaganda from one person to another.

The use of coins to manipulate a subjugated people continued during Hadrian’s reign as Roman Emperor (AD 117-138). For instance, the presence of Hadrian’s bust on the coin’s obverse and a deified personification on the reverse effectively raised Hadrian’s status to that of a god. Believing Hadrian to be a god, the people who feared him as such were more likely to be compliant. However, in Judea, this type of propaganda rarely worked because the Jews did not worship the Roman gods, much less the Roman emperor. This eventually led to Hadrian’s hatred and persecution of the Jews.

For the most part, Hadrian’s reign was a peaceful one with the exception of a major uprising in Judea. Furthermore, Hadrian had powerful allies in Rome to represent his interests and cover his back. These factors allowed Hadrian to travel extensively throughout the Roman Empire focusing on public works projects, and thereby solidifying his reign. Moreover, everywhere Hadrian went he issued coins to commemorate his visit and his public works projects. In doing so, the people of each region would be constantly reminded of Hadrian’s “benevolence” towards them.

The area of the Iberian Peninsula then known as Hispania, and today includes both Portugal and Spain enjoyed many privileges granted to it by the Roman Empire. Among those is an intricate network of roads, aristocrat status for the ruling class, numerous public works and construction projects, and a robust economy brought about by trade with Rome. Additionally, this area served as a training ground for the officers of the Roman army. Interestingly, Italica near Seville in Hispania is the recognized birthplace of both Hadrian and his predecessor, Trajan.

This brief history of Hadrian dovetails nicely into the allegorical context of the ancient coins issued during his extensive travels. The positions of the deified personifications on the coin are the key to understanding the various allegories. For example, a Judean coin issued after putting down the Bar Kokhba revolt (AD 132-135) shows a deified personification representing Judea standing before Hadrian pouring out libations from a patera (a shallow bowl) in honor of Hadrian. On a coin featuring Britannia circa AD 134-138, a subdued Britannia appears seated on a rock loosely holding an upright spear with a shield resting on the ground by her side. Interestingly, some historians are suggesting that she is actually sitting on Hadrian’s Wall signifying the defensive barrier built by Hadrian to protect Britain from the invading Scots.

On the ancient coin pictured in my collage with the 1868 5-Peseta pattern, Hispania appears in a reclining position holding a laurel branch signifying triumphant victory. The reclining position also represents something altogether different from the previous posts I described. For a person to be depicted reclining they had to be free. For it is only a free people who reclined at the table while the servants served them. Therefore, it seems that the allegory of this coin is Hispania’s reward for their loyalty to Rome.

Of all the regions in the old Roman Empire, there was perhaps none more influenced by Roman culture than Hispania. Now more than 1,700 years later, the lingering effects of Ancient Rome became apparent in the obverse devices of Spain’s new coins issued shortly after the Glorious Revolution of 1868 and the ouster of Queen Isabella II.

What seems to have been more a military coup than a revolution resulted in the establishment of a Spanish provisional government in the place of the deposed monarchy. Once in power, that government proceeded with the difficult task of forming a new and permanent government. This was to be no easy task, especially considering the rivaling political factions (liberals, moderates, progressives, Carlists, and republicans) sitting at the negotiating table.

Along with the provisional government came a new monetary system. Hailing back to the Roman use of coinage, Spain’s new coins needed to send a powerful message that would resonate with the Spanish people. Thus, in that the design features of the 5-Peseta pattern are almost identical to that of the ancient Hispania coin is no coincidence.

While the features on the reverse of the ancient Hispania coin and the obverse of the Spanish 5-Peseta pattern are nearly identical, the allegory of the 1868 5-Peseta is quite different. This starts with subtle differences in the obverse devices of the 5-Peseta pattern.

On the ancient coin, a reclining Hispania is holding a laurel branch and in doing so is freely giving glory to Rome and Hadrian. On the Spanish 5-Peseta pattern, a reclining Hispania is extending an olive branch of peace to a free people.
Slot: Spanish Provisional Government
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 1C 1870 OM
Grade: NGC MS 65 RD
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The Spanish 1-centimo coin is the lowest denominated coin of the peseta monetary unit whereas 100 centimos equal one peseta. This 1870 dated bronze coin weighs one gram and is 15mm in diameter. The mintage of this coin is 169,890,697. Despite the large mintage, mint-state specimens of this coin are very scarce.

Perhaps one explanation for the lack of mint-state coins is that it would be until 1906 before the 1-centimo would be minted again. It seems that the intention was for the original mintage of coins to circulate until they had worn sufficiently to justify another mintage. Certainly, a mintage as large as this is of sufficient numbers to meet the needs of Spain’s economy for quite some time. Furthermore, it is possible that these coins were not all minted in 1870. Eventually, the 1-centimo coin was demonetized on October 29, 1941.

As part of the financial reform instituted by the Spanish Provisional Government, all the mint facilities were to be closed and consolidated at the mint facility in Madrid. The usage of the 6-point star representing Madrid served as a mintmark until 1982. Starting in 1982 a “crowned-M” monogram became the official mintmark of the “The National Coin and Stamp Factory - The Royal Mint.”

Consequently, the 8-point stars on the reverse of this 1870 1-centimo coin denote that it was struck in Barcelona. The initials OM underneath the rampant lion represents Oeschger Mesdach & Company. Die cutters Oeschger Mesdach & Company were contracted by Spain to mint all the bronze coins of the Spanish Provisional Government in Barcelona.
Slot: Spanish Provisional Government
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 2C 1870 OM
Grade: NGC MS 63 RB
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The Spanish 1870 2-centimo bronze coin with a mintage of 115,869,000 weighs 2 grams and is 20mm in diameter. When the Spanish Provisional Government established the peseta as their monetary unit it was important that each coin minted have its intrinsic value tied to its weight. Thus, with the 2-centimos coin weighing twice as much as the 1-centimo, a person could exchange two grams of bronze for goods and services worth exactly two grams of bronze.

The obverse of the Spanish Provisional Government bronze coins gives the weight of the coin. The reverse of each bronze coin expresses that weight as a ratio in kilograms. Therefore, there are 1000 1-centimo, 500 2-centimos, 200 5-centimos, or 100 10-centimos coins in a kilogram of bronze. Finally, the coin's denomination on the reverse is equal to its weight on the obverse. This simple system of intrinsic value is just what was needed to instill public confidence in the peseta during the uncertain times of the late 1860s and early 1870s.

The initials L.M. underneath Hispania on the obverse of the 1 and 2-centimos coin represent Luis Marchionni as the designer of these two coins. On the 5 and 10-centimos coins is the first initial and full last name of Luis Marchionni. Similar to the 1-centimo, the 2-centimos coin would not be minted again until 1904 and like the 1-centimo coin, it was demonetized on October 29, 1941. The 2-centimos coin like all other bronze Spanish Provisional Government coins was struck under the auspices of die cutter Oeschger Mesdach & Company in Barcelona, Spain.

Oeschger Mesdach & Company based in Strasbourg; France provided engraving and coin manufacturing services for countries that did not have persons at their mint skilled in die-cutting. The following information about them is copied below from the February 1964 edition of the ANA magazine, “The Numismatist.”

OESCHGER, MESDACH & CO. Known as Eschger, Ghesquiere & Co., after 1881. Die-sinkers at Ter Kiele, Holland, and Biache (Pas-de-Calais) Paris. At one time owned private mints in Spain and executed many regular coins for that and other countries. Among the unofficial patterns, they claim responsibility for Cambodia 5 and 10 centimes engraved by Wiirden and the Bulgaria 10 santims of 1880 and 1887.
Slot: Spanish Provisional Government
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 5C 1870 OM
Grade: NGC MS 62 RB
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The bronze Spanish Provisional Government 1870 5-centimos coin is 25mm in diameter and weighs 5 grams. It has a mintage of 287,381,000. While it would not be until 1906 and 1904 before another striking of the 1 and 2-centimos coins, the 5 and 10-centimos coins were minted seven years later in 1877. After 1879, they would not be minted again until 1937 and 1940.

Why is there such disparity in the minting of the aforementioned coins? The answer isn’t economic because there were sufficient coins to meet public demand in 1877. However, I believe that they were needed in 1877 for political reasons.

Since the ascension of Queen Isabella II to the throne of Spain in 1933, her reign and in particular her line of succession in the House of Bourbon was constantly disputed. The first pretender to the throne was Isabella’s uncle, Carlos V.

Under the influence of Maria Christina, Isabella’s father King Ferdinand VII worked with the Cortes Generales (Spain’s parliament) to establish a family line of succession in place of the existing male-only line (Pragmatic Sanction of 1830). Since Ferdinand had no sons Isabella II become queen upon his death and her mother Maria Christina became regent.

Snubbed by this change in the law, Carlos V would never become king. This led to the first Carlist War (1833-1840) to depose Isabella II and make Carlos V the King of Spain. Supported by France, the United Kingdom, and Portugal this insurgency by the Carlists was repelled. The Carlists as a political party survived well into the 20th century.

After the exile of Queen Isabella II to France, House of Savoy, Amadeo I was appointed King of Spain on November 16, 1870. With his appointment, the Carlists saw an opportunity to claim the throne of Spain albeit by force. Hence the Third Carlist War (1872-1876). After a failure to effectively govern, Amedeo I abdicated his claim to the throne on February 11, 1873. This triggered the founding of the First Republic of Spain. Unfortunately, anarchy prevailed until Isabella II’s son, Alfonso VII was appointed King of Spain on December 29, 1874. With broad public support, the Carlists were effectively quashed.

The Basque Country and Catalonia were Carlist strongholds. It is in these regions that in 1875 the Carlist pretender to the throne Carlos VII issued his own 5 and 10-centimos coins proclaiming himself the legitimate king of Spain. These coins were of the same size and composition as the 1870 Spanish Provisional Government coins. With a 5-centimos mintage of 50,000 and a 10-centimos mintage of 100,000 these coins effectively circulated with the already circulating Spanish Provisional Government coins. For the most part, Carlos VII coins only circulated in the Basque Country. Some sources maintain that these coins were minted in Brussels. Yet other credible sources have that these coins were minted in the far northeast corner of Spain, in the autonomous Basque Country town of OÑATE.

Answering the claims of Carlos VII, Alfonso XII, reigning King of Spain oversaw the issuing of 5 and 10-centimos coins of his own. 1877-79 saw respectable mintages in the millions of both the 5 and 10-centimos coins. The reverse legends of both these coins read, “Constitutional King of Spain.” The obverse legends read, “Alfonso XII By the Grace of God.” Thus, these two coins left nothing to interpretation as to who was the legitimate king of Spain. Spain finally enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity leading up to the end of the 19th century.

While the legends on the Alfonso XII 5 and 10-centimos coins are standard legends used before the Glorious Revolution of 1868, it didn’t hurt to have Alfonso XII’s bust on millions of coins that everyone in Spain handled. To proclaim him the constitutionally appointed king on the face of the coin is the icing on the cake that Carlos VII could not claim.
Slot: Spanish Provisional Government
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 10C 1870 OM
Grade: NGC MS 64 BN
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The bronze Spanish Provisional Government 10-centimos coin is 30 mm in diameter and weighs 10 grams. It has a mintage of 170,088,104 and like all the other bronze coins were struck in Barcelona, Spain.

Once a dominant world power, Spain’s influence around the world and in Europe had already begun to decline by the beginning of the 19th Century. Napoleon's occupation of Spain early in the century led to a fierce war for independence by Spain’s nationalists. Seizing on the opportunity presented by Spain’s troubles at home, many of Spain’s new world colonies declared their own independence.

After the death of King Ferdinand VII in 1833, Queen Isabella II’s uncle, Infante Carlos, challenged her succession to the throne. This led to the First Carlist War (1833-39) between the followers of Carlos and those loyal to Maria Christina serving as Isabella IIs regent. In the end, the loyalty of Spain’s army to Maria Christina and Isabella II proved decisive in Isabella II staying on the throne.

By the middle of the century, there had already been a number of civil wars in the political struggle for control of Spain. When Isabella II came of age and began to govern, her capriciousness and ineptitude made her unpopular as a sovereign. This, in turn, led to the Glorious Revolution of 1868 and Isabella’s removal from the throne. Two years of anarchy followed before the appointment of Italian Prince Amadeo I of Savoy to the throne in 1870.

Amidst this political instability and national glum, Spain needed the proverbial so-called shot in the arm to give her hope. I believe the design features of this coin does just that. The obverse of the Spanish Provisional Government 10-centimos coin along with the other bronze coins features a matronly national personification of Hispania seated on the Pyrenees Mountains with her feet towards the Mediterranean Sea. Hispania appears holding an olive branch in her right hand while outstretching her left arm down towards the sea. This represents sovereignty and peace. The key to this coin’s allegory in 1870 is that the sovereignty of Spain resided more with the people as represented by Hispania rather than the customary monarch.

The reverse of this coin features a rampant lion with his front paws resting on a shield reminiscent of Spain’s ancient kingdoms. The top left quarter of the shield represents the Kingdom of Castile, the top right Leon, the bottom left Aragon, the bottom right Navarre, and the pomegranate at the bottom, the Kingdom of Granada. The lion represents royalty, bravery, strength, and power as he looks over his shoulder in a manner that indicates he is defending Spain against her enemies, thus signifying security.

Unfortunately, it took some time for the symbolism of this coin to become reality. In 1873 Amadeo I abdicated from the throne after asserting that Spain was ungovernable. The First Republic of Spain followed this government and lasted only 23 months. Finally, in a bit of irony, the House of Bourbon returned to the throne in the person of Isabella’s son Alfonso XII on December 30, 1874. During Alfonso’s reign, Spain finally entered into a period of peace and prosperity towards the end of the 19th century.

In summary, the imagery on coins has the power to move and inspire people by reminding them through daily commerce of their national pride and heritage. With such high mintages, it is likely that these coins passed through the hands of most Spaniards on a daily basis.
Slot: Spanish Provisional Government
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: PESETA 1869(69) SNM "GOBIERNO PROVISIONAL"
Grade: NGC MS 65
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
It is likely that the 1869 1-peseta is among the first coins struck by the fledgling Spanish Provisional Government. This is primarily due to two factors. One, it was struck in 1869 and two, it is the only coin to have the unique obverse legend, “GOBIERNO PROVISIONAL.” The legend on all ensuing issues of the silver pesetas is “ESPAÑA”. Furthermore, there are two small design features that only appear on this coin. The first feature is the stars on either side of the coins date. The other is a rabbit at the feet of a reclining figure of Hispania. Later in 1869, the legend of the 1-peseta coin was changed to “ESPAÑA” and the stars were moved to both sides of the legend. Lastly, the rabbit was removed from the design altogether.

The 1869 provisional government 1-peseta coin is 23mm in diameter with a silver fineness of .835 weighing 5 grams. The 1869 “GOBIERNO PROVISIONAL” peseta has a mintage of 7,000,000 and the 1869 “ESPAÑA” peseta has a mintage of 367,000. The two six-point stars on both sides of the date denote that this coin was struck in Madrid. The initials S.N. along the lower left rim of the reverse represents mint assayers Donato Álvarez Santullano and Rafael Narváez. The initial .M. along the lower right rim of the reverse represents balance judge Ángel Mendoza Ordóñez.

The obverse design features Hispania reclining on the Pyrenees Mountains in the east with her feet pointing towards the Rock of Gibraltar in the west. At her feet is a rabbit. These design features are reminiscent of an ancient Roman coin struck during the rule of Hadrian. Of note is that Hispania is in a reclining position on the Roman coin with a rabbit behind her. The symbology of the rabbit is ancient and disputed. There are many explanations for the rabbit but I will summarize what I feel is more likely.

When the Phoenicians discovered Spain around 800 BC the rabbit’s native to Spain reminded them of their native African hyraxes. Thus, they named the land, “The Isle of Hyraxes”. When the Romans translated Isle of Hyraxes to Latin it became Hispania. The etymology of Hispania is derived from the word “Hispan” or the son of Hercules. The Phoenician word “span” means “hidden or remote”. Hispania translated to English is Spain. Interestingly the Roman and Greek equivalents of “Hesperia and Hesperia Ultima” translates to the “last western land.”

This correlates to the “Pillars of Hercules” representing the Straits of Gibraltar on the reverse of this coin and the ribbons that proclaim Spain’s national motto “Plus Ultra.” Translated, “Plus Ultra” means “Further Beyond.”

In the end, I am delighted to own the first and last pesetas as the bookends to the entire history of the peseta. This 1869 “GOBIERNO PROVISIONAL” peseta at the front end of my collection and the 2001, 100 and 2000-pesetas picking up the rear with all points in between representing 132 years of peseta coins.
Slot: Spanish Provisional Government
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 2P 1870(74) DEM
Grade: NGC AU 53
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The 1870(74) 2-peseta coin minted in Madrid has a mintage of 14,892,932. It is 27mm in diameter with a silver fineness of .835 weighing 10 grams. The obverse initials L.M. underneath Hispania’s feet refer to engraver Luis Marchionni. The initials D.E. along the lower left rim of the reverse refer to mint assayers Eduardo Díaz Pimienta and Julio de Escosura Tablares. The initial .M. along the lower right rim of the reverse refers to balance judge Ángel Mendoza Ordóñez.

The central device on the obverse is an image of Hispania reclining against the Pyrenees Mountains with her right arm stretched out holding an olive branch. With the Rock of Gibraltar at her feet Hispania effectively spans all of Spain. To “extend an olive branch” across the land is to offer peace and reconciliation for all. This was especially important after a revolution. On Hispania’s head is a mural crown. As the feminine personification of Spain, the mural crown she wears establishes her as a tutelary deity or protectorate of the people she represents. The mural crown also appears in heraldry on the reverse of this coin. As such it has come to represent a republican form of government unlike that of an imperial or royal crown which represents a monarchy. Thus, with the mural crown over the coat of arms, it represents a republic of the five kingdoms of Spain or under a royal or imperial crown, the combined kingdom of the monarch.

The central device on the reverse is the Spanish Coat of Arms. The Spanish Coat of arms is representative of the five Spanish Kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula. The upper-left quadrant represents the Kingdom of Castile in the west region of Spain bordering Portugal and the North Atlantic Ocean. The upper-right quadrant represents the Kingdom of León in the northwest region of Spain on the Bay of Biscay. The lower-left quadrant represents the kingdom of Aragon in the southeast region of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea. The lower-right quadrant represents the Kingdom of Navarre in the northeast region of Spain bordering France. Finally, the pomegranate at the bottom of the arms represents Grenada in the southcentral region of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea. The borders of these kingdoms were very fluid throughout history. This was usually the result of one kingdom conquering or annexing another kingdom.

The large date on the obverse is the year of the coin’s authorization. The legend “ESPAÑA” is flanked by two six-point stars. Stamped into the stars is the coins date of manufacture. For example, this coin has the number “18” stamped into the star to the left of the legend. The star on the right has the number “74” stamped into it. Thus, the date of the minting of this coin is 1874. This system of dating coins allowed for the annual use of the same hubs and master dies with very minor changes to the working dies.
Slot: Spanish Provisional Government
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 5P 1870(70) SNM
Grade: NGC AU 55
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The 1870(70) 5-peseta coin minted in Madrid has a mintage of 5,923,455. It is 37mm in diameter with a silver fineness of .900 weighing 25 grams. The obverse initials L.M. underneath Hispania’s feet refer to engraver Luis Marchionni. The initials S.N. along the lower left rim of the reverse refer to mint assayers Donato Álvarez Santullano and Rafael Narváez. The initial .M. along the lower right rim of the reverse represents balance judge Ángel Mendoza Ordóñez.

The idea for the peseta which is Spanish for “small weight” was to bring Spain’s monetary structure into conformity with the Latin Monetary Union. The Latin Monetary Union was established on December 23, 1865, by the countries of France, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland. The purpose of the Latin Monetary Union was to standardize the currencies of the member nations so that each nation’s currency would exchange at parity in other member countries.

The Latin Monetary Union formally came to an end in 1927 as a result of several failures such as the bimetallic monetary system. Bimetallic monetary systems are based on a silver to gold ratio. In 1870 that ratio was 15.5 to 1. The main problem with this ratio was the constant market fluctuations in both the value of silver and gold that affected it.

Ultimately, Spain did not join the Latin Monetary Union. However, they enjoyed the benefits of having their 5-pesetas exchanged at parity with 5 French Francs, 5 Belgian Francs, 5 Italian Lira, 5 Swiss Francs, and 5 Greek drachmae. Greece was admitted to the Latin Monetary Union on April 18, 1867. The fineness of the largest silver coin was to be .900 as is the 5-peseta. For the minor silver coins, the fineness was to be .835 as is the 20 and 50 centimos and the 1 and 2-pesetas. This brought all of Spain’s silver coins into conformity with the Latin Monetary Union.

As with the bronze coins of the Spanish Provisional Government, the reverse legends of the silver coins express the weight of the coin as a ratio to a kilogram. Weighing 25 grams, there are 40, 5-pesetas coins, in a kilogram. By law (Spanish LEY), the reverse legend of the 1870 5-pesetas coin also displays a silver fineness of .900.

All the other Spanish Provisional Government minor silver coins have reeded edges. The 5-peseta, however, has an edge inscription of “Soberania Nacional” with five, six-pointed stars. In English, "Soberania Nacional" is translated, “National Sovereignty.” Thus, I believe it is likely that if the 5-peseta coin was to be equally traded in other countries at parity that the Spanish government would declare their national sovereignty to the world through their coinage.
Slot: Amadeo I
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 5P 1871(71) SDM
Grade: NGC AU 58
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The 1871(71) 5-peseta coin minted in Madrid has a mintage of 13,641,162. It is 37mm in diameter with a silver fineness of .900 weighing 25 grams. The obverse initials L.M. on the bottom edge of Amadeo I’s bust refers to engraver Luis Marchionni. The initials S.D. along the lower left rim on the reverse refer to mint assayers Donato Álvarez Santullano and Eduardo Díaz Pimienta. The initial .M. along the lower right rim of the reverse represents balance judge Ángel Mendoza Ordóñez. Like the1870(70) 5-pesetas coin, this coin also has an edge inscription. The inscription on this coin translates to “JUSTICE AND LIBERTY” delimited by six, six-pointed stars.

When the Spanish Provisional Government took over in 1868, Francisco Serrano, 1st Duke of la Torre became Regent of Spain. Initially rejecting a republican form of government, the Cortes Generales (Spain’s parliament) sought to appoint another monarch to the throne. Interestingly, the Cortes bypassed the Carlist pretender to the throne, Carlos VII. With the support of Spanish Prime Minister Juan Prim, the Cortes on November 16, 1870, elected Amadeo I to become Spain’s only king from the Italian House of Savoy. Reluctantly, Amadeo I accepted and was sworn in on January 2, 1871.

Almost immediately upon Amadeo I’s coronation there was trouble. The man who championed Amadeo I’s selection as king was assassinated upon his arrival in Spain. There were separatist uprisings in Cuba, political wrangling’s at home, republicanism, Carlists insurgencies, and an assassination attempt on Amadeo I and his wife. In the end, I believe that Amadeo I did his level best to govern but realistically he had stepped into a hornet's nest. Without public support for his reign Amadeo I abdicated on 11 February 1873 angrily declaring that Spain was ungovernable. Without delay, the First Republic came to power with Estanislao Figueras as its first president.

Interestingly, the only circulating coin featuring Amadeo I’s bust is the 5-pesetas coin. The coat of arms on the reverse features a royal or imperial crown over the arms. The arms representing the five kingdoms of Spain have a Savoy Cross over the arms in the middle and represents the Spanish monarchy from the House of Savoy. The obverse legend reads, “AMADEO I REY DE ESPAÑA.” Translated it reads, “AMADEO I KING OF SPAIN.”
Slot: Alfonso XII
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: G25P 1877(77) DEM
Grade: NGC AU 58
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
At the onset of the peseta in 1868 provisions were made for the striking of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 peseta gold coins. Of those, the 5 and 50-pesetas were never struck for circulation. Subsequent to the original authorization, the 25-pesetas coin was first authorized for circulation in 1876. The 1877(77) 25-pesetas coin has a mintage of 10,047,885. The gold 25-pesetas is 24mm in diameter with a gold fineness of .900 weighing 8.06 grams.

The central obverse device features a bust of Alfonso XII engraved by Gregorio Sellan whose initials G.S. appear on the lower rim of Alfonso XII’s bust. The obverse legend is roughly translated, “ALFONSO XII BY THE GRACE OF GOD.” The central reverse device features a crowned draped arms. The initials D.E. along the lower left rim of the reverse refer to mint assayers Eduardo Díaz Pimienta and Julio de Escosura Tablares. The initial .M. along the lower right rim of the reverse refers to balance judge Ángel Mendoza Ordóñez. The reverse legend is roughly translated, “CONSTITUTIONAL KING OF SPAIN.” There is also an edge inscription of 27 fleurs-de-lis in relief.

The central reverse device is the Spanish Royal Coat of Arms which follows the conventions of “Tincture in Heraldry.” Whereas the vertical lines represent red, the horizontal lines blue, the plain fields white, and the dotted fields, gold. Thus, the upper left quadrant of Castile is red. The upper right quadrant of León is white. The lower left quadrant of Aragon is alternating vertical gold and red stripes. The lower right background of Navarre is red. The field behind the pomegranate is white. Finally, there is a red shroud inside the royal or imperial crown over the Spanish Royal Coat of Arms. The escutcheon in the center of the arms with three fleurs-de-lis and a background of blue signified by the horizontal lines represent King Alfonso XII of the House of Bourbon. Collaring the central royal arms is the “Order of the Golden Fleece” given for chivalry of which all Spanish monarchs and a limited number of knights are members.

Alfonso XII was born on November 28, 1857, the oldest son of Isabella II. When his mother went into exile in France, he was almost 11 years old. While exiled in France, Alfonso studied in Vienna, Austria and later at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in England. On June 25, 1870, in Paris, Queen Isabella II officially abdicated and named her son Alfonso XII as her heir. After a military coup led by Gen. Martinez Campos, the First Republic of Spain fell on December 29, 1874, and so began “The Bourbon Restoration” in the person of Alfonso XII.

Spanish King Alfonso XII inherited all the problems Amadeo I faced but, in the end, successfully resolved most of them. The first issue he faced was the Third Carlist War. The Carlists maintained that Alfonso XII was not sired by Isabella II’s husband, Francis, Duke of Cádiz but a captain of the guard. This unsubstantiated allegation was never proved, nevertheless, the Carlists propagandized this rumor to fan the flames of rebellion for the Carlist succession to the throne.

Led into battle by Alfonso XII himself, the Carlist rebellion was quelled on February 28, 1876, and the pretender to the throne Carlos VII went into exile. A new constitution in 1876 began to turn things around in Spain leading to a resolution of the 10-year war in Cuba and socioeconomic growth in both Spain and her remaining colonies. To most Spaniards, Alfonso XII was thought of as a wise and benevolent king. Alfonso XII married Mercedes of Orléans on 23 January 1878. Sadly, she died some six months later of typhoid fever. On November 29, 1879, Alfonso XII married Maria Christina of Austria. Unfortunately, Alfonso XII died of tuberculosis at the early age of 27 on November 25, 1885. His unborn son Alfonso XIII was his heir and Maria Christina became his regent.
Slot: Alfonso XIII
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 2C 1904(04) SMV
Grade: NGC MS 64 RB
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The Spanish 1904(04) 2-centimo bronze coin has a mintage of 10,000,003, weighs 2 grams, and is 20mm in diameter. An incuse (04) inside a six-point star underneath the obverse bust of Alfonso XIII denotes that the coin was struck at Madrid in 1904. The initials of engraver B. Maura appear at the bottom left rim of Alfonso’s bust. The central device on the reverse is the Spanish Royal coat of arms with the date of authorization, 1904 underneath. The initials S.M. along the lower left rim of the reverse refer to assayers Arturo Sandoval and Miguel Martínez Fraile. The initial .V. along the lower right rim of the reverse refers to balance judge Remigio Vega Vega.

Alfonso XIII was born on May 17, 1886, becoming the King of Spain upon his birth. His mother Maria Christina of Austria served as his regent. Just days after his birth he was baptized wearing a golden fleece for chivalry. By virtue of his royal birth, Alfonso XIII automatically became a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. On May 31, 1906, Alfonso XIII married Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg.

As Alfonso XXIII grew up, so did the coins that bear his image. Alfonso XIII’s first coin introduced in 1888 portrayed him as a toddler and then in 1892 as a kindergarten-aged child. About 1896, he appeared as a pre-teen boy and in 1904 as a young man dressed in a military uniform. The coin bearing his 5th portrait dated around 1911 shows him as a man and on his 6th and final coin in 1926, he appears as a mature man of about 40 years.

There were a number of events that led to the ouster of Alfonso XIII as King of Spain in 1931 to end the “Restoration-Era” of the Bourbon Dynasty. The first, under Regent Maria Christina, was losing the 1898 Spanish-American War. As a result of that war, Spain lost Cuba, Puerto Rico, Gaum, and the Philippines. Losing this war was a national disaster both psychologically and economically.

From his 1902 coronation on his 16th birthday, Alfonso XIII became very active in the affairs of the Spanish parliament. This had a destabilizing effect on the Constitutional Monarchy of Spain. During World War I, Spain remained neutral but offered aide to the prisoners of war. From 1920 to 1926 Spain engaged in an unpopular war to retain a colony in Northern Morocco. As a result of the war, Alfonso XIII acquired the nickname “Alfonso the African.”

Perhaps the biggest miscue of Alfonzo’s reign was hitching his wagon to the likes of dictatorial Prime Minister Miguel Primo de Rivera (In office 1923-1930). Under his administration, Miguel Primo de Rivera with the full backing of Alfonso XIII suspended the constitution and put the country under martial law. Several of the reforms Prime Minister Primo de Rivera initiated didn’t help the people he intended. Eventually, he lost the support of the king and the military and resigned.

Economically, the peseta was pegged to the gold standard which caused it to lose half its value by 1931. This combined with a poor economy and a burgeoning deficit finally took its toll on the monarchy. For Alfonso XIII in 1931, it was too late for him to make amends as he could not separate himself from the hand-picked prime minister that he so often sided with. Eventually, he too lost the backing of the military and was forced to abdicate after a republican referendum on the monarchy. On April 14, 1931, Alfonso XII went into exile in Rome as the Second Spanish Republic assumed power.
Slot: Spanish 2nd Republic
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 50C 1937(36) KM-754.2
Grade: NGC MS 65 RD
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The 1937(36) Second Spanish Republic bronze 50-centimos coin struck in Madrid has a mintage of 1,000,000. It is 23mm in diameter and weighs 5.8 grams. The main device on the obverse of the 1937(36) 50-centimos is identical to the obverse of the 1933(34) 1-peseta coin. It features Hispania seated on a plinth holding an olive branch. The reverse features a circle of beads encircling the number 50 centimos. The engraver of the coin is José Eusebio Espinós Gisbert.

There are two major reverse die varieties of this coin. The first KM-754.1 has round beads encircling the reverse number 50 centimos. The second, KM-754.2 has square beads encircling the number 50 centimos. There is yet another variety to this coin and that is the authorization date without the six-pointed stars on either side. These star-less coins are considered to be date-less. It is interesting to note that the year of manufacture (1936) is earlier than the year of authorization (1937).

The Second Spanish Republic coming to power on April 14, 1931, started governing with the best of intentions. Their first task was to craft a new constitution. While this constitution permitted the democratic values of freedom of speech and women’s suffrage, people used the freedom of religion clause to persecute the Catholic Church.

During the period of time leading up to the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the political environment of Spain was in a constant state of flux. With different political coalitions coming to power on a regular basis it seemed like anarchy ruled the day. This combined with high unemployment, poverty, and a poor economy, the landscape was ripe for a civil war. A coup attempt against the Second Spanish Republic was effectively repelled on July 17-18, 1936. However, the republic was severely weakened and ultimately failed to fend off the rise of nationalism under fascist dictator Francisco Franco.

Sometimes the Spanish Civil War is referred to as, “The dress rehearsal for World War II.” This given how the battle lines were drawn was not a difficult argument to make. On the side of the republicans were the Spanish provinces Basque Country and Catalonia with foreign support from the Soviet Union, Mexico, and France. On the side of the nationalists were the Carlists, Renovación Española which advocated for the return of Alfonso XIII to the throne, and the FET y de las JONS (political party of Francisco Franco) among others. Direct foreign support came from Nazi Germany and Italy. Indirect support came from Portugal and diplomatic support from the Holy See.

In the end, the Second Spanish Republic fell to the nationalists and Francisco Franco came to power as Spain’s dictator on April 1, 1939. The government of the Second Spanish Republic went into exile in Mexico where it maintained an embassy. It officially disbanded in 1977 after the death of Francisco Franco and the introduction of democracy by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
Slot: Spanish 2nd Republic
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: PESETA 1933(34)
Grade: NGC AU 58
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The 1933(34) Second Spanish Republic 1-peseta struck in Madrid has a mintage of 2,000,000. The 1933(34) weighs 5 grams with a silver fineness of .835 and is 23mm in diameter. The obverse features an image of Hispania seated on a plinth holding an olive branch. The legend reads The Republic of Spain. The reverse features the same coat of arms used by the Spanish Provisional Government and the denomination of the coin is 1-peseta. The engraver of the coin is José Eusebio Espinós Gisbert.

Over time the intrinsic value of coins worldwide became more valuable than the face value of the coin and the peseta was no exception. There are several factors that contribute to this phenomenon including inflation, government devaluation, and the gold standard. The United States has not issued circulating gold coins since 1933 and silver coins since 1964 (1970 for half-dollars). In Spain, there was a token striking of the 20-pesetas gold coin in 1904. The silver 5-pesetas as the highest denomination silver coin saw its final mintage in 1899. Many of these coins were demonetized by 1939 after the Spanish Civil War.

Except for a select number of 2000-pesetas coins, the last day to day circulating silver coin was the 100-pesetas coin of 1970. Comparing apples to apples, the 1897 .900 fine gold 100-pesetas weighs 32 grams while the 1970 .800 fine silver 100-pesetas weighs 19 grams. The AGW of the gold 100-pesetas is .9334 oz. and the ASW of the silver 100-pesetas is .4887 oz. On December 31, 1970, the 1897 100-pesetas gold coin in U.S. dollars is intrinsically worth $34.89 and the 100-pesetas silver coin is worth 80 cents. This represents a 97.7% loss in the intrinsic value of the peseta from 1897 to 1970. This was not unusual to Spain as now practically every country in the world works on the fiat money system or in other words the “full faith” of government.

The Second Spanish Republic 1-peseta coin authorized in 1933 and minted in 1934 is the last coin to be struck using the 1869 Spanish Provisional Government specifications and denominations for precious metal coins. For 65 years this standard has stood the test of time and now there was no turning back. The first peseta struck after 1934 also under the Second Spanish Republic is the 1937 peseta struck in brass with the same size and weight of the 1934 coin. Both the 1934 and 1937 pesetas were demonetized by the Nationalist Franco Government after the Spanish Civil War in 1939.

Granted, the striking by the Second Spanish Republic of the 1934 silver peseta was probably politically timed to instill public confidence in the government. However, while the peseta may have been stable, the government was not and a bloody civil war could not be averted.
Slot: The Spanish Civil War
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: PESETA 1937 EUZKADI KM-1
Grade: NGC MS 65
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The 1937 Euzkadi (Basque Country) 1-peseta coin minted in Brussels, Belgium has a mintage of 7,000,000. The coin is struck in nickel, weighs 4 grams, and is 22mm in diameter. The obverse device portrays a bust of Lady Liberty wearing a Phrygian Cap. The legend, “GOBIERNO DE EUZKADI” is properly translated, “Government of Basque Country.” The AB monogram underneath the obverse bust is for engravers, A. Bonnetain and A. Everaerts. The reverse device features a closed wreath with the value 1 peseta and the date 1937 in the middle. On April 1, 1939, the day the nationalists took Spain and the civil war ended, the 1937 Euzkadi 1-peseta was demonetized.

Catalonia and the Basque Country have enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy in the Spanish Kingdom. As such, they supported the republicans in the Spanish Civil War against the nationalists led by Francisco Franco. Furthermore, like the other autonomous belligerents in the Spanish Civil War, they issued their own coins. The 1937 1-peseta is one of those coins.

The Spanish Civil War lasted from 1936-1939. Having failed to take the City of Madrid early in 1936, the nationalists set their sights on the softer targets of republican resistance. This strategy made the Basque Country situated in far northeast Spain a prime target considering the natural resources vital to the war the Basque Country controlled. The Basque Country finally fell to the nationalists in October of 1937.

On April 26, 1937, the German Condor Legion of the Luftwaffe mercilessly bombed the small Basque Country town of Guernica. The German “terror bombing” of this small town of 7,000 lasted almost two hours and destroyed three-quarters of the town killing hundreds of people. The nationalists moved in shortly thereafter with no resistance cutting off republican retreat in the nationalist battle for the strategic city of Bilboa. For Francisco Franco’s German and Italian allies, the Spanish Civil War became an insidiously brutal laboratory to hone evolving military strategies. The bombing of Guernica helped Nazi Germany develop what would later be called, “the blitzkrieg.” The bombing of Guernica also became the subject of an anti-war protest Picasso entitled “Guernica”. The painting was exhibited at the 1937 Paris International Exhibition.

Sometimes what is needed most in distressing times are momentary distractions from the day to day realities of life. Sports can provide such a distraction. In times of war, sports teams can also become ambassadors of goodwill. Such was the case with the national Basque Country football (soccer) team. Strangely, while the bombs were falling in Guernica the Basque Country Football Team was playing soccer in France. As the war wore on the team helped to increase worldwide awareness of the atrocities of the war occurring in their homeland. The team also supplied an income to the Basque Country to help refugees flooding into their country. The huge numbers of refugees are an often-hidden tragedy of war. The Basque Country football team played their last match to a 4-4 tie in Paraguay on June 18, 1939. After their final game, they disbanded and were paid 10,000 pesetas to start new lives wherever they could since many of them did not want to return to a Spain ruled by Francisco Franco.

https://thesefootballtimes.co/2019/10/14/when-the-basque-national-team-finished-second-in-the-mexican-league/
https://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.jsp
Slot: Francisco Franco
Origin/Country: SPAIN 1848 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 5P 1957(65)
Grade: NGC MS 65
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The 1957(65) 5-pesetas minted in Madrid has a mintage of 25,000,000. This copper-nickel coin weighs 5.75 grams and is 23mm in diameter. The central obverse device features a bust of Francisco Franco. The year of authorization is 1957 and the legend is translated, “FRANCISCO FRANCO LEADER OF SPAIN BY THE GRACE OF GOD.” The obverse engravers are Manuel Marin and Mariano Benlliure. The central reverse device features St. Johns Eagle with a Spanish Coat of Arms. St. Johns Eagle is known by the halo around the eagle’s head. The reverse legend on the ribbon held by the eagle’s beak is translated, “One, Great and Free.” The reverse legend on the ribbon crossing Hercules Pillars is translated, “Further beyond.” On this piece the word “Plus” over the left pillar is unreadable. This defect appears mostly on coins struck before 1968. The denomination of the coin is 5 PTAS and the reverse engraver is Teodoro Miciano. The “65” stamped six-point star to the left denotes that the coin was manufactured in 1965 and struck in Madrid. Additionally, there is a die clash of the obverse date "195" visible on the reverse just above the number five.

The loss of life at the end of the Spanish Civil War was staggering. This for a war that in the end amounted to a war fought by the nationalists to preserve Spain’s religious institutions against the anti-Catholic government of the Second Spanish Republic. Make no mistake, just underneath the surface was Nazi Germany on the side of the nationalists fighting against the atheistic Soviet Union on the side of the republicans. Either of these two sides would have made Spain a puppet state. Ultimately though, the Soviet Union was denied a strategically critical western state by a nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War. The loss of Germany in WWII preserved the nationalist state for Francisco Franco that was living under martial law up until 1948, nine years after the end of the civil war.

By the numbers the loss of life was staggering. 500,000 people were killed and of that number, an estimated 200,000 people were killed by mob violence. All total, 150,000 republican prisoners of war were put to death. Several million Spaniards were displaced and 500,000 republican refugees fled to France. Of that number 15,000 were sent to Nazi forced-labor concentration camps after France fell to Germany in 1940. In Spain, more than 500,000 people were rounded up and dispersed to 60 concentration camps. Of note, 7,000 Catholic priests and monks were killed by republican forces primarily at the beginning of the war.

In a war where there was no clear right and wrong side, the nationalists brought stability to a fractured government, albeit by a heavy hand. Today there are still those who revere Francisco Franco while at the same time there are others who still feel the pain of persons lost so long ago. Of those that revere General Franco, they remember that crime and unemployment were low under his rule. They felt secure under his leadership. In their minds, they gladly traded the freedom of speech, freedom of self-determination, freedom of expression, and other liberties westerners take for granted for security.

Francisco Franco was a shrewd and opportunistic leader. As time went on General Franco somewhat loosened his authoritarian and militaristic grip on the people of Spain causing his popularity to grow. Francisco Franco also restored the Bourbon Dynasty in the person of Juan Carlos I while he effectively became Spain’s regent for life. Furthermore, one cannot forget how the nationalists restored the Roman Catholic Church to a place of prominence in Spanish society.

I read an opinion piece entitled, “Franco’s Victory Was Necessary But, Ultimately Meaningless.” In it, the author wrote of the waning influence of the Catholic Church in Spain’s culture. What the Second Republic could not do by force, time and culture has done by attrition. While I am not a Catholic, the church has served as a moral compass in society that is largely missing today.

The aforementioned piece also talks of the recent exhuming of Francisco Franco’s body from the Valley of the Fallen to the Franco family mausoleum outside Madrid. The Valley of the Fallen is a memorial gravesite to the fallen soldiers of the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Supreme Court had just ruled that the prime minister of Spain could move Franco’s remains. This was based on the fact that Francisco Franco had not died in the civil war and that he caused the civil war. Perhaps for some, there can be closure and healing while for others an affront. The remains were moved on October 24, 2019.

Through political instability, war, peace, economic growth, economic depression, and devaluation the Spanish Peseta has always been there for Spain safe and secure. Even in the most difficult of times, the peseta has been better off than many other of the world’s currencies. In Spain, the Euro has some pretty big shoes to fill.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/francos-victory-was-necessary-but-ultimately-meaningless/
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/spanish-civil-war
https://www.npr.org/2019/10/24/773022042/spain-moves-dictator-francisco-francos-remains-after-months-of-legal-battles
1 2 Next

To follow or send a message to this user,
please log in