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Ferdinand VII, 1/2 Escudo, 1814-1820, Circulation Issue, Abuelo's Collection

Category: Mexico
Set Type: Ferdinand VII, 1/2 Escudo, 1814-1820, Circulation Issue
Owner: Abuelo's Collection
Last Modified: 4/25/2018
Views: 267

Rank: 1
Score: 2966
Leading by: N/A
Points to Higher Rank: N/A
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Set Description:

The Spaniards were in Mexico for 300 years yet half escudos were minted only from 1814 to 1820. The idea of this set is to showcase the half escudos minted under the reign of King Fernando VII. These are small and rare yet beautiful coins.

Fernando VII was king of Spain twice, in 1808 after the abdication of his father king Carlos IV, and then from 1813 following the Napoleonic Peninsular War, until his death (1833). During his imprisonment by Napoleon, he was nicknamed "The Desired" (el Deseado) as Spaniards fought to restore him king and for independence. However, once he returned to the Crown, he suppressed the liberal Constitution of Cadiz (1812) and became an absolute monarch. During his reign, the vast majority of the American colonies were lost to independence, from Mexico to Chile.

The coin is 1.6917 g 0.8750 gold 15 mm diameter. The obverse: undraped bust of King Fernando VII to the right. Legend FERD . VII. D. G. HISP ET IND. R. [date]. The reverse: Within the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, the crowned coat of arms of Spain. Mintmark Mo to the left of collar and the JJ assayer’s initials to the right. Edge: Corded. KM#112, FR#57, BW#29.1. Assayers were Joaquín Dávila Madrid and José García Anzaldo (JJ).

In Lima, Peru, similar 1/2 escudos were minted from 1814-1821, and in Madrid, Spain, in 1817. The Madrid issue is the most common, whereas the Peruvian are perhaps the scarcest.

As far as the Mexican issues, the 1814 appears to be the commonest yet still is a rare coin.

What many consider one of the most important collections of Mexican coinage, the Pablo Gerber collection (Sprink America, December 1995), only included the specimens for 1814, 1815, 1816, and 1819. The Eric P Newman collection sold by Heritage only listed the 1815 specimen in its catalogue. The Eliasberg Collection included an 1814 example graded MS61 (NGC 1839220-144). The extraordinary Rudman collection of Mexican coins (sold by Heritage in August 2015) showcased a complete set of these coins as follows:

1814 AU55 NGC 2785456-001
1815 AU53 NGC 2785456-002
1815/4 AU58 (while the Collectors Society competitive set had an AU58, the sale had an MS61 NGC 2785456-003)
1816 AUD (Mount removed) NGC 2785456-004
1817 AU55 NGC 2785456-005
1818 AU58 (while the Collectors Society competitive set had an AU58, the sale had an MS61 NGC 2785456-007)
1819 AU55 NGC 2785456-008
1820 AU58 NGC 2785456-009

For the coins in this set, at the time of acquisition:
1814: there was only one coin graded higher for the 1814 in NGC (MS63) and none higher at PCGS.
1815/4: Raw
1815: there are 6 graded, including 2 at 53 and 3 at 55.
1816: the 1816 is top pop at both NGC and PCGS.
1817: N/A
1818: the 1818 is top pop at both NGC and PCGS and only this one graded by PCGS.
1819: Raw
1820: the 1820 is top pop at both NGC and PCGS (no specimens for that year graded by PCGS).

Making the difference between the 1815/4 and 1815 takes a bit of observation. On the 1815/4 coin the R before the date on the legend HIST ET IND R, is pointing to the neck of the bust; on the 1815 only the forward leg on the R is pointing to the bust. The diagnostic to make the difference comes at 10 o’clock. On the 1815 variety the legend FERD.VII.D.G. the dots between VII and D, and between D and G, are superscript, whereas in the 1815/4 variety are located at midlevel instead. Lastly, also in the obverse, in the 1815/4 the distance between the R and the date is less than in the 1815 variety. Of course, it is possible other varieties exist for the year.

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