Here I go again, just as I got started on a new collection with a narrow scope, things began to get out of hand and now I am now faced with a giant. Is there a cure for my collecting obsession? Do I want to be cured? Probably not and hence my dilemma as the scope and of necessity, the expense expands. Oh, how I love it!
As I previously wrote I intended to start a new set based on the 1869-70 coins of the Spanish Provisional Government. I thought this would be easy because I already owned most of the coins. As I began researching my new collection it expanded to include the entire history of the peseta as I will summarize towards the end of this post.
As of today, I don’t know why this topic captivates me but it does. Perhaps the key to knowing this is in how Spaniards view their own coinage. Consequently, the title of my new set has changed to, “The Birth and Durability of the Spanish Peseta.” I am posting a link to my new set with the coins I currently own plus an upgrade of the 1870(70) 5-Peseta and a new purchase of the 1869(69) 1-Peseta. Incidentally, the 1-Peseta will be the cornerstone coin of my new collection.
The 19th Century saw the decline of Spain as a world power. By the mid 1820’s Puerto Rico and Cuba were all that remained of Spain’s colonies in the America’s. And in Cuba a war for independence from Spain was looming (Ten Years’ War 1868-78). Much of Spain’s Queen Isabella II’s reign (1833-1868) was plagued by politically motivated uprisings and scandals. To make matters worse Queen Isabella II proved to be incompetent as a ruler. This all came to a head in 1868 with, “The Glorious Revolution” ending in the exile of Queen Isabella II to France.
Following the revolution, a provisional government was put in place to restore order and form a new government. Many of the political reforms under consideration included financial reform. On October 19, 1868, Minister of Finance, Don Laureano Figuerola modernized Spain’s currency according to the standards set by the Latin Monetary Union. Gone were the escudos, pesos, reales, and maravedi’s of the past and in were the decimalized currency of pesetas and centimos, whereas 100 centimos equal 1 peseta.
From 1868-2002 Spain has been governed under two republics, four monarchs, and a dictator as a result of a civil war. Through all this turmoil the peseta has survived for 134 years until 2002 when Spain adopted the euro as their national currency.
Perhaps with all this history in mind is why the Royal Mint in Madrid, Spain posted the following concerning the sunsetting of the peseta in 2002 on their website. “The currency is a faithful reflection of history. Within its small dimensions all the coordinates of the moment in which it was coined are enclosed and is always an inexhaustible source of information. The aesthetic, political, religious conceptions and the economic situation of the people are indelibly reflected in these small metal discs. Therefore, the 134 years in which the peseta has spent in the economy of Spain have seen transcendental events happen in the conformation of what is now the life of the Spaniards. Kings, artists and conquerors have passed through the hands of the citizens; The peseta has become a key piece of popular iconography: longed for, hated, idolized ... in short, the history of the peseta is, in large part, the history of Spanish men and women entering the modern world.”
With my post are some of the pictures of my most recent purchases. The first is a commemorative set issued at the sunsetting of the peseta featuring the original 1869-70 design. The other is an NGC MS-65 1869 one peseta coin. Gary.