World Coins: Margarita Island (Venezuela) 1810 4 Maravedis Coins

Posted on 7/17/2014

NGC recently certified four rare Margarita Island (Venezuela) 1810 4 Maravedis coins. The coins have been graded VF 35, Fine 12, VG 10 and VG 8.

NGC is proud to announce that it has now certified four of the six known examples of a Venezuelan rarity. The Margarita Island of Venezuela 1810 4 Maravedis coins represent not only a great numismatic rarity, but also the beginning of independence from Spanish rule.

On April 19, 1810, the fight for Venezuelan independence started when the province of Caracas rejected the authority of the Spanish Government. Soon after, Barinas, Barcelona, Cumaná, Mérida, and Trujillo joined the movement. On May 4, 1810, Margarita Island joined the movement and became the first province to issue its own coinage.

The coins, which were meant to symbolize independence and to commemorate the event, feature a canoe with three rowers wearing Margarita style hats. The canoe is in a raging sea with the sun or moon over the boat. The legend “MARGARITA PERLA PRECIOSA” translates to “Margarita Precious Pearl.” The reverse features the legend “DA FX DIA 4 DE MAIO 1810” around seven stars around the number 4. The seven stars represent the seven provinces that struggled for their independence and the legend can be interpreted to mean “federation decreed on day 4 of May 1810,” though others have interpreted it as “happy day 4 May 1810.” There have been arguments about the 4 representing either the date or the denomination, but both are likely to be true.

Margarita Island (Venezuela) 1810 4 Maravedis NGC VF 35
Click image to enlarge.

The coins were struck in copper and all known examples are heavily circulated and very crude in design and manufacture. While these coins have been known for years, they have often been overlooked since no public sales have occurred. It is unknown how many pieces were actually minted but of the six known examples traced today, two reside in public bank museum collections in Venezuela. Of the four known examples in private hands, 3 reside in the Gamboa collection and one other in another private collection. All four of the privately owned pieces are now graded and encapsulated by NGC in the following grades: VF 35, Fine 12, VG 10, and VG 8.

Margarita Island (Venezuela) 1810 4 Maravedis NGC F 12
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Margarita Island Province of Venezuela 1810 4 Maravedis NGC VG 10
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These rare coins from a very turbulent time in Spanish American history show the hopes and aspirations for the ideas of independence and self-government that the United States had fought for and won less than 35 years earlier. These coins reflect the idealism of Margarita sovereignty as well as the struggle for self-determination sought by all seven colonial provinces. While the coins have been cataloged as Venezuelan (since Margarita is now part of that nation), they have great overall importance for Spanish-American numismatics in general.

Margarita Island Province of Venezuela 1810 4 Maravedis NGC VG 8
Click image to enlarge.

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