The "Cristobal Colon" gold set is one of the most popular gold sets for collectors of Costa Rican coins. All the denominations are commonly available, both in private sales and public auctions. As of November 2019, over 700 coins of this set with all the 4 different denominations appear in the NGC Census, which makes it by far the most slabbed gold set of Costa Rica. This set was originally authorized by the Government of Costa Rica in a Decree dated October 24, 1896 under the Rafael Yglesias Administration. The coins were minted both in San José and the Philadelphia Mint in the United States.
These coins have in the obverse the National Coat of Arms with the words "República de Costa Rica", as well as the date. On the Reverse, it appears the bust of Christopher Columbus, looking at the right side of the coins, with "RY" in a small print on the right of the chest of Columbus with the words "América Central" and the value in letters. The Diameter and weight of these coins is the following: ¢20 colones (27mm, 15.56 grams), ¢10 colones (21mm, 7.78 grams), ¢5 colones (18mm, 3.89 grams) and ¢2 colones (14mm, 1.55 grams).
Beside the slots of this series, it is known that for the 2 colones series, there was also a Proof Pattern dated 1897 with a mintage of only 500 coins. It is interesting to mention that the "Ley de la Moneda" of 1900 authorized the mintage of gold coins by private persons with the permit by the Secretary of the Treasury. According to Raul Gurdian (Contribución al Estudio de las Monedas de Costa Rica, 2nd edition 1997, page 154) and Emmanuel Barrantes Zamora (El Patrón Oro y el Bimetalismo en Costa Rica (1896-1920): sus contradicciones, that appeared in Nueva Historia Monetaria de Costa Rica de la Colonia a la decada de 1930, Editorial UCR, 2012, pages 235-236) , this permit was given to the ¢2 colones of 1915, 1916, 1921, 1922, 1926 and 1928, as well as to the ¢10 colones of 1900. The persons and banks that ordered this private mintage is detailed in the respective slot of each of these coins.
Finally, as for this specific set of coins that appear in this NGC Registry, 15 of the 17 coins have either the sole highest or tied to the highest grades given by NGC. The other two coins have the second highest grade. The pictures and the descriptions of each of these coins have been updated as of November 2019.
On January 2016, NGC awarded this set as one of the "Best World Sets" for 2015. For this award, NGC stated the following about this set: "This complete, 15-piece collection of Costa Rica’s “Cristobal Colon” gold coins spans the years 1897-1928 and includes four denominations ranging from two to 20 colones. The series was coined in either San Jose, Costa Rica or Philadelphia, USA. The grades of this collection are outstanding, and included are the only five coins of the series graded MS 67 by NGC (all five are two-colones pieces, and one date is duplicated). Among the highlights of this set are the 1899 and 1900 G10C coins, each grading MS 65, and the 1897 and 1899 G20C specimens NGC-certified as MS 64."
This set offers a complete run of denominations and dates for the Christobal Colon series of gold coins struck by or for Costa Rica from 1897 to 1928. While initially there were four denominations, only the two colones pieces were struck starting 1915. Each coin is presented with superb photos and commentary. The quality of the coins is outstanding, with all but two being either the finest certified or tied for that honor. Be sure to read the owner’s introductory essay, as it’s extremely informative.
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