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Chile solicita cuños a Estados Unidos en 1866 (en inglés)

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Chile solicita cuños a Estados Unidos en 1866 (en inglés)

Mensaje por gauke el Dom Jun 24, 2012 6:50 pm

Hola, les dejo un "reportaje" (en inglés, y bastante extenso) que encontré muy interesante. Primero da una pequeña reseña histórica de la Casa de Moneda y de la acuñación de monedas en Chile, y luego habla sobre la solicitud de cuños que hizo Chile a Estados Unidos en 1866, debido a que los que hacían allá eran de mejor calidad que los nacionales.




In the late 1730s there was increasing agitation in the Spanish colony of Chile for its own mint. A wealthy and civic-minded individual, Francisco Garcia de Huidobro, offered in 1741 to fund the establishment of a mint in Santiago if he was allowed to offset the cost by retaining all profits. King Phillip V accepted the proposal in 1743. After several years of preparation the first coins – gold 4 escudos – were struck on Sept. 10, 1749.

The Spanish government later decided that it should not have made the original arrangement and in 1770 seized the mint as royal property, though reimbursing de Huidobro. A new mint building was begun in 1783 though not finished for some years. Over the next several decades the Santiago Mint produced a steady stream of gold and silver coins for the southern part of the continent.


The upheavals in Europe caused by the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century presented the upper classes in Spanish America with the chance to break free of Spain. Revolts broke out in several areas as early as 1810, while Spain had its back to the wall in Europe.

In Chile the revolt also erupted in 1810 but Spanish retaliation against the rebellion was swift and severe. By late 1816, however, the rebels had seized control of nearly all of the modern-day country except for the area immediately around Santiago.

In early 1817, as Spanish power crumbled under the rebel onslaught, the mint at Santiago struck its last imperial issues. Revolutionary leaders seized the mint shortly afterwards and proceeded to strike their own coinage with designs thought appropriate to the newly found national freedom.

This “freedom,” however, was illusory at first because rebel leader Bernardo O’Higgins promptly made himself dictator and the Chilean people had simply exchanged one master for another. In 1823 O’Higgins was forced out of power and a popular civilian government appeared in Chile for the first time.

The Santiago Mint continued to strike coins for Chile from 1817 but the population was relatively small and coinages were not all that heavy. At first the mint coined mostly the silver 8 reales (dollar) and gold 8 escudos; a lack of new dies meant that some of the old Spanish dies for lesser denominations were used for a year or two under O’Higgins.

One of the curious features of the first silver coinage in 1817 was the vignette of an active volcano. This was perhaps meant to symbolize the revolt that had just succeeded, the ashes spewing from the top of the volcano referring to the Chilean people escaping from Spanish control.

At first there was a variety of designs on the Chilean coins but in June 1834 a national coat of arms was adopted. It consisted of a montage featuring a condor to the right and huemul (a species of large native deer) on the left, all surrounding a five-pointed star. Each animal bears a naval crown while surmounting the whole is a three-feathered plume. The full coat of arms first appeared in 1835, on the 8 escudos gold coin, equivalent to $16 in United States gold coin.

The coat of arms was also on the silver but in a different form. Here the condor bird was separated from the other parts and appeared on the obverse. The condor normally was shown with its feet breaking the chains of Spanish tyranny though there were no doubt local wits who thought that this applied to O’Higgins as well.

A third major staple of Chilean coinage design was the female figure representing the Republic. Her right hand rests on the 1833 Constitution and sustains it by this action.

The Chile of the 1840s was a nation in ferment as separatist movements arose and came close to toppling the national government two different times. The nation underwent economic upheavals on a regular basis during this era, the root cause of the political problems.

The economic difficulties of the late 1840s may have prompted a change in the monetary system. By a series of laws passed in January and March 1851 the old Spanish system of coinage, on the real and escudo standards, was scrapped in favor of the decimal form, there now being 100 centavos in a peso; the peso, however, was simply the new official name for the old 8 reales. Both silver and gold coins appeared in 1851 on the new standard.

Although there were now new denominations used by the people, the old Spanish nicknames for some of the coins remained in use. The five peso gold, for example, was referred to as a “doblon” (2 escudos) while the gold 2 pesos was called an “escudo.” Not all of the names were old: the 10-peso gold was called a “condor” after the bird that appeared on the coin; this was quite similar to the United States where the $10 gold coin was called an “eagle.”

In the 1850s and early 1860s the engraving staff at the Santiago Mint experimented with various designs but without much success. This was done in response to a growing public and official dissatisfaction with the quality of the die work, considered too crude by many.

In 1862, during the American Civil War, the American public suddenly hoarded all of the silver coins that could be found. For reasons that are not quite clear, many of these coins, especially half dollars, were sent to Canada, Central America, and even as far south as Chile, where they were used in everyday commercial affairs.

The presence of the United States half dollars caused Chileans to examine their coins to determine if the Santiago Mint was producing a satisfactory equivalent. By 1865 the products of the home mint were judged inferior to the U.S. coins and government officials decided that steps had to be taken to correct the situation.

The coins of the United States were considered to be of the best quality seen to date and in early 1866 the Minister of the Treasury in Santiago instructed Chilean Chargé d’Affaires F.S. Asta Buruaga in Washington to sound out the Americans about preparing improved coinage dies. Buruaga called at the U.S. State Department and requested permission to deal directly with the Treasury, which was promptly granted.

In late February 1866 Buruaga met with Treasury Secretary Hugh McCulloch and explained what his superiors in Chile had in mind. McCulloch was sympathetic to the request and furnished him with a letter of introduction to Chief Engraver James B. Longacre at the Philadelphia Mint. The Chargé went to see Longacre in the first week of March.

Buruaga spent several hours with Longacre and several topics were discussed. The first item of business was a careful examination of the engraver’s department as well as the equipment used in making the dies. At the end of the interview the two men agreed on a tentative price for the work, which was to include dies and hubs for five silver and four gold coins, nine denominations in all. It was made clear by the chief engraver, however, that the work was contingent on obtaining written approval from Secretary McCulloch.

Longacre felt that the Treasury permission would easily be obtained as Chile was a sister republic and on good terms with the United States. There had been, however, an unpleasant incident in the mid 1850s in which Longacre had engraved dies for the Navy Department (the Ingraham medal) and had been paid $2,200 outside of his regular salary. The Treasury got wind of the arrangement, however, and forced Longacre to return all of it due to an obscure law that made such payments illegal.

Longacre and Buruaga made joint application to the Treasury, thinking that a polite request by a friendly government would be quickly honored. The request went to Secretary McCulloch who agreed in principle but thought that he ought to ask Mint Director James Pollock in Philadelphia for his views, as a matter of courtesy.

It turned out that Longacre had not informed Pollock of the tentative arrangement, apparently because McCulloch had already agreed informally to the project. Unexpectedly, Pollock threw cold water on the idea on the grounds that Longacre had no legal right to use Mint property to do work for a foreign government. The director then suggested that another engraver be hired, one having no connection with the Mint.

Secretary McCulloch was surprised by the answer as he thought that Pollock would be accommodating on the project. Nevertheless, he accepted Pollock’s suggestion about an outside engraver and so informed Buruaga of his decision. Buruaga then notified his government by telegraph and the return answer was that he should make the best arrangements possible under the new circumstances.

The Chargé then wrote Longacre to inform him of the Treasury’s edict and the response by the Chilean government. The chief engraver thus learned of Pollock’s opposition to the arrangement and was not pleased by what had transpired. Longacre wrote back to state that Pollock was not qualified to superintend anything connected with die work as the director had no technical background by which to judge such matters.

Under the new circumstances Longacre notified Buruaga that it would be necessary to hire an outside engraver who would do the work under careful supervision. According to the chief engraver there was only one private engraver in the United States capable of such work but he was tied up on another project for the time being.

The original agreement of March 1866 regarding costs has not been found but the new one of June 1866 called for a payment of $10,000 for nine sets of dies and hubs. (There were four gold coins – 10 pesos, 5 pesos, 2 pesos, and 1 peso – and five silver coins – 1 peso, 50 centavos, 20 centavos, 10 centavos, and 5 centavos.) Of this sum, $1,000 was set aside to pay for the necessary detailed drawings, meaning that $1,000 was to be charged for each set of hubs and dies.

Longacre asked that he be given a certain amount of leeway in interpreting the designs if thought necessary. Sometimes, for example, coins do not strike up well if the relief is too high on opposite sides of the coin. The chief engraver also stipulated that the work, although done outside the Mint, would be of the same high quality as that currently done at Philadelphia.

At this point Longacre notified Buruaga that the prospective engraver was Anthony C. Paquet, formerly an assistant engraver at the Mint. Paquet prepared dies for several Latin American countries, including Peru in 1863 and Bolivia at a later date. He was also responsible for several acclaimed medal dies done for the United States government. Buruaga agreed to the new terms and a formal contract was signed in late August 1866. Longacre pointedly kept Pollock out of the loop.

In an odd sense of timing, the opposition by Pollock suddenly dissolved in mid September 1866 when he wrote a fiery letter to President Andrew Johnson, denouncing the President’s Reconstruction policy towards the defeated South. Pollock thought it much too lenient and resigned his post in protest. Pollock’s successor, William Millward, was of a different mindset and left Longacre to his own devices.

The next step was for Longacre and Paquet to sign a contract (Sept. 3) outlining the work that needed to be done. Paquet was to get $500 for each set of hubs and dies, Longacre getting the other half; it is not likely, however, that Paquet ever saw the August contract calling for a payment of $1,000 for the same work. Paquet did arrange for the detailed drawings and was presumably reimbursed accordingly.

For his part Buruaga gave Longacre a detailed written description in English of the designs as well as sample coins struck over the past few years. These items were in turn handed over to Paquet for his use.

Because Paquet was under contract for other work, he did not begin on the Chilean dies for several weeks, probably around the middle of November. The first dies to be done were for the 50 centavos (half peso). Instructions for these dies included strengthening the rock upon which the condor stood as well as stronger breast feathers. There was also a change in the number of stars, as there was an additional province to be recognized.

By the end of January 1867 the necessary work for the 50 and 20 (veinte) centavos had been finished. Working dies were then made (probably at the U.S. Mint in Philadeelphia, as Pollock was no longer able to interfere) and copper proofs were struck for submission to Santiago. They were first shown to President José Joaquin Perez, who approved them in short order as did others who inspected the samples.

Over the next several weeks Paquet finished the necessary work on the various denominations and Longacre saw to it that working dies were made as well as the copper proof pieces. (The samples were sent to Washington and after January 1867 Longacre dealt with a new Chargé d’Affaires, Alberto Blest Gana.)

One difficulty was the figure of the Republic, which was shown with her hand on the Constitution. Longacre noted that the “attitude” of the figure was good but that it needed improvement, which was done to the Chargé’s satisfaction. In particular it had been stipulated that the word CONSTITUTION had to stand out well enough to be read by the public even when the coin was somewhat worn from use.

On June 17, 1867, Longacre was able to notify the Legation that all had been completed. In addition to the nine sets of dies and hubs (36 pieces in all), there were 201 figure and letter punches intended for the working dies. Even the special monogram mintmark for Santiago was prepared by Paquet. The entire lot was delivered to the Legation in early July 1867 for transmission to Santiago.

When the dies and hubs were received at the Santiago Mint, coinage began almost immediately and was expanded to include all of the denominations as time permitted but also considering public demand. The Paquet hubs were used until replaced by new devices in the 1890s.

There are a number of collectors who specialize in coins struck at the United States mints for other countries. One would think that the coins made from the Paquet/Longacre dies for Chile might be considered for such collections.



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Luego de leerlo me fijé en las imágenes de monedas chilenas que tengo y se notan claramente las variaciones de las monedas entre 1865 y 1867.

Espero que les sirva.
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gauke
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Re: Chile solicita cuños a Estados Unidos en 1866 (en inglés)

Mensaje por Felipe Ruiz el Sáb Ene 05, 2013 5:21 pm

Muy bueno! no tenía idea de esto, buscaré imágenes de las monedas respectivas también para ver la diferencia de cuños :O.

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Re: Chile solicita cuños a Estados Unidos en 1866 (en inglés)

Mensaje por gauke el Lun Nov 09, 2015 1:51 am

Hola!
Acabo de publicar en mi blog una nueva entrada en la que traduzco este artículo y agrego imágenes como complemento.
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Re: Chile solicita cuños a Estados Unidos en 1866 (en inglés)

Mensaje por VoloKutral el Miér Ene 27, 2016 6:35 pm

[Tienes que estar registrado y conectado para ver este vínculo] escribió:Hola!
Acabo de publicar en mi blog una nueva entrada en la que traduzco este artículo y agrego imágenes como complemento.
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Se agradece mucho la traducción, para quienes no somos bilingües jajajaja

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Re: Chile solicita cuños a Estados Unidos en 1866 (en inglés)

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