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Peruvian gold coins: 100 Soles

100 Peruvian Soles - Reverse

100 Peruvian Soles - Reverse

At the time of the ancient Peruvian pre-Hispanic culture, gold and silver did not have the same meaning as today – it did not have any economic if not religious value and represented the authority of a race or people. To trade, people ‘ bartered’ food such as hot red pepper, for example, or if not copper coins for trading in goods.

On the arrival of the Spaniards in Peru, a system of currency was established then the building of the Museum of Currency of Lima, which was inaugurated 22 years after the foundation of the city, on the order of King Felipe II. At the beginning, the striking of gold coins was limited by royal decree – thus, the first coins which were struck in Peru were those out of silver in 1568, resembling the coins struck in Mexico at the time of the reign of Charles 1st.

These coins were given the name of ” Rincones ” – in honour of its engraver Alonso de Rincón. The Museum of Currency of Lima underwent several closings and was finally closed in 1588. Prohibition to strike gold coins was lifted during the time of the viceroyalty, at the time when a bi-metallic system was founded, in which both silver and gold were used. The gilded metal coins were named ‘ escudos’.

At the beginning, the metal used for the manufacture of these coins was rather rudimentary (with an anvil and a hammer). The coins obtained were rather uneven in shape, to which they were given the name of Macuquinas (makkakuna = struck).

In 1752, new coins were manufactured with the edges bound in cord, thus the shapes of the coins became round. The first gold coins to be struck had on the obverse the King of Spain of the time wearing a wig (known for having a large number of wigs) and on the reverse the crowned shield. The rich history of Peruvian coins knew many changes following the succession of royalties and mandates in the country. Let us make an interesting leap back into the past, to the time of ‘Peruvian dimes’: the Soles. The One Hundred Peruvian Soles out of gold, the arrival of Simon Bolivar, great liberator of Latin America, caused a certain number of changes at monetary level.

100 Soles of Peru – Obverse (Source LinGOLD.com)

100 Soles of Peru – Obverse (Source LinGOLD.com)

The appearance of a new escudo, symbol of freedom of Peru, bore an obverse with the new emblem and on the reverse a feminine character standing upright (Libertad Parada) who represents the Republic. In the early days of the Republic, Peru went through difficult times. The country was divided into two: the Republic of the Peru of the north (having Lima as a capital) and the Peru of the south (having Cuzco as capital) – the first republic kept the obverse of Libertad Parada and the second republic created a new coin showing the new departments which formed the Peru of the south. In parallel at the same time, new alliances were created between the Peru of the north and Bolivia – thus appeared the weak currency of Bolivia which made the Peruvian currency fall. This system did not function and following the law of 1863, ‘ The Sole’ was created as the single currency of Peru. The obverse was changed – from Libertad Parada to the seated Libertad. Struck in gold, silver and made out of copper, but more specifically in this article, we will deal with the 100 soles of gold since it concerns one of the most important Latin coins in the field of numismatics.

Reverse

The reverse of this elegant and precious coin takes up again the seated Libertad, inserted with the shield and the column. On the lower part of the coin, just below the feet of Libertad, appears the year of striking whereas on the edge of the coin, on the far-right of the character, one reads CIEN SOLES ORO (ONE HUNDRED GOLD SOLES), and on the far-left: GRS.42.1264 OF FINE GOLD

Obverse

The obverse shows the Coats of Arms of Peru with in the top part its laurel wreath, and, in its lower part:

- In the first part: a vicuna (sacred animal for the Incas).

- In the second part: a quiquina (whose peel, which contains quinine, has recognized medicinal properties)

- In the third part: a cornucopia in gold – which refers to the natural richness of the country.

This crown is surrounded by a branch of palm tree and is covered by a laurel wreath – interlaced with a two-tone belt. One reads on the coin: PESO (WEIGHT) GRS.46.8071- REPUBLICA PERUANA (PERUVIAN REPUBLIC) – NUEVE DECIMOS FINO (NINE TENTH FINE) – LIMA. Weight and Purity 46.8071grs y 0.9000 Gold 1.3544 OZ

The coin in figures

Minting of the 100 Peruvian Pesos. Year and number of coins struck

Minting of the 100 Peruvian Pesos. Year and number of coins struck

To acquire one of these coins is a wise decision if you wish to combine security with the pleasure of owning a beautiful coin, which will acquire more value in time since it has not been struck since then.

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Thoughts
"For a mountaineer, the important things are the effort, the posture and the muscles. The rope that holds him serves no purpose when everything works but it gives him a sense of security. In the same way, all gold does is ensure confidence; it's a safe haven."