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The Oaxaca 8 Reales of 1870

Oaxaca 8R 1870The 8 reales of 1870 has an interesting history. The Mint of Oaxaca minted 8 reales in 1869, but stopped doing so with the decree of 27 November 1867 in which President Benito Juárez implemented the decimal system in Mexico, ordering the minting of pesos and centavos. This mint, along with the one in Mexico City, was the first to mint Balance pesos in 1869. Later, with the decree of President Lerdo de Tejada on 30 May 1873, decimal coins were ordered stopped, so the system of reales was restored, and Oaxaca re-minted 8 reales in 1873.

In 1997, Antonio Deana Salmerón published an article on this coinAntonio Deana Salmerón, "The So-called 8 Reales de Oaxaca Coin of 1870" in El Boletín Numismatico, 1997, available on the USMexNA online library. He recorded that Henry Christensen, a prominent dealer in Spanish-American coins in Madison, New Jersey, in compiling an inventory of 8 reales, listed a 8 Reales 1870 A.E. as belonging to the Pradeau collection. PradeauPradeau himself illustrated the reverse of this coin in the fourth volume of his Numismatic History of Mexico and Utberg also noted two examples of this date. On the other hand, Clyde Hubbard and Theodore Buttrey in their A Guide Book of Mexican Coins 1822 to date{footnote}) did not list the 1870 8 reales.

Oaxaca 1 1870Deana Salmerón decided that the mint was producing Balance Scale pesos in 1870 and that the various examples of this coin were contemporary counterfeits. He notes that “a significant and most important detail is that the 1870 coin illustrated in Dr. Pradeau's book shows the Oa mint mark which was not used until 1873. If this coin had been struck at the Oaxaca Mint, it is logical to believe that the O alone would have been used as it was progressively from 1861 to 1869. This is of vital importance since it gives us the key to determine that this coin is a fake. Additionally, in 1870 it was not known that the mint was to return to the striking of 8 Reales. Consequently, no new logotype as mintmark had been designed. All this tells us that the counterfeiting of these coins must have been done after 1873 when the Oa mintmark was used."

The case of the Oaxaca 8 R 1870 is not the only one as there is the one peso 1870 San Luis Potosi with the initial "H" which never existed but was registered in special catalogs for more than 30 years as well as several 8 Reales from Chihuahua, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Mexico, San Luis Potosi and many others from other mints whose assayer initials never existed.