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Republican 2 Reales

by Dave Busse

The various mints produced the 2R every year (except for 1866 and 1871) from 1824 through 1872. The standard Republic 2R is 27mm in diameter and has the same silver fineness (90.27% silver and 9.73% copper) as the 8R and the other silver minors. The standard 2R weighs 6.768 grams. Usually the edge design is referred to as ornamental, but there is one exception, an Alamos with a reeded edge. Again, the design is the same as the other Cap & Rays issues except for the denomination. Uncirculated examples range from relatively easy to very difficult to all but nonexistent. One of the reasons for the scarcity of High Grade pieces is that the Republic mints were primarily concerned with producing the 8R. Usually the minor denominations were not a priority, and at times, the mints ignored them entirely. Evidence of that is the fact that none of the mints produced a 2R (or any other minor denomination) in every year from 1824 through 1872. Secondly, the 2R, 1R, ½R silver issues, the 1/16R, ⅛R (copper) and ¼R (silver and copper) issues were what the average citizen used to purchase daily necessities. Few were set aside for any reason, let alone posterity. As a result, most 2R circulated extensively.

Interestingly two different mints, Durango and Mexico City produced the Hookneck 2R, but only in the year 1824.

KM 373.4 2r Mexico City 1824KM 373.4 2r Mexico City 1824 reverse

KM-373.4 2r Mexico City 1824 JM (Stack’s Bowers Baltimore auction, November 2014, lot 628)

KM 373.3 2r Durango 1824 D RLKM 373.3 2r Durango 1824 D RL reverse

KM-373.3 2r Durango 1824 D RL (Stack’s Bowers auction, 22 October 2020, lot 712175)

The design was the Hookneck or Profile Eagle on the obverse and the Cap & Rays on the reverse though the style was different at the two mints. The design was similar to the Facing Eagle except on the Cap the word LIBERTAD had cursive rather than block lettering, and was across the peak of the Cap rather than the base. On the obverse, the Eagle was profile; the viewer seeing the eagle’s left side, with a curved neck thus, Hookneck. The Hookneck Eagle 2R are not particularly rare. However, they are tough in true VF – most circulated heavily due to daily commerce – and are extremely difficult to acquire in grades of EF or better. There are very few known Uncirculated specimens from either mint and one should be aware that nearly all known examples of the Mexico City 2R have softly struck centers. Many collectors, Type, Date, First Year of Issue, and Style; have “hole fillers” for these 2R not because they are rare but because high-grade specimens are. The author has seen mint state examples of both the Mexico City and the Durango Hookneck. They are in private collections. The Facing Eagle Style was minted from 1825 until 1872. The thirteen issuing mints produced the same basic Cap & Ray design (there are some stylistic variations for the Cap & Rays and the legend, but it is not necessary to go into detail about them at this time) on the reverse, and featured the Facing Eagle obverse. The diameter, weight and fineness remained the same.

Mints issuing the Facing Eagle 2R:

Mint Year(s) Struck
Alamos 1872 (15,417 minted, struck with a reeded edge)
Catorce 1863
Chihuahua 1832-36, 1844-45, 1855
Culiacán 1846-48, 1850-54, 1856-57, 1860-61, 1869
Durango 1824 (Hookneck), 1826, 1832, 1834-35, 1841-46, 1448-49, 1851-1852, 1854-56, 1858-59, 1861
Estado de México (Tlalpan) 1828 (4,922 struck)
Guadalajara 1825-26, 1828-29, 1832-35, 1837-37, 1840-57, 1859, 1862
Guadalupe y Calvo 1844-51
Guanajuato 1825-29, 1831-63, 1867-68
Hermosillo 1861-62, 1867
Mexico City 1824 (Hookneck), Facing Eagle 1825-34, 1836-37, 1840-42, 1847-63, 1867-68
San Luis Potosí 1829-30, 1841-46, 1849-50, 1856-59, 1861-63, 1868-69
Zacatecas 1825-65, 1867-70

 At this time, as far as we know Oaxaca was the only mint that did not strike a 2R.

The Facing Eagle design has three one-year-type issues. It is possible that a high-grade piece or two from any or all of those three mints is out there somewhere. I have not seen any of those issues in Uncirculated condition though I am told by those whom I consider to be reliable sources that at there is at least one Uncirculated example from each of those mints – Alamos (with a full strike no less), Catorce, and Estado de Mexico.

KM 374.9 2r Hermosillo 1867 1KM 374.9 2r Hermosillo 1867 1 reverse

KM-374.9 2r Hermosillo 1867/1 Ho PR/FM (Stack’s Bowers auction, 13 February 2019, lot 71276)