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Fifty-Cent Pieces of the Revolution, Campo Morado, 1915, Estado de Guerrero

by David Hughes

The following are a few interesting pieces.

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C.M.GRO. 1915 50-centavos GB-157-VAR, dies (1/A), the first issue of the 50-centavo series. This piece is overstruck on a Federal bronze 1915-Mo 5-centavos, and appears to be a pattern strike or die trial strike, pairing the new CoMo 1915 50-centavos die A with the Estado Guerrero 1914 UN PESO eagle-die 4. UN PESO appears filed off the coin instead of effaced off the die (there are file marks on the coin and on the ghost of the O in PESO). This eagle die and another eagle die were subsequently modified for use on the early CoMo 1915 50-centavo strikes, by effacing the UN PESO on the die.

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C.M.GRO. 1915 50-centavos GB-UNL, dies (3/A), a very rare and seldom seen variety in the series. A local die was used for the third effaced die, the 1914 UN PESO CAMPO Mo. eagle die. This die was subsequently used on GB-159, dies (3/B). A Below Average strike, alas, although the plate coin in Amaya (2015) does not look much better, suggesting an overall weakly-struck issue, so it may be a sleeper.

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C.M.GRO. 1915 50-centavos GB-162-VAR, dies (5/A). This is a 10.87g silver strike, with the planchet punched out near the edge or end of strip (note the planchet flaw). A specific gravity of 10.13 was obtained from this piece, suggesting a silver planchet of approximately 0.77 fine, likely a peso planchet of semi-refined silver bullion.

Five silver strike varieties are noted in this series: this one, Leslie/Stevens (1968)Leslie, E. C. and Stevens, E. C., Coinage of the Mexican Revolutionist Zapata, privately printed, 1968. silver GB-157-VAR dies (1/A), Gaytan (1969)Gaytan, C., La Revolución Mexicana y sus Monedas, Mexico, D.F., 1969. silver GB-158-VAR dies (2/A), Amaya (2015)Amaya, Carlos, Tricolor Compendium of Mexican Revolutionary Coinage, Sociedad Numismática de Monterrey, Monterrey, NL, Mexico, 2015. “low silver alloy” GB-163-VAR dies (5/C), and Guthrie (1976)Guthrie, H. S. with Bothamley, M., Mexican Revolutionary Coinage 1913-1917, Superior Stamp & Coin Co., Beverly Hills, CA, 1976. Available in the USMexNA Electronic Library. base silver alloy GB-167 dies (7/A).

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C.M.GRO. 1915 50-centavos GB-163-VAR, dies (5/C), early die state. This piece is a 4mm thick (!) polished edge presentation or specimen (a proof, for the times) strike. The die combination is too late in the series to be considered a pattern strike. This example is a beautiful full strike with a spectacular eagle, in medal die rotation, unlike the regular issue GB-163 with coin die rotation.

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C.M.GRO. 1915 1.5-peso GB-UNL, dies (Estado Guerrero eagle-die 3/CoMo 50¢-die C), a mint sport from the Campo Morado mint. Two pieces are known, one silver and this one (copper), in about the same strike. The Estado Guerrero eagle-die 3 is an early die state, lacking the bottom waterline that extends from N to E of UN PESO. See detail below, left.

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The water line was added before the striking of the Estado Guerrero 1914 silver UN PESO GB-200, dies (3/Aa) (above, right), showing eagle-die 3 was used on a 1915 coin (albeit mint sport) before it was used on a 1914 UN PESO. This eagle die was also used on the Estado Guerrero 1914 GB-201/202 (dies 3/C), the common Taxco 1915 1-Peso GB-231, and the rare Taxco 1915 1-Peso GB-234. The CoMo 50¢ die C was used with two other eagle dies, eventually shattering (see image below).

While puzzling this coin through I assumed one of Joe Flores’ favorite pieces, a well struck silver Campo Morado 1915 1.5-peso (Flores, 1998, Bailey/Flores, 2005) was this die combination. Deciding to be sure, I checked: surprise, it was struck using dies (Estado Guerrero eagle-die 4/CoMo 50¢-die A). So, there is more than one variety of this mint sport.

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C.M.GRO. 1915 50-centavos GB-165.5, dies (6/E), 50¢-die E not pictured in the GB catalogue. Leslie/Stevens (1968) and Guthrie (1976) describe denomination die E as: wreath berries, 7 each side, and are 2-2-2-1 on the left and 1-2-2-2 on the right, from the tie. A rare variety in the series.

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C.M.GRO. 1915 50-centavos GB-UNL, dies (eagle-die UNL/C), prepared late in the series, and struck on a thin planchet, which was likely hard on the dies. The unlisted eagle die has the R of REPUBLICA reengraved over a star (see below). Also noted: in MEXICANA the X is lower than the E, the I is lower than the X, the C is lower than the I, and the A is higher than the C. Denomination die C is in a very late die state with a crack across the entire die, the die likely shattered, resulting in a rare die combination.

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These are pieces not in the GB catalogue, die trials, mint sports, presentations, specimen strikes, proofs of the times, and rarities. So, go check that ugly Campo Morado 50-centavo, figure out what it is, there may be another unlisted or mystery combination out there.