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by Don Bailey from Don Bailey, State and Federal Copper And Brass Coinage Of Mexico (1824 – 1872), Don Bailey Institute for Mexican Numismatic & Historical research, 2008

There are two types of copper coins issued at Guanajuato.

The first issue was authorised by a decree of 28 May 1828[text needed]. Later, by decree of 11 October 1831[text needed] the cuartillas were withdrawn, leaving only the octavos.

Seated Liberty

The first type, known as "Seated Liberty"' has on its obverse a seated lady holding an olive branch and a cornucopia, with the legend above, "ESTADO LIBRE DE GUANAJUATO", and "UN OCTAVO", (⅛ real), or "UNA CUARTILLA" (¼ real) below. The reverse has the liberty cap in the center encircled by a ring of clouds and rays. The date is below. The ⅛ real was struck in 1829 and 1830. Guanajuato is misspelled "Guanjuato" on some of the 1829 ¼ real, and both dates of the ⅛ real.

Guanajuato state experienced great problems with counterfeiting and with production of its early series. They discounted, and then recalled, the early coinage in favor of the Zacatecas issues.

⅛ real

KM 326 ⅛r 1829 Guanajuato reverseKM 326 ⅛r 1829 Guanajuato
KM 326 ⅛r 1829 Guanajuato (Stack’s Bowers auction, 23 October 2019, lot 72565)

1830   mm  
KM 326b  copper


¼ real

KM 351KM 351 ¼ real 1829 Guanajuato (Briggs & Bustos auction #13, 16 April 2021, lot 400)

KM 351 ESTADO LIBRE DE GUANAJUATO 1828  27mm rosette at date
dots at date
rosette between ‘UNA CUARTILLA’


Oval Arms

The second type is known as the "Oval Arms" style. These were authorised by the governor, Manuel Doblado, in a decree of 26 November 1856[text needed], originally for $15,000 in octavos and $15,000 in cuartillas.

The obverse of this issue has the Mexican eagle with the legend above, "ESTO LIBE DE GUANAXUATO" and the date. The denomination is below, "OCTAVO" (⅛), or "CUARTILLA" (¼).The reverse has within a center oval a vignette of two hands holding a hammer and chisel. Above is a small liberty cap. Below is the legend in Latin, "OMNIA VINCIT LABOR", (labour conquers all)Pradeau noted that it was surprising that the motto OMNIA VINCIT LABOR that is part of the coat of arms granted by the King of Spain to Zacatecas in 1588 had been used on the currency of Guanajuato, whose coat of arms does not bear any legend. Was this at the whim of the engraver?, and a wreath. The oval arms style was struck in the ⅛ real denomination during 1856 in two sizes, one being 29mm, the other 25mm. Both were issued in brass. In 1857 the ⅛ real was issued in both brass and copper. On the second type the edge is plain.

⅛ real

KM 328KM 328 reverse
KM 328 ⅛ real 1857 Guanajuato (Briggs & Bustos auction, 3 September 2023, lot 43)

KM 328b 1857 25mm copper
KM 328a brass


¼ real

KM 352 ¼r 1857 Guanajuato reverseKM 352 ¼r 1857 Guanajuato
KM 352 ¼r 1857 Guanajuato (Stack’s Bowers Baltimore auction, 16 November 2012, lot 11279)

KM 352 ESTO LIBE DE GUANAXUATO      1856 32mm copper
KM 352a copper ‘CUARTILLA’ T not crossed
KM 352b brass
KM 352a 1857 copper
KM 352b brass


The coinage of 1856-57 seems to be highly diverse as to alloy mixture. Few pure copper coins seem to exist but many have low enough zinc contents to appear to be different shades of copper.