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Argentina (River Plate Provinces), La Rioja mint, 8 reales, 1828P, encapsulated NGC MS 63, finest kn

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Argentina (River Plate Provinces), La Rioja mint, 8 reales, 1828P, encapsulated NGC MS 63, finest kn
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This item SOLD at 2017 Nov 02 @ 19:39UTC-4 : AST/EDT
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Argentina (River Plate Provinces), La Rioja mint, 8 reales, 1828P, encapsulated NGC MS 63, finest known in NGC census. Janson-30; KM-20. With muted luster all over and practically devoid of wear but with lightly struck centers as usual (full sunface), a gorgeous specimen that undoubtedly saw no circulation since the early 1800s. NGC #2730693-001. Possibly from one of the famous 1829 "tapados" (hoards) of Juan Facundo Quiroga (see accompanying article).



The 1829 “Tapados” of Facundo Quiroga
by Mariano Cohen

In September 1825 the government of La Rioja approved the statute creating the “Banco de Rescates y Casa de Moneda” (bailout bank and mint). It is worth mentioning that many of the shareholders were political authorities or their relatives.

Soon there would be problems: In January 1826 Bernardino Rivadavia was named first Argentine president and created "El Banco Nacional" (the national bank) with exclusive right to mint coins in all the national territory, but negotiations with the province of La Rioja did not go well. In September of the same year, La Rioja refused to recognize the new government and its institutions.

Rivadavia proceeded to send allied troops to the interior under the command of Gregorio Araoz de Lamadrid, hero of the Independence, only to be defeated several times by the Argentine caudillo (military strongman) of La Rioja, Juan Facundo Quiroga.

Rivadavia’s Unitarian regime was fighting the Federalists—a union of the provinces—each retaining its own autonomy but striving to achieve a concentration of power and thus ability to fight against the Unitarians and the centralization of power in Buenos Aires. Most of the Federalists were caudillos, defending the idea that each province should have its own government and make its own decisions, while the Unitarians maintained that the power should be concentrated in a single nation-state with its capital in Buenos Aires.

Rivadavia resigned in June 1827 and the presidential regime fell, while the provinces resorted to self-governance, delegating foreign relations to the Federal governor of Buenos Aires, Manuel Dorrego. In 1828 a peace treaty was signed with Brazil after a prolonged war by the “Banda Oriental” (the Eastern Bank of the River Uruguay, now known as just Uruguay). Returning from the war, General Lavalle overthrew Dorrego and assumed the role of Governor. The bloodiest civil wars began with Dorrego’s execution by firing squad without trial.

Soon Lavalle’s minister José María Paz defeated Juan Bautista Bustos in Córdoba, the second largest city of the country, and with its allies, who occupied nine provinces, formed the Unitary League of the Interior, of which he was named chief, but without including Buenos Aires, where Lavalle signed a peace accord with Federalist Juan Manuel de Rosas, who became governor for the first time at the end of 1829.

Paz then sent his second-in-command, Araoz de Lamadrid, to La Rioja to immediately assume control of the government with the express mission to mint coins. In defeat, Quiroga then ordered an exodus from the city and buried the tools and machines of the mint in addition to much of his fortune in the now-famous tapados (hoards) in his region Los Llanos, today known as "Los Tapados de Quiroga."

These hoards were eventually found and retrieved by an assistant. By Lamadrid’s estimate the hoard consisted of 40,000 pesos; according to Quiroga it was 93,000 pesos. (For reference, an 8 escudos coin was equivalent to 17 pesos at that time, the peso being an 8 reales.) Along with the coins were the dies used for coins minted in 1828. Lamadrid would go on to mint coins in 1830 and early 1831.

After several battles, Paz was defeated and taken prisoner. Quiroga defeated Lamadrid definitively in Ciudadela in the province of Tucumán at the end of 1831 and returned triumphant to La Rioja in March 1832. He was already a national hero and an ally of Rosas and of another important caudillo, Estanislao López, governor of Santa Fé.

The Federalists had returned to La Rioja in February 1831, taking total control by November of that year, and continued minting 8 reales pieces for several years more. While all of the same design as the pre-1831 issues, their fineness in silver varied, affecting their appearance and making them very hard to grade now.

About the author: A recognized numismatic researcher in Argentina, Mariano Cohen was the co-author of Monedas Argentinas de Emergencia 1815-1823 and has published several articles, especially concerning the coinage of La Rioja and recently about the Quiroga Hoard in particular.