Decimalization

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jgenn

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One aspect of monetary reform taken by almost all nations was to change the subdivision of a currency into units of 10 and 100.  The main benefit was to simplify calculations for accounting purposes and was often undertaken to align with trading partners.  Nations often changed the size and weight of their coins as part of monetary reforms and sometimes changed the name of their currency.  Typically, these changes allowed the issuing authorities to reduce the amount of precious metal without the commensurate change in official value. For world crowns in the 19th Century, many nations settled on 25 grams and 37 mm for their largest silver coins. An important standard was set in 1865 when France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland formed the Latin Monetary Union. 
 
Decimalization occurred in many of the former Spanish colonies in the Americas in the middle of the 19th century as these new nations moved away from the 27 gram 8 reales standard to 25 grams and several of these nations joined the Latin Monetary Union to facilitate trade with Europe.  In Venezuela, decimalization started with the peso in 1843 although no silver coins of that denomination were struck.  In 1872 the currency was renamed to the venezolano with the subdivision of 100 centavos.  The silver venezolano was issued for just one year in 1876.  Venezuela joined the Latin Monetary Union in 1879 and changed the currency to the bolivar, with the crown sized silver coin issued as 5 bolivares.
 
Here is my example of the short lived venezolano, the first silver crown of Venezuela.  25 grams, 37 mm and 90% silver.  Mintage of only 35,000 and struck at the Paris mint.
~jack

1876_VE_A_1V_2000x1000.jpg

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Very nice examples.

When decimilisation happened here in the UK (later than most places) - 'pounds & pence' changed to 'pounds & new pence' so we never had all the wonderful name changes most people had to deal with, although my old sixpences at 2.5 new pence didn't last long xD

 

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Jack, interesting focus on the Venezuelan coinage, to add up a little bit more to your information, Venezuela ordered to the Royal Mint (UK) to mint the first centavos (1/4, 1/2, 1), the copper cents issues lasted until 1863. But in 1858 Venezuela minted a series of silver coins that went from 1/2 Real up to 5 Reales. The official monetary unit at the moment was the "Peso Fuerte", 10 Centavos were equal to a Real and 10 Reales equal to a Peso Fuerte.

In 1863 the president Jose Antonio Paez ordered the 10 Reales coin, with his bust and the lettering "Ciudadano Esclarecido" on them. But when the coins arrived at the port of La Guaira, the service port of Caracas, the Venezuelan Federal War had just ended and Paez had left the country and who took the presidential chair ordered that the coins were going to be melted. This is one of the key pieces in the Venezuelan coin collection, apparently only 300 of them survived because they were sent to the Venezuelan offices in Paris before the main shipping. Less than 10 are known though.

 

In the picture, my 1843 1 Centavo.

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Thank you for adding those details!  I only collect crown size coins so I tend to focus on those but of course all issues are of interest :)

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