• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

A lot can happen in 200 years



As mentioned in earlier Journal entries on Napoleonic coinage the impact of this period was not restricted to Europe, but global. Of particular interest is the collpase of the Spanish Empire in the America's with one country after another gaining their independence from Spain.


For Guatemala this happened in 1821 when it became part of the new Central American Republic so my tiny Ferdinand VII silver 1/4 Real was an example of the last Spanish coinage struck. This period only lasted a few years until the Central American Civil War broke out (1826-1829) as the constituent territories sought their own paths. Over the next few years various factions, seemly pro and anti the Aycinena family, most notably Carrera, attempted to seize control of the region with the Concordat of 1854 finally providing a formal link between the State and the Catholic church. The 1890s not only saw the US take a larger interest in Latin America, with increased business activity, but also the first civilian President for many decades - Cabrera, revolution again saw a change in the 1920s. In time another military dictator arose - Jorge Ubico (1931-1944) which again culminated in revolution and the installation of Arevalo as President. The military regained power in 1951 and introduced many policies, which caused much suffering for the population, leading to outbreak of the Guatemalan Civil War in 1960 - which went on until 1996!:o

Election of Portillo brought a degree of peace to the country however reform of the whole system was required and, at times, this was far from easy. Dealing with embedded corruption lead to the most recent change with both Morales (2015) and Giammattei (2020) being elected to address this specific issue.



Given all the dramatic changes over the last 200 years it is no surprise that coins have changed from the gold and silver of the Spanish Empire to the base metal issues of today. The late 19th century saw the introduction of banknotes (in pesos) which changed to the Quetzal in the 1920's. Unlike many neighbouring countries the currency has been surpringly consistent for most of this period so I couldn't resist adding to my collection the 'paper' commemorative note released in 2021, thus representing the lifetime of independent Guatemala.:bigsmile:


Now to fill in all the gaps :roflmao:



Recommended Comments

Interesting, thanks for sharing! I believe I have an example of the quarter Real you illustrate floating around somewhere in a flip. That said, I think yours is far superior. I have a small collection of the current coinage given to me over the years from friends who travel there on medical mission trips. It is always interesting to handle the current coinage of a different country.

Link to comment
On 6/22/2022 at 5:55 AM, coinsandmedals said:

I believe I have an example of the quarter Real you illustrate floating around somewhere in a flip. That said, I think yours is far superior. .

There appears to have been a hoard discovered of these 1/4 reales which Heritage disposed of over many sales - 100's of MS examples which meant I could get one easily.

On 6/22/2022 at 11:36 AM, Fenntucky Mike said:

The Smithsonian, specifically the National Museum of American History, has an exhibit called Really BIG Money which features the Quetzal bird. The exhibit is geared towards teaching children but still fun. https://americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/really-big-money

Interesting, it would be great to see Quetzals flying about - the only green bird I tend to see here is a woodpecker, no fancy tail feathers though xD

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now