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The Gold Bolivars and the New Argentine Set



I thought I'd post an update on the recent journal on the 20 Bolivar coin.

I did ultimately decide to buy an MS65 1930 10 Bolivar coin to go with it and I got the coins imaged a while ago when I had them both in hand.

The nice thing about these two is that they slot into that Reform coinage type set that ends at 2005, along with my pre-BsF Venezuelan coins. So I didn't have to make separate sets for one or both of these like I have for so many other small European gold coins I've collected. Adding these also moved me from 25th place, briefly to 9th, before going down to 10th. So not quite as low there anymroe.



A feature of these that I find quite interesting is that they do not say 10 Bolivars or 20 Bolivars. They give the weight of the coin and the purity of the gold. This goes nicely in line with the theme and my thinking on this unofficial type set I've been building - these coins come from a time, barely a century ago, when gold was the one true currency of the world, and all other currencies where just different ways of expressing weights of gold / agw.

I've been told that an Argentinian type set that I asked for will be created soon, and I've been slowly working on building out a submission to send it that will hopefully lead to the first competitive sets in 2 Argentinian categories - one made for my request. And these two sets are going to form the two parts of my new project "Brought forth with pain," which are going to focus on the Argentinian battles with debt that have taken them through 8-9 defaults (depending on who you ask/what source you use) and about 5-6 currencies since about 1807. My collection and my project is going to focus on the last 2 of these currencies - the ones relevant to my lifespan and which are the easiest to collect - the Austral (1985-1991), Peso Convertible (1992-Date).

My rough plan for now is for the Austral set to discuss the three older periods of debt crisis / currency crisis, and for the Peso Convertible set to deal with just the more recent troubles including the debt crisis that started around 2001, which has continued with related ups and downs for the last 20 years.

Like with "Gradually, then Suddenly," there's a quote here that's going to be the theme of the set essentially -

“Debts are like children – begot with pleasure but brought forth with pain.” - Moliere

Argentina has, at least with what I've seen so far, generally been a country with a lot of resources and a lot going for it, but they'll get into debt in good times - begot in pleasure - and then the debt becomes supportable in bad times - when a war starts or when global commodity prices tank, or both.

It's also interesting to me that, while Argentina is a former Spanish colony, it is actually their interactions with the UK and the United States, as the holders of the global reserve currencies, and the banks in those countries, that have bedeviled the country the most.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I think it'll be an interesting story to read more about and find a way to write about and structure a narrative around the coins.

While there is absolutely not a 1:1 correlation, you can see how historically a debt crisis lead to an inflationary crisis that lead to the death of the currency and a new national currency. The Real survived the default in 1827. The Peso Moneda Nacional survived the defaults in 1890, 1951, and 1956. But you see the default in 1982 followed by a new currency in 1983 and 1985 and the default in 1989 helped crash the Austral, leading to the Peso Convertible, which, after 20 years of trouble, seems to be enterign a bit of a death spiral.

List of Defaults:

·       1827

·       1890

·       1951

·       1956

·       1982

·       1989

·       2001

·       2014

·       2019-23

List of Currencies:

·       Real (1813-1881)

·       Peso Moneda Nacional (1881-1969)

·       Peso Argentino (1983-1985)

·       Austral (1985-1991)

·       Peso Convertible (1992-Date)


I guess I need to stop using Venezuela going forward and make a new category for posts about Argentina. hm


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That's very interesting.  My family lived in Buenos Aires in 1970-1972.  My father was attached to the embassy there.  He was the Army Aviation Advisor to their fledgling Army Air Corps.  I was only 5-7 so my memories are fading, but Buenos Aires was a very beautiful, clean city.  Thanks for sharing!

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