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My Three Suns

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A glorious light shines on former Spanish colonies.


Three of my favorite 8 reales are from the former colonies of the Spanish Empire in the New World. The hopeful aspirations of these newly independent nations are reflected in the beautiful sunface designs of the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, Republica del Centro de America and Republica Sud Peruana. The birth of new nations is a politically contentious process -- these republics had to deal with years of internal and external strife to emerge as the nations we recognize today.


1813 8 reales of the former Spanish Viceroyalty of the Rio del la Plata that included parts of modern day Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia. This is the first year of issue and was minted in Potosi. The sunface design on this coin is known as the Sol de Mayo from the story that the sun shone forth from the clouds at the declaration of the new, independent government in May of 1810. The design is similar to the heraldic device called the 'sun in splendor', notable for having alternating straight and wavy rays.


1825 8 reales of the former Spanish Captaincy General of Guatemala that included modern day Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Los Altos (which would become the Mexican State of Chiapas). This is the second year of issue as was minted in Nueva Guatemala (Guatamala City). In my opinion, the obverse design embodies the idea of the light of freedom dawning on a newly liberated land.


1837 8 reales of the short lived Republic of South Peru that comprised part of modern day Peru and Bolivia. This is the first year of issue and was minted in Cuzco. This sunface is thought to an Inca design, perhaps representing the sun god Inti. The complex reverse design depicts a cornucopia of gold from the Peruvian coat of arms, a crowned tower that some sources cite as the Inca fortress of Saksaywaman overlooking the city of Cuzco, a volcano (perhaps El Misti, one of Peru's most active), and a ship in the ocean. Coincidentally, Charles Darwin noted volcanic activity in the area when he arrived in Lima on the second voyage of the HMS Beagle in July of 1835. Perhaps the engraver was commemorating the visit of this important voyage of discovery.




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After I wrote my journal I decided to make a custom set for these three. Personally, I find large sets to be rather tedious to view -- I rarely click past the first few gallery pages (15 coins per page). Quality over Quantity! My Three Suns

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