1923 1-peso Guatemaltekische

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1923 1-peso Guatemaltekische

Beitrag von villa66 » Mo 19.04.10 01:55

With apologies to the Forum for English-only,

In April, 1920, the Guatemalan legislature impeached the increasingly tyrannical Estrada Cabrera, ruler of the country for some two decades. Guatemala’s political situation remained as chaotic as its currency, however. After Cabrera’s departure, an effort was made to establish a Central American Federation of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, with a Pact of Union actually being signed in January 1921 between Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. But after a revolution broke out in Guatemala in December 1921 protesting the new 3-state Federation, the embryonic Union was dissolved in January 1922. Guatemala’s currency continued to struggle.

In 1923, Guatemala’s “peso” reappeared in coin form for the first time since 1897. As a member of the 1915-1923 “Provisional” coin series, however, it was a little aluminum-bronze coin, only a pale shadow of the big silver coin with which Guatemala had finished the 19th century.

Guatemala’s 1923 1-peso is a fascinating coin, nevertheless. (As is the high-value of the 1915-23 “Provisionals,” the 1923 5-peso.) The 1923 1-peso was worth something like one or two cents, U.S., which I mention because of the uncanny similarity of the two contemporaries. Here, below, is the obverse of a 1925 American 1-cent, together with the obverse of the 1923 Guatemalan 1-peso...

Note the portrait of Garcia Granados, from Guatemala’s provisional government of 1871. Note also the planchet difficulties---some peeling at about 1-o’clock---unsurprising in a “provisional” currency. (Although, considering the incredibly weak strikes of many of the branch mint Lincoln cents of the 1920s, one might think they were “provisional” issues as well!)

The resemblance between the reverses of these two coins is also very strong...

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Re: 1923 1-peso Guatemaltekische

Beitrag von villa66 » Mo 19.04.10 01:56

Here, below, is the reverse of the 1925 Wheat cent from the U.S., and Guatemala’s 1923 1-peso.

This little Guatemalan coin from 1923 is the old peso’s last gasp. Born in 1859, linked to the French franc in 1870, de-linked from the franc in 1895, last struck in silver in 1897, and last struck at all in 1923, the monetary reform of November 1924 replaced Guatemala’s aged “peso” with a new currency unit known as the “quetzal.”

The quetzal has been a real success, of course, and is still with us these more than eight decades later.

But that wasn’t quite the end for these little 1923 1-peso coins. For some years after the quetzal was introduced, Guatemala’s “Provisional” coins of 1915-23 were redeemable at the rate of 60 pesos per quetzal.

:) v.5

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Re: 1923 1-peso Guatemaltekische

Beitrag von sigistenz » Di 20.04.10 22:09

The two coins are indeed of striking similarity. They could easily be confused with one another but of course there was no tourism worth mentioning at the time. BTW what did a US cent buy in those days?
F.Scott Fitzgerald lived in Paris in the 20s as part of the "lost generation" as Hemingway put it.
In one of his short stories (Babylon Revisited) he says
"five-course dinner, four francs fifty, eighteen cents, wine included". :roll: I understand that 18c bought that luxury meal.
Always good to read your scholarly sidelights shed on the hobby. You must be covering a very wide range of coins. Sigi

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Re: 1923 1-peso Guatemaltekische

Beitrag von villa66 » Mi 21.04.10 02:39

sigistenz hat geschrieben:...BTW what did a US cent buy in those days?
One good measure of what a 1923 1-cent piece bought—fairly consistent over time—is the first-class postage stamp. In 1923, it cost 2 cents; in 2010 it costs 44 cents. So, very crudely, 22x(1923) = 2010.

Quality and quantity vary over time, which complicates comparative costs, of course, and then foreign exchange (as in your French francs into American cents example) further complicates things.

Most everyone on the Forum already knows all of this, to be sure—and I know you do, Sigi—but for fun I’ll reproduce an entry from the Austrian section of my coin note-book that speaks, coincidentally, to the time we’re discussing:

930: When it emerged from the coin press a year or so into WWI, this 1915 corona (krone) had an exchange value of about 20 American cents. By 1922, deep into the confused aftermath of what was then still called The Great War, it took 700 of these coins to buy an American penny. Small wonder, then, that so many of these coins are still so nice–at a price like that, silver coronas (kronen) like this stayed mostly hidden. (01)

One more note on the value of an American cent in 1923. The penny of the early-‘20s was somewhat less valuable than the American cent of, say, 1932-1935, so the comparison is not quite 100%, but one useful index of the coin’s value was the need to subdivide it (1 cent = 10 mills) when “sales taxes” became a regular feature of the American landscape during the Depression-driven 1930s.

Here is a glimpse of that American “notgeld:”

:) v.

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