Centuria Collection: An Extraordinary Collection of Venezuelan coins

Lee este artículo en castellano aquí.

It is not common for Venezuelan coin collections to appear in the numismatic market. The most important collection about this country is the Resenman Collection, which was auctioned by Ponterio in 1999. No other monographic collection of Venezuelan coins has appeared in the market since then. The only exception is the Colección Venneziola, an interesting, but not so relevant, collection auctioned in 2020.

For this reason, the Centuria Collection is an important milestone for the collectors of Venezuelan coins. Stack’s Bowers & Ponterio, supported by Numisubastas, will auction the Centuria Collection during the 50th Annual New York International Numismatic Convention, the most important numismatic convention all around the world. The exact date of the auction has not been published yet, but the convention will take place between 13th and 16th, January 2022. 

The Centuria Collection focuses on Venezuelan coinage. It covers from the rare colonial coins minted in the territory that today is Venezuela, to the XXth Century. It includes a total amount of 380 coins, most of them in extraordinary condition.

Venezuelan numismatic history is full of rare coins, especially in the XIXth Century issues. For this reason, building a collection as complete as the Centuria Collection requires an outstanding dedication and commitment during decades. Indeed, it took 47 years for the collector (who prefers to maintain his anonymity) to build it.

The Centuria Collection includes some highly relevant coins. Some examples are the 1/8 of real 1802, the 2 reales “CARCAS”, the real 1889, or the 1/4 of real assigned to Maracaibo (although recently it has been pointed out that this coin is from Cuba). 

Caracas. 1/8 de real, 1802.
Caracas. 2 reales “CARCAS”, 1820.
¿Cuba? 1/4 de real, 1813.

Some coins may not be so surprising taken one by one, but they form sets that are not easy to complete. This is the case of the so-called “puyas” (1 cent coins), “medios” (25 cents, which equal half real) and “lochas” (12 cents and a half). The Centuria Collection includes these sets completed and with almost all its coins graduated in MS condition. But the “fuertes” (5 bolívares coins) may be the ones that attract more attention. It is well known that crown-size coins are highly appreciated and demanded by international collectors.

Caracas. 5 Bolívares, 1889

We should also pay attention to the 2 bolívares, since they are very rare coins. Some extraordinary examples are the ones of 1879, 1887, and 1889. These are very difficult coins and even more in this high quality.

Caracas. 2 Bolívares, 1887
Caracas. 2 Bolívares, 1889

We cannot forget the ½ bolívar serie, which is the most difficult series of Venezuela coinage. The Centuria Collection includes the ½ bolívar 1889, which is the key to the Republican Coinage in Venezuela.

Caracas. 1/2 Bolívar, 1889

Finally, I should also cite the set of “pachanos” (100 bolívares gold coins), as all the coins in from this series are graded in MS condition.

Caracas. 100 bolívares, 1888.

The whole Centuria Collection is already in the United States. Those who are interested can view the coins from 7th January on in the New York Numismatic Convention. I will dedicate another blog post when Stack’s Bowers & Ponterio publish the Centuria Collection catalogue. I am sure that, for that post I will count with the support of Manuel Rojas Aponte (director of Numisubastas), who also reviewed this one. Meanwhile, you can have a look at some of the best lots that conform the Centuria Collection

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