These Spanish Texas coins were produced in what is now San Antonio on the order of Lt. Col. Manuel Prado.
The history of Texas is long and storied. Alonso Alvarez de Pineda mapped the coastline of the land that would become Texas as early as 1519, and after that for many years the land was claimed at one time or another by both the Spanish and the French. 1682 saw the establishment of the first Spanish Mission, near present-day El Paso, and almost two hundred years after de Pineda’s voyage, the San Antonio de Valera Mission, whose chapel was named The Alamo was built in 1718.
By 1813, Moses Austin and his son, Stephen, were granted permission by the Spanish government to establish a colony of Anglo-Americans in Texas, and in March of 1817, at the order of Lt. Col. Manuel Prado in what is now San Antonio, the first coins of the new land were struck.
“Prado authorized that some 8,000 coins be struck in 1817,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, Texas. “None of these pieces are known to exist today. If any did turn up, they would have the 1817 date as well as the initials of Manuel Barrera, a local merchant and jeweler who apparently struck the coins. The few coins that are known bear the 1818 date and the initials of Jose Antonio de la Garza (JAG), the local postmaster to whom was granted the coining monopoly on December 6, 1818. The denomination (1/2) is sideways between JAG and the date, and the reverse has what may be the first appearance of the Lone Star to represent Texas.”
“Very few jolas are known to exist today,” Rohan said. “There are probably fewer than 100 in all grades, most of which came from a hoard of about 60 pieces discovered on the banks of the San Antonio River in 1959. Almost all of the known examples show some degree of corrosion from having been buried for 150 years. This particular example is a well centered coin with even brown patina and moderately corroded surfaces. The only striking deficiency is weakness on the second 8 in the date.”
“The Texas jola is an issue that, if we can borrow a term from the music industry, has great crossover potential,” Rohan added. “It appeals to U.S. colonial coin collectors, collectors of Mexican numismatics, or Spanish colonial issues, as well Texas numismatists no matter what their numismatic specialty. This offering represents a rare opportunity to acquire this important colonial coin.”
Heritage Auction Galleries will offer the 1818 1/2RL New Spain (Texas) Jola Half Real, Large Planchet XF40 NGC in their upcoming Signature Auction, to be held April 26-29, 2006 as the official auctioneer of the Central States Numismatic Society’s 2006 Convention, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, located at 400 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio.
The 1818 1/2RL New Spain (Texas) Jola Half Real, Large Planchet XF40 NGC bears a pre-auction estimate of $20,000 – $30,000.
Images, descriptions, and prices realized from all of Heritage’s previous auctions are available in the Permanent Auction Archives at the Heritage website.
To reserve your copy of a catalog for any upcoming Heritage auction, please contact Nicole Jewell, c/o Heritage Auction Galleries, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219, or call 1-800-872-6467, ext. 272.