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Catalog > Santa Fe de Bogotá > 8 Reales












* not listed by Gilboy
Colombian Pillar Dollar Discovery
Courtesy of Heritage Auctions
April 22, 2009

Until three years ago, no one even knew that the 1770 Nuevo Reino Pillar Dollar existed. That changed quickly, however, when an amazing stash of 14 coins was found during the bulldozing of a parking lot in Bogota that was being razed for a new building. Buried beneath the dirt and the decades was the old foundations of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar church.

The church, which existed from 1770 until 1948 when it was set ablaze during riots, was also a convent and school for girls. The church was eventually torn down and the area turned into a parking lot. When construction began on a new building three years ago and crews started digging, a small group of coins turned up — including the 14 1770 Nuevo Reino Pillars.

Now, of the two that aren’t already in private hands, or held by private institutions, the most pristine will be a featured lot in Heritage’s May 31 Long Beach World Coin Auction. It is estimated at $60,000-$80,000. It is officially listed as a Carlos III Pillar 8 Reales 1770NR-VJ, KM39 (Date Unlisted), Calico 1000, Cayon Unlisted, MS64 NGC.

The amazing thing about this Pillar Dollar is that we can actually trace it to the very day and place of its minting. The entire history of this coin, and the reason for which it was created, is right on its face.

Since there are no previous records of 1770 Nuevo Reino Pillars, it is likely that these pieces were struck specifically for the ceremonies at the Nuestra Senora del Pilar Church. All of the coins found have been sold to private collectors and museums in Colombia and Spain. The original purchaser of the coins kept the two highest quality coins for himself, and the piece Heritage is presenting is one of those two. With an incredibly strong and sharp strike, most — if not all — of the original luster is remaining.




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