Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 46

The Millennia Collection

Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 914
Philippines. Countermarked Coinage. Necessity 8 Reales, 1830 (Manila). Dav-440; KM-35; Basso-39. Ferdinand VII, 1809-1833. Host coin: Bolivia, Republic. 8 Soles, 1829-JM. 26.98 grams. Counterstamped issue of 1830, issued by Captain General of the Philippines. Crowned arms of Spain, within rayed border; HABILITADO POR EL REY N.S.D. FERN VII. Reverse: In two lines, MANILA 1830, within rayed border. Obverse with shield well struck up, but scattered weaknesses to the legend. Reverse with part of MANILA weak due to the prominence of the Bolivar portrait underneath. Deep mottled toning of various colors. Exceptional, lustrous surfaces for issue. The finest known, and of Extreme Rarity. NGC graded MS-63.

The aggressive expansion of mercantile policies from Europe's major powers, directed primarily at the orient in the 16th century, was beginning to pay off handsomely. Silk, spices, and especially tea, flowed out of Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries. For Spain, it was the wealth of silver and gold pouring out from the New World that supported this trade with Asia. In the process Manila, Spain's finest harbor in the region, had grown to become one of the Far East's busiest ports. Spanish-American coin almost wholly fueled the needs of local trade and commerce there. As a result, Philippine-struck money was of an extremely inconsequential nature - mostly small denomination coppers.
In the early 1800's the winds of revolution swept throughout Spain's New World colonies. By the early 1820's most of Latin America was independent. Now, it was the republican coinages of Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru, that continued as the commonly used coins of the Philippines. This new situation was a severe concern to Spain. With the loss of American lands, she was even more determined to retain this lucrative possession. Acceptance of this coinage of would seem to imply an acknowledgement of legitimacy towards revolution. Or worse yet, the local authorities feared that exposure to so many objects bearing such seditious sentiments as "Liberty," or "For Virtue and Justice," might inflame the passions of rebellion among the natives. Thus Spanish officials decided that the legends and types of this imported currency should be obliterated by overstamping. A decree to the effect, on October 13, 1828, by the Captain-General of the Philippines ordered such monies to be overstruck with the arms of Spain, along with the legend: "Habilitado por el Rey N. S. D. Fern. VII" (Rehabilatated by the King, our Lord, Don Fernando VII). The reverses would be stamped with "Manila" and the date. The experiment, lasting from 1828-1830, proved to be mostly a failure. The overstamping never wholly erased the undertype, plus the procedure was found to be damaging to the mint machinery. In 1832, the program was re-instituted by employing different, much smaller counterstamps. Eventually the counterstamping was halted by decree in 1837, when Spain finally acknowledged the independence of her former colonies. Of all the counterstamped coins of the Philippines, those bearing the Manila types are the rarest, with those dated 1830 being extremely rare.

The Philippines, an island rich archipelago, is situated at a crossroads of the Pacific Ocean and the South China and Sulu Seas. Supporting its ideal location, were its enormous tropical resources. Settled some 30,000 years ago, by the tenth century AD. coastal villagers were welcoming Chinese commerce, and settlers. These were shortly followed by Muslim traders from Borneo. The Spanish arrived on March 16, 1521, in the guise of Ferdinand Magellan, who claimed the land for Spain. Magellan would also die there on April 27, 1521, from mortal wounds suffered in war between the newly Christianized Cebuanos Raja and the chieftain of their rebellious neighbor on the island of Mactan.
Nenvertheless, Spain did not forget the Philippines - in part, because its convenient location close to China offered the reward of potential converts to Catholicism, particularly at a time when the Protestant Reformation was making serious headway against the true faith in Europe. Further expeditions followed. In 1556, Philip II would formally organize the lands as a Crown Colony with the appointment a Mexican bureaucrat, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, as the first Governor-General, who continued with the pacification of the natives. Legazpi eventually selected Manila for the capital of the colony in 1571, both for its fine natural harbor plus the rich lands surrounding the city that could sustain its growth with agriculture. By 1576 much of the area of the modern Philippines was nominally under Spanish control, although their actual authority was severely restricted in many areas. The southern islands of Mindanao and Sulu remained completely independent. Legazpi's successors were placed under the authority of the viceroy of New Spain (Mexico), in essence making the Philippines a colony of a colony.
With its eye mainly fixed on the financially appealing China trade, the Spanish did not develop the commercial potential of the Philippine's agricultural or mineral resources. Instead, its commerce centered on the galleon trade between Canton and Acapulco in which Manila functioned merely as an entrepot. Chinese junks brought silk, porcelain, furniture, and similar luxury goods from Canton to Manila where the cargoes were re-loaded on galleons bound for Acapulco and the Spanish colonies in the Americas.
With this system, Spain was able to govern the colony for two hundred years in almost complete isolation from the outside world. The royal monopolies prohibited foreign ships from trading in the Philippines - not that they didn't try. Portugal periodically disputed and threatened the Spanish colony. England's Sir Francis Drake raided the Spanish shipping there in 1579. In the early 17th century the Dutch made numerous piratical raids, capturing not only Spanish ships but also the Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese traders visiting the archipelago. These eventually ceased when the Dutch were able to gain control for itself of the more lucrative Spice Islands. Later, the British briefly captured Manila in 1762 during the Seven Years' War. The Treaty of Paris returned Manila to Spain at the end of the War. But with the increasing diversion of the China trade to Britain, Spain's economic presence in region had already begun to slide.
Estimated Value $20,000 - 25,000.
Ex Cornelius C. Vermule III Collection. Vermule was curator of ancient art at the Boston Museum of fine Arts. Numismatically, he was also co-author with Norman Jacobs on Japanese Coinage, New York, 1972, one of the standard references on the subject.

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