Copiapo Emergency Issue
Copiapo emergency issue, KM#4. 22 grams and 35mm diameter. These were struck during Chile’s war against Spain, which was also known as the Spanish – South American War or the Wars of the Pacific which were a direct consequence of the Chinca Islands War. During the war the Spanish blockaded Chilean ports including the port of Caldera which left that city and the regional capital Copiapo with no contact with the rest of Chile. During the blockade there was a shortage of currency in Copiapo and an emergency issue of coinage was authorised of both 50 centavo and 1 peso coins which were to be withdrawn when the blockade ended. The obverse of both denominations bears the legend COPIAPO CHILE and the coat of arms of Chile and the denomination (1P in the case of the peso). The reverse bears the year.
According to Krause (Unusual world Coins pp97) the vast majority of these coins in existence are re-strikes made from original dies in 1909 by Medina. However, some people think differently to this, such as Carlos Jara, author of the Latin America Numismatic Blog who said:
KM incorrectly states that all of these (pesos) are restrikes, which they are not. On the other hand, all of the few known 50 Centavos of this type are restrikes.