Souvenier Peso, 1897
uncirculated (NGC ms-64)
(Alex Siegel, Houston, TX   July, 2006)
The 3rd Cuban War of Independence from Spain started in 1895.
To generate funds, the Cuban Revolutionary Junta, located in New York, decided to have issued 3 million souvenir
coins similar to the souvenir US Colombian Half Dollars of 1892 & 1893. This idea was suggested by an Andrew Coba who contracted
with the Gorham Manufacturing Co. (RI) to strike the coins. A smaller number of samples were made by the Dunn Air
Brake Co. of Philadelphia, however, on Aug 3rd, the 1897 type 3 or "star above" were made (4,286 coins). The coin
illustrated is one of these.
On Aug 20th, a further 4,856 pieces are struck with the inscription PAT.97
indicating that the Junta intends to patent protect the design. Thus a total of slightly under 10,000 of the souvenir coins
were struck in 1897.
The coins were sold for $1.00 each at the time but note that the silver in them, as in a
contemporary US silver dollar, was only worth about 60 cents. Advertising indicated that [if] and when Cuba
became a nation, the coins would then be redeemable for $1.00 each by the Cuban Treasury. As it turned out, after
the Revolution was won in 1902 this became the case for both the 1897 Souvenirs and the 1898 Un Pesos.
This paragraph is condensed from an article written by the Cuban Numismatic Association [CNA Newsletter #2-04]
Star Peso 1915
(Heritage Auctions, Jan4, 2009)
A good site for Cuban Numismatics is:
Coins of Cuba.com
also there is the
Cuban Numismatic Association
During this time, 1915, Cuba issued a variety of coinage in base metal, silver, and gold for the first time.
It is believed the island was in a period of prosperity due to trade during World War I
when Cuba was a neutral. This may have ended when Cuba joined the belligerents on the
Allied side in 1917.