Souvenier Peso, 1897
uncirculated (NGC ms-64)
(Alex Siegel, Houston, TX   July, 2006)
The 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.
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]
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