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 History of All Philippine Coins

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PostSubject: History of All Philippine Coins   History of All Philippine Coins EmptyThu Jun 14, 2018 3:49 am

#1: Spanish Territorial & Previous

The collection of Philippine coins is now at a stage quite similar to the stage that the collection of US American coinage was about a hundred years ago.  Just as the oldest US American coins date from the 1600s (as listed in the Redbook), the oldest Philippine coins date from the 1700s.  Of course, neither of these categories include the native bartering specie used before the arrival of foreigners and their coins, namely Wampum beads (in the case of the American Indians) or Piloncitos, along with gold rings, bits of gold wire or cloth and direct barter, in the case of the Philippines.

Pre-Hispanic Era:

The Piloncitos do more closely approximate coinage than Wampum beads in that they (partially) bore a stamped pattern, and also that they were all made of that standard coinage metal, gold.  Except for one small portion, flattened for the stamping of a single letter in an ancient Philippine alphabet, Piloncitos are small, round, and rather featureless blobs of gold metal, often of a particular weight, though somewhat often lighter (perhaps due to metal having been subtly scrubbed from it) but never heavier.  It is not exactly known how long the Piloncitos had been in use in the Philippines prior to Magellan’s arrival, nor (exactly) how soon after his arrival that the production (and eventual use) of Piloncitos ceased altogether.

Earliest Distinctive Spanish Philippine Coins:

After contact with Europe began, many various foreign coins came to be used in the Philippines, displacing the Piloncitos and other native bartering species, but it was not until the 1700s that any distinctive coinage was struck for the Philippines.  The earliest known Philippine coinage artifacts, found in recent decades as a result of dredging river bottoms, are a very small number (perhaps less than a few dozen or so, all taken together) of specimens of small and rather thick round Barillas dated 1728, 1733, and 1743 and struck in lead.  The year, a “B” (meaning Barilla, a twelfth of a Real, which in turn is an eighth of a Peso, 1 1/24 % of the Peso), and very crude portrayal of the Spanish government Coat of Arms adorned these ancient coins.  As no documentation survives as to where they were struck, or why, or for or by who, nothing is known of these coins but the coins themselves.  Their small numbers, coupled with the use of lead in their striking, suggests that they may have been some sort of experimental pattern coins, and not much actually used in commerce.  For collectors, what few there are of these all have known pedigrees (what river bed they were found in, and when, and who each of their owners have been ever since), and as they would be quite easy to fake that is the only way to authenticate any of these, were one surface, for example, on eBay.
The first known documented coinage for the Philippines is a batch of copper Barillas minted in Manila in 1766 at the decree of the reigning Spanish King Carlos III.  As would come to be with all of this Spanish approved copper coinage to be produced for and in the Philippines up until 1835, the actual production of the coins was contracted out to a Chinese firm which utilized crude production methods and had an even cruder understanding of Western alphabets, in view of their sometimes getting letters and numbers upside down or backwards or in the wrong order.  As with the older experimental coins, the design featured the Spanish government coat of arms, the date, and a letter to indicate the denomination (“B” in this first case of a Barilla).
In 1869, King Carlos III of Spain decreed the production of about 6,000 Pesos worth of small silver quarter real coins, which appear to have been minted in that year or 1770 or so.  These quarter Real coins featured no identifying information other than the Spanish rampant lion on one side and the Castle keep on the other, both elements from the Spanish government Coat of Arms.
The denomination proved useful, but was reissued in 1771 in copper, with standards and design consistent and proportionate to the 1766 Barilla, now featuring a letter “Q” for “Quarto” (meaning a quarter of a Real, 3 1/8 % of the Peso) for the denomination.  In 1773 another denomination, the Octavo (letter “O,” meaning an eighth of a Real, 1 9/16 % of the Peso) was introduced alongside the Quarto.  The quarto continued to be minted sporadically until 1835, but the Octavo only so continued until 1820.  During 1822 through 1824, some quartos struck bore a crude image of the then reigning Spanish Monarch, Ferdinand VII, the first portrayal of a historic person on a distinctively Philippine coin.  For two years only, 1834 and 1835, two additional copper denominations were also minted, namely the 2 Quartos (Half Real, 6 1/4 % of the Peso) and 4 Quartos (One Real, 12 1/2 % of the Peso).

Counterstruck Coins:

Alongside this small change, regular silver and gold coinage of Spain, its American colonies, and subsequently, the formerly Spanish-founded but now independent central and south American nations such as Mexico, Bolivia, and Chile, continued to serve as the larger denominations of coinage used in the Philippines.  In 1828, in response to the new independence of the former Spanish colonies and concern that they might not sustain the coinage standards of the Spanish Empire, a counterstamp process was introduced to affirm approval of the use of specific coins that had been assayed and found proper.  It was also a chance to deface the coinage of nations that had dared to break away from Spanish rule.  In the beginning, the word “MANILA” with the date underneath was stamped on one side.  This tended to flatten the details of the coin struck by an upstart independent government.
After only three years, a much smaller and simpler counterstamp was introduced, featuring a small crown and the expression “F7” to refer to the Spanish King, Ferdinand VII.  Many different coins have received this counterstamp, mostly silver Dollar/Peso sized, though occasional smaller silver coins, half and quarter Dollar/Crown/Peso sized, and more rarely, gold coins, also occasionally received the counterstamp.  Once stamped, the coins were valued according to their individual apparent size or denomination.  Counterstamped coins typically sell for hundreds of dollars and often much more, but as they can be quite easily faked, one should purchase these only from reputable dealers or as graded as such by recognized grading firms.

Transition to Decimal System:

In 1834, to honor the new Queen of Spain, Isabel II, the counterstamp mark was updated to replace King Ferdinand’s symbol with hers (I2), and the procedure continued to be used until 1837.  After that, the foreign coinage was simply used with no need of the counterstamp.  Once again, for over 20 years, no distinctive coinage would be minted for the Philippines.  However, in 1857, permission was given to build an official mint in the Philippines which would be for minting Philippine coinage, and construction begun on what would come to be called the Casa de Moneda.  In 1862, permission was also given that production of silver coins would also commence.  By that time, the Spanish were transitioning from a “power of two” fractional denomination system to a decimal system.  Though some few 1 and 2 Centavos de Peso coins were struck in copper in this time frame as patterns, none were officially issued.

First Spanish Decimal Philippine Coins, Queen Isabel II:

In 1861 three denominations were introduced, all minted in gold, namely the 1, 2, and 4 Peso coins.  In 1864 the 10 and 20 Centavos de Peso denominations, minted in silver, were introduced, and the 50 Centavos de Peso was introduced the very next year, completing the Spanish coinage denomination set for the Philippines.  But in 1866 and 1867 as Queen Isabel II’s rule came under increasing challenges, mintages for those years went into a sharp decline and most coins from those two years are quite scarce.  No 2 Pesos coins and barely a thousand 4 Pesos were minted in 1867, making the 1867 4 Pesos a great rarity.  Though her Queenship was not gaining any strength (in fact she was forced to abdicate in 1868), coinage resumed in larger numbers in 1868, and despite her departure from Spanish rulership, coinage of these six denominations continued until about 1874 or so, given the particular denomination, but all using the same 1868 date and her portrait on the coins.  This is why 1868-dated Philippine coins tend to be much more available, even in the high grades, for a lower price than the older coins.

Second Spanish Decimal Philippine Coins, King Alphonse XII:

In 1880, her son, King Alphonse XII, assumed power after some struggle, and resumed Spanish coinage for the Philippines, this time with his image on the coins, and with the silver coins slightly debased in alloy, in comparison to the Isabel II era coins.  For the gold denominations (not changed in weight or alloy), only the 4 Pesos saw any production during this era, and only in very small numbers.  Once again, this time at the death of King Alphonse XII (and the succession of his as-yet unborn son, Alphonse XIII), in 1885, all further updates to the coin ceased, though the silver denomination coins continued to be minted until 1898, all dated 1885.  The gold coins ceased production in 1885.  The 1882 4 Pesos, presently worth about $2000.00 (not factoring in gold spot prices), is the least expensive and most available gold coin of that era.  After that, in ascending value are the 1885, 1881, and 1880 4 Pesos coins.  Among the silver denominations, the 1884 10 Centavos de Peso and all 1880 coins are the rarest from the King Alphonse XII period.  There are no clear records of any of the gold 4 Pesos coins being struck for 1883 or 1884, but it is commonly believed possible that some miniscule numbers may have been struck for either or both of those years, and much more faintly possible that some specimen(s) from either of those years might exist even today, though none of either year are known to the collector community.

Spanish Philippine Coins Bearing Portrait of King Alphonse XIII:

Several coins also were struck bearing the likeness of the youthful King Alphonse XIII, most notably the silver peso of 1897, struck in Madrid.  These silver pesos are somewhat common and not too expensive, but a couple copper coins, namely 1 and 2 Centavos dated 1894, which also bear Alphonse XIII’s portrait, were struck in very small numbers as experimental patterns.  While the Spanish government would lose control of the Philippines without ever issuing these copper coins, the sizes of them did serve as kind of rough precedents for the sizes of a few experimental pattern coins struck in 1899 by the fledging independent Philippine government, while fighting for independence from the Americans who had basically driven out the Spanish at a blow.  The 1 Centavo pattern would also serve as a rough size precedent for the American 1 Centavo that was introduced in 1903.  The pattern coins of 1894 and 1899 are all very scarce, and again, authentic specimens will tend to have a documented pedigree, or at least the characteristics, as judged by experts, of those that do have such a pedigree.  All of these are very valuable, for example one of which (1899 Panay 1 Centavo) which sold for $30,000.00.
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PostSubject: A History of All Philippine Coins   History of All Philippine Coins EmptyThu Jun 14, 2018 4:14 am

#2: US Territorial & Commonwealth

Beginning of American Era:

Coming through the turn of the Century, the regular American coinage was briefly used until a distinctive Philippine coinage could be introduced in 1903, at a fixed exchange rate of two Philippine Pesos to one American Dollar. This is the point at which Philippine coinage first comes to be of interest to most American coin collectors, since these coins were minted in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Since others have covered this era in some detail, I will focus on other observations about this period that others do not seem to have noticed. As it turns out, the United States Mint (and also several private mints in the US as well) has minted quite a number of coins for foreign governments, but this case is unique in that the Philippines was technically a part of the US, being newly seized as a US Territory, albeit with the express intention (ultimately carried out in 1946) to grant independence to the new Philippine nation. For no other US Territory, as such, has any special coinage ever been minted.

The Easiest All-Type Year Set:

In my opinion, 1904 is the best and “most perfect year” for a complete denomination and mint set. In all other years, there is always some denomination, often several, which are not produced, but also differing from year to year as to which. In 1903, the 50 Centavos from San Francisco only exists as a couple trial strikes, meaning that only two fully complete sets for 1903 could ever exist (way out of my league, cost-wise, and probably out of yours as well). Starting in 1905, not only would the half Centavo never again be issued for circulation, but also the 5 Centavos would be not issued (other than proofs and one small run of aluminum coins for the Leper colony in 1913) until 1916. The 10 Centavos was also not issued to circulation that year. In 1906, only the Peso of San Francisco would be issued to circulation, and then promptly withdrawn (all but a couple hundred specimens or so), making for another rarity. In 1907 there would be no base metal coins struck, even as proofs, as there would also be no proofs struck for just that one year. In 1910 the 50 Centavos would not be struck and would continue to not be struck until 1917. The 10 Centavos also failed to get struck that year (other than some very few trial strikes, the survival of any of which is uncertain) and again in 1916. By 1917, the 5, 10, and 50 (along with 1 and 20) Centavos denominations would all be back in full force, but by then the Peso is no longer struck, having ceased after 1912, and no proofs had been struck since 1908. And so it goes. But for 1904, all seven denominations exist in both proof and business strike from the Philadelphia mint, and all four silver denominations are available from the San Francisco mint. In those days, all base metal coins were struck at the Philadelphia mint alone, with no intention that they would be struck anywhere else. Furthermore, in 1904, all coins as yet retained their original forms, sizes, and alloys. In 1907 all silver coins would be reduced in size and alloy, and in 1930 the 5 Centavos would also be reduced in size and weight. That the Philadelphia business strikes for that year were minted in only the amount of 10,000 individual coins each has not created any great rarities since these have had an extremely good survival rate, far better than for most Philippine coins of the era.

The Beginning of Minting Base Metal Coins at Other Mints:

Collectors of American coins generally know that the 1908-S Indian Head Cent was the first base metal coin actually struck at a US branch mint. What is not so widely noted is that production of the base metal Philippine 1 Centavo coin at any branch mint also started that same year. And the Philippine 1 Centavo even has the same sized numbers for the date, exactly as was used on the Indian Head Cent, which is why the date numbers are smaller than for the Philadelphia version of the same coin as made for the proof set. So for that year, not one but two base metal coins were first struck at a branch mint, both of the same copper/zinc/tin alloy, both of the one hundredth (Cent/Centavo) of the monetary unit. Indeed, about twice as many Philippine 1 Centavo pieces were struck at the San Francisco mint that year than Indian head Cent pieces, suggesting that minting these sorts of coins there for the Philippines may have been among the reasons that the law was changed (in 1906) to permit this. Production of coins in this same base metal would not start at the Denver mint until 1911, and production of copper-nickel coins would not begin at either branch mint until 1912. And it was later still before any other base metal coins were struck for any other nation at any mint other than Philadelphia (San Francisco began striking cupronickel 5 Centavo pieces for the Philippines in 1916).

American Philippine Coins Struck at Multiple Mints:

Most American Philippine territorial coins are struck at a single mint, certainly (at least) for circulation, with only the barest handful of exceptions:
1903 (P) and S – 10 and 20 Centavos, and 1 Peso (and 50 Centavos, if one doesn’t mind counting absurdly rare trial strike only coins)
1904 (P) and S – 10, 20, and 50 Centavos, and 1 Peso (if one doesn’t mind counting limited silver issues originally struck only for some special sort of one off mint set, though several thousand of each did get placed in circulation)
1905 (P) and S – 25 and 50 Centavos, and 1 Peso (if one doesn’t mind counting rare proof-only coins)
1906 (P) and S – 1 Peso (if one doesn’t mind counting a rare proof-only coin and an even rarer circulated coin)
1907 (P) and S – 10, 20, and 50 Centavos (and 1 Piso, if one doesn’t mind counting absurdly rare trial strike only coins)
1908 (P) and S – 1, 10, 20, and 50 Centavos, and 1 Piso (if one doesn’t mind counting proof-only coins)
1920 S and (M) – 1 Centavo (kind of interesting, since this is the only instance of a coin being minted both stateside and at the new Manila mint in the same year, but regrettably the Manila mint coin has no mintmark)
1944 (P) and S – 5 Centavos

A Mysterious Period of No Activity:

We know why the half Centavo was stopped in mid-1904, namely that it was too small to be practical and not popular. And of course, we know the coins were reduced in size in 1907 due to the increasing price of silver. The complete giving over of all production to the San Francisco mint (which may have helped prompt the laws to be changed enabling base metal coins to be minted at branch mints) makes sense in view of no longer having to ship the minted coins across country before also shipping them across the water. It is not clear why the 5 and 50 Centavo denominations were suspended so early and for so long, but one can reasonably conjecture that there simply was no need, since (perhaps) enough 5 Centavos were minted for the needs of commerce by the end of 1904 (cupronickel coins do seem to hold up better than copper or silver coins), and 50 Centavos coins tended to see little practical circulation (even as Half Dollars see little practical circulation today). Perhaps the Peso was stopped after 1912 since they mostly resided in the banks, and the banks probably had enough to last, with the idea that more might be struck later if needed, but the need just never arose. The founding of the Manila mint also made sense in view of now no longer having to ship the coins across the water, and also as another valuable asset to give to the coming new nation in preparation for its independence. That the 5 Centavos coin was reduced in size is easily explained on account of the two separate occasions in which 5 and 20 Centavos coins were muled with each other (1918 and 1928), being almost exactly the same size, and the desire to prevent that from happening again. That no Philippine coins are issued for 1942 and 1943 is obvious in view of the war being fought then. But one thing I do not understand and have not found is why no Philippine coins at all were minted in 1923 and 1924. Might it have been somewhat comparable to how the Carson City Mint produced no coins in 1886 through 1888? If anybody knows (not merely guessing), I really would like to hear of it, and would revise this accordingly.

The Culion Leper Colony Coins:

In this era, a special coinage was also minted for use by the inmates of the Culion Leper Colony. The first batch of coins was struck in 1913 by the private firm Frank and Company in Manila, and then again in the Manila Mint over the course of 1920 through 1930. For 1913, six of the original seven denominations (excluding the 50 Centavos) were minted in aluminum, and this was the last mintage of the Half Centavo, which was never actually used but stuck in a drawer somewhere and found years later, all unused. As a result, beautiful high grade Half Centavo coins for 1913 can be had for quite cheap and easily show what the aluminum Culion Leper coins looked like when newly struck. In 1920, only the 10 and 20 Centavo and 1 Peso denominations were struck, again in aluminum. In 1922, the 20 Centavos and 1 Peso were struck in nickel brass with a similar design but adding an incuse “PM” mintmark. In 1925 the 1 Peso was again struck in nickel brass, and now for the first time featuring the image of José Rizal. That was the very first of what would in time prove to be a great number of appearances of this man on the 1 Peso/Piso denomination, and where his image is found even today. In 1927 the 1 and 5 Centavo denominations were struck in nickel brass (with several die varieties for the 1 Centavo) with designs consistent with that of the 1925 Peso. A new design, but still struck in nickel brass, was introduced in 1930 and struck in 1 and 10 Centavo denominations, though the whereabouts of the 1 Centavo coins is unknown and no specimens are known to collectors today. After that, no further coins would be struck for the Leper Colony, though some paper money issues would be made for them in 1942.

The Commonwealth Era: Commemorative Fever Even Spreads to Manila:

In 1935, the Philippines graduated to the status of Commonwealth (among US Territories, only Puerto Rico having ever shared that Commonwealth status), in preparation for their eventual independence just over ten years later. For 1936, a year that was easily the height of commemorative coins stateside, this commemorative fever even extended to the making of commemorative coins for the Philippines. In my opinion, no collection of US commemoratives is complete without these few issues. The commemorative 1 Peso coins are the only instance of that denomination being minted at the Manila mint. They are also unusual in having living persons (and in one case even the living US President while in office) in their design. And while the 50 centavos denomination had been minted there in 1920 and 1921, only the 1936 commemorative in that denomination bears the “M” mintmark. The 1936 1 centavo is the last coin struck to bear the standard US Territorial Eagle design used otherwise only previous to their Commonwealth era. In 1937, the new Commonwealth design for the reverses of all three 1936 Philippine commemoratives was at last made standard for all further Philippine coins, clear to the end of the Commonwealth era.
In my observation, Commonwealth era coins (not counting the 1944 and 1945 issues), especially the 1 centavo, are grossly undervalued. Well-struck and clear specimens, in a high grade (and with their original bright red copper color, in the case of the 1 Centavo), are only rarely seen. Usually, the dies are quite worn out, making them look crappy even when bright red and perfectly preserved from the moment of their being originally struck, and these coins, not perceived as being all that rare, were seldom preserved. The 1941’s, not even yet fully issued before the war struck, and barely escaped before, and especially the 1 Centavo, seem particularly uncommon in the high (MS66+ red) grades.
When it comes to the 1944 and 1945 issues, one fact not commonly known is that they were actually struck over the three year course of 1944 through 1946. There are no Philippine coins actually dated 1946, none seen, none reported, and also no 1 Centavo coins dated 1945 either, though many were minted in 1945. Once they were a Commonwealth (almost practically their own nation already), the making of coins for them no longer had to be within the calendar year of when they were struck. For US coins, by law they must always bear the year in which they are struck, unless some explicit provision to do otherwise is given (such as for the 1976 dated Bicentennial coins that were also struck in 1975). This applied to the Philippine US Territorial coins, and the Manila mint also seems to have followed this rule for their own internal reasons as far as we can tell. But coins struck stateside for other nations (and apparently for the Philippine Commonwealth as well) can be of whatever year, independent of when they were actually struck. One could also posit the idea that they may also have wanted to avoid using the date of 1946 on the coins to avoid any implication that the state of being “merely” a Commonwealth Territory of the United States might still be in effect (like we really didn’t grant them their independence as things all seemed), but that would not explain why no 1 Centavo coins were dated 1945. I do believe however that what Philippine coins as were struck in 1946 (all dated 1945 of course) would have been struck prior to July 4 of that year, in their last few months of their still being a Commonwealth. This is the breakdown by denomination, mint, year minted, and year as appears on the coins themselves:
1944-S 1 Centavo 58,000,000 (dated 1944)
1945-S 1 Centavo 78,485,798 (dated 1944)
1944-(P) 5 Centavos 21,198,000 (dated 1944)
1944-S 5 Centavos 14,040,000 (dated 1944)
1945-S 5 Centavos 36,754,000 (dated 1944)
1945-S 5 Centavos 36,042,000 (dated 1945)
1946-S 5 Centavos 28,320,000 (dated 1945)
1944-D 10 Centavos 31,592,000 (dated 1944)
1945-D 10 Centavos 51,832,000 (dated 1944)
1945-D 10 Centavos 85,376,000 (dated 1945)
1946-D 10 Centavos 6,384,000 (dated 1945)
1944-D 20 Centavos 28,596,000 (dated 1944)
1945-D 20 Centavos 33,372,000 (dated 1944)
1945-D 20 Centavos 49,432,000 (dated 1945)
1946-D 20 Centavos 7,400,000 (dated 1945)
1944-S 50 Centavos 19,187,000 (dated 1944)
1945-S 50 Centavos 10,113,000 (dated 1944)
1945-S 50 Centavos 8,007,000 (dated 1945)
1946-S 50 Centavos 6,288,000 (dated 1945)

Special Coin Alloys for World War II:

The Second World War created shortages of certain base metals, common to lower denomination coinage throughout the world including the United States and Philippines. Copper, nickel, and tin were in particular demand, to the point that copper was excluded from the United States One Cent for the year 1943, and tin for the years 1944 until somewhere mid-1946, and percentages of copper and nickel were reduced (or eliminated) for the copper-nickel Five Cent and (Centavos) during the war years. In the case of the Philippine coinage in particular, the One Centavo dated 1944 has no tin, the 5% non-copper balance of the coin being purely zinc only, as was also the case for the stateside One Cent dated for that year. Unlike the American Five Cent denomination (which went to an alloy that included silver and manganese for the wartime years), the Philippine Five Centavo denomination dated 1944 and 1945 (both mints) reduced the copper and nickel content by adding zinc, an alloy known as German silver while both coins otherwise retained their then current size and designs.
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PostSubject: A History of All Philippine Coins   History of All Philippine Coins EmptyThu Jun 21, 2018 11:29 am

#3: Republic & English Series Era

First 12 Years As a Republic; Almost No Coins:

Once the Philippines was now its own independent nation and no longer a Commonwealth or Territory, yet another symbol would come to serve as their national Coat of Arms.  The first appearance of this new Coat of Arms on a coin would come the very next year.  In 1947 a pair of MacArthur commemoratives were minted in San Francisco, namely the 50 Centavos and 1 Peso.  These coins were only struck for collectors, but in large numbers, and are quite commonly found today.
For the next more than a decade however, no new coins were struck for the Philippines for use in commerce.  The vast number of coins struck in the closing years of the Commonwealth era served well for quite some time, the base metal coins continuing to circulate widely well even into the 1960s, though the silver denominations had pretty much disappeared from circulation by that time.  But in 1949, after the Philippines became its own nation, the ratio of two Pesos to one US Dollar was abandoned and inflation became possible and quickly became a problem.  Starting in 1949 once the Bank of the Philippines was officially chartered, fractional paper notes, in a smaller size and denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 Centavos were printed, alongside the higher denomination notes.  In circulation these tended to wear out quickly and time came that coins would again be issued for the Philippines.  This was not the first introduction of paper fractional notes, since during World War II the invading Japanese also printed fractional currency notes for the Philippines, as did several of the hidden native sources of the Philippine Guerilla currency.

The Introduction and Rise of the So-Called English Series, Struck in the US:

In 1958, the new Philippine coinage would at last be unveiled, still retaining the original seated man and standing woman designs of Melecio Figueroa as originally issued in 1903 for one side (but now with the date on that side), and the Philippines government Coat of Arms on the reverse.  While 20 million 1 Centavo coins and 10 million 5 Centavo coins were struck in that first year, only 1 thousand of each of 10, 25, and 50 Centavos were struck, with perhaps some small percentage of those being proofs.  This effectively ended the 20 Centavos denomination, as a new 25 Centavos denomination took its place and has done so ever since.  These new coins were all minted in the same sizes as their US American equivalent denominations, but only the 1 Centavo in the same alloy as the American 1 Cent.  The 5 Centavos was issued in bright yellow brass, and the 10 through 50 Centavos denominations were issued in “German silver,” an alloy of copper, nickel, and zinc.  Clear up through 1963, all of these coins were struck at the Philadelphia mint.
The small numbers of 1958 10, 25, and 50 Centavos coins seemed to create an instant rarity at the time, but in 1959 the same dies, with the same dates, simply continued to be used for the remainder of 10 million of the 10 and 25 Centavos denominations and 5 million of the 50 Centavos denomination.  Another 10 million 5 Centavos were also minted that year, these being the only Philippine coins to bear the 1959 date.  But this motif of minting foreign coins at least sometimes in a different year than from that on the coins continued.  Half of the 40 million 1 Centavo coins dated 1960 were actually minted in 1961, together with all 40 million 5 Centavos coins dated 1960.  40 million of the 70 million total 10 Centavos coins dated 1960 were also minted in 1961.

The only Philippine coins actually bearing the 1961 date however are a pair of commemorative coins honoring the Philippine National Hero, José Rizal.  Along with a Peso struck in silver and being the same size as a standard US silver dollar (smaller sizes instituted for all silver as of 1907 finally being abandoned), for the first and only time, the 50 Centavo was actually self-described as a Half Peso instead.  The Half Peso was the same size and standards as a regular 1961 US Half Dollar.  These, and the next several commemorative coins are actually quite common and inexpensive, but for some unknown reason all of these 1961 commemoratives (and also those dated 1963 honoring Andrés Bonifacio and 1964 honoring Apolinario Mabini) are virtually all seriously afflicted with bag marks, nicks, and scratches.  If ever a clean specimen of any of these without such marks should ever emerge anywhere, it could be worth quite a bit.

Later English Series Philippine Coins Struck In England and Germany:

For 1962 and 1963, the coins were finally struck in the year stated on the coin, with the only exception being that 23,515,000 of the 30 million 1 Centavos coins dated 1962 were struck in 1963.  For 1964, dies for all Philippine denominations were prepared for the minting of more coins, but with the coin shortage the US mint could no longer manufacture any coins for foreign nations.  When it became clear that the same would go for 1965 as well, the dies were sent to England, so all Philippine coins dated 1964 (including the 1964 Mabini commemorative and even the 1963-dated Bonifacio commemorative) were all struck in the British Royal Mint in Tower Hill, London, in 1965.  By this time however, between the inflation of the Philippine Peso and the rising price of copper, it was no longer cost effective to mint any 1 Centavo coins, so that denomination didn’t get minted again in this era since 1963.  The other denominations from 5 to 50 Centavos were all issued in the same standards as was introduced in 1958.

For 1966, the coin shortage continued to render the US mint virtually incapable of providing any coins for foreign nations (though the US Mint in San Francisco did make one production run of Quarter Balboa coins for Panama that year), and again the Royal Mint was employed, this time supplemented with help from the Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke mint in West Germany.  It appears that the division of labor was that the 5 Centavos was struck in England, the 10 Centavos in Germany, and the 25 Centavos struck in both places.  This resulted in two different versions of the 1966 25 Centavo coin, sometimes referred to as “8 Smoke Rings” (England version) and “6 Smoke Rings” (German version).  In the German version, the standing lady takes on an extremely Teutonic appearance never otherwise seen on any Philippine coins (except the concurrent 1966 10 Centavos).  This would be the last time these historic 1903 designs would be used, though they do make a brief appearance on a commemorative coin issued in 1977.

Introduction and Rise of Pilipino Series, Mostly Struck in the US:

Up until this point, Philippine coins had always bore inscriptions in the language of the ruling or dominant nation/culture.  The Spanish era coins all bore Spanish inscriptions or abbreviations; the American era coins (and even the independent Republic era coins up through 1966, and even extending into a single commemorative in 1967) all bore English inscriptions (apart from what Spanish words such as “Filipinas” or “Centavo” or “Peso” were sustained by the Americans).  It was time to introduce a truly native Philippine coin series, this time using the native language of Tagalog, or as they called it locally, “Pilipino.”  As a result of this change, the 1958-1966 coins retroactively acquired the title of “English Series,” as contrasted with what came after it which is called the “Pilipino Series.”  Similar phrases also apply to the paper currency which was going through a similar transition at roughly the same time.

A New Kind of Philippine Money for Every Decade:

By this time another pattern was emerging, one that actually got its start in the 1930s.  Recall that once the Americans had taken over, the designs remained unchanged (other than to be scaled for smaller size in five of the original seven denominations) clear until the arrival of the Commonwealth government.  The Commonwealth design (introduced on the commemorative in 1936 and then all circulating denominations in 1937) was a major change in the appearance of the coins, despite the retention (for continuity) of size and alloy standards and the design on the other side.  In 1949, the Commonwealth (and any remaining older) coinage monies gave way to the newly created Central Bank of the Philippines fractional notes.  In 1958 the fractional notes were replaced with the new English Series coins.  And in 1967 the English Series would be replaced with the Pilipino Series.  The trend continues, however.  In 1975 the Pilipino Series gives way to the “Ang Bagong Lipunan” (The New Society) Series.  In 1983 the Bagong Lipunan Series gives way to the Flora and Fauna Series.  In 1995 the Flora and Fauna Series gave way to what is, as of yet the time of this writing, the current BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) Series.  The opening decade of the new millennium stands unique as the only decade since the 1920s that the Philippine coinage (or normally coinage-related denominations, as represented by fractional notes) was not wholesale replaced.  As of early 2012, the same coins with the same standards as was first released in 1995 continued to be the current issue.

Commentary:  New Money For Old:

Loosely connected to this continual changeover of money is one other thing that makes the Philippine coinage quite different from that of the US.  In the US, every coin ever struck by the US Mint or its branches since the Mint’s inauguration in 1792 (not counting foreign/ territorial issues) remains as legal tender at its face value.  The same goes for all Federally issued paper money since 1861.  Even in the forced withdrawal of gold and gold certificates in 1933, the gold coins and notes themselves, though illegal to hold and spend (but only within the US; no law could prevent their lawful use and ownership offshore) always retained their status as legal tender at their stated face value and continue to do so today and are no longer illegal to hold or spend.  But things are not so in the Philippines.  During the Spanish era, the coins of rebellious upstart nations in Central and South America which were breaking away from Spanish and Portuguese rule were prohibited from 1828 to 1837, except as vetted and Counterstamped by the Spanish.  In 1904, with the new American-made Philippine coinage having become widely accepted and distributed, all other monies were officially demonetized.  This would be somewhat comparable to the demonetization of the various foreign coinages acceptable, such as the Spanish Milled Dollar, in the United States up until 1857.  It is not clear however whether that demonetization extended to regular US issues which were not popular in the Philippines anyway.  This would not happen again until the 1970s, at which the US Territorial and Commonwealth issues would be demonetized.  The English Series, followed by the Pilipino Series, would also come to be demonetized later on, and finally everything prior to 1995 was demonetized in 1998.
Between the continuous introductions of new kinds of money and demonetizations of old kinds, this has not spoken well of the state of the Philippine economy.  It is almost as if one wishes to annihilate the past and sequester each era all by itself.  It was kind of necessary in that with extreme inflation, the standards for a given denomination would change substantially, and continue to change substantially on a regular basis.  Instead of relying on Gresham’s law to drive out the old good (or at least, less bad) money with the new bad money, people in the Philippines (not many being collectors, or numismatically minded) would have probably continued to use the older money, with the practical problem that the 50 Centavos of one era would be the same size as the Peso of the next, making things confusing for all.  There is nothing like stability in design to eliminate this sort of confusion.  I remember when I first came to the Philippines in 1997 there were so many different denominations and kinds of coins even for the same denomination, ranging from Ang Bagong Lipunan through Flora and Fauna clear to the current BSP Series, all of which circulated together.  What a contrast with how it is in the US in which (since the late 1830s!) the same sizes and alloys were retained as designs changed only rarely to reflect esthetic or political/historical values, as early adjustments to the weights of some denominations were slight and done without any change to the size or the alloy or the design (other than to temporarily add arrows or rays as a means of signaling a change otherwise casually imperceptible).  Even when in 1965, due to inflation and rising metal prices, something finally had to be done, the sizes and designs remained exactly the same as only the alloys changed (albeit substantially) to decrease the cost (and intrinsic value) of the coins.  So (for example) a Roosevelt Dime of today is easily recognizable to those who were introduced to the Roosevelt Dime back when all dimes were still made of silver, and though the silver in the original Roosevelt Dime is worth much more than 10 cents, the original silver version of the coin nevertheless retains its 10-cent legal tender status.
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PostSubject: A History of All Philippine Coins   History of All Philippine Coins EmptyThu Jun 21, 2018 11:32 am

#4: Pilipino & Bagong Lipunan Eras

The Pilipino Series, More Detail and History:

In 1967, the American coin shortage had abated sufficiently for large scale production of foreign coins to resume where it had left off back in 1963, so the new Pilipino Series was almost entirely minted in the various US mints. For the Philippines, it was also time for a coinage change, in this case from the English Series to the new Pilipino Series. The sizes of each denomination were reduced, and some alloys changed. The most notable change to a coin’s alloy was the introduction of aluminum to the 1 Sentimo denomination (along with a small amount of magnesium). By this time the single Sentimo was too small to be represented with anything more valuable, and rapidly ceasing to be a useful coin for daily commerce. By about 1970 or so the 1 Sentimo basically fell into near total disuse, though the denomination continued to be minted for many years to come, perhaps even to this day.
The Pilipino Series introduced the images of various Philippine individuals in their designs, Lapu Lapu who had defeated Magellan back in 1571 adorned the 1 Sentimo, Melchora Aquino who supported and helped the Philippine revolutionaries against the Spanish was on the 5 Sentimo, Francisco Baltazar who was an influential poet who wrote in Tagalog was on the 10 Sentimo, Juan Luna who was a prominent painter was on the 25 Sentimo, and Marcelo H. del Pilar who agitated in print for the revolution against the Spanish was on the 50 Sentimo. Later on in 1972, a 1 Piso coin would be introduced with José Rizal on the design, and who would remain on the 1 Piso coin in all its various regular forms ever since. Frank Gasperro, who had recently designed the Eisenhower Dollar, similarly designed the Piso, and his “FG” initials appear on the neck of José Rizal just as they do on the neck of President Eisenhower.

All three US American mints participated in the production of the Pilipino coins, with Philadelphia minting the 1 Sentimo and San Francisco minting the 5, 10, and 25 Sentimo denominations. The original 1967 50 Sentimo was minted in Philadelphia in 1968 despite its 1967 date, once again showing that the year on the coin need not reflect the actual year of production. In 1969, the Denver mint also began making 10 and 25 Sentimo coins. In all of these cases there is no mintmark to distinguish which coins are minted at which mint. Though no coins would be dated 1973, many of these coins were minted in that year, from the 5 Sentimo through the 1 Piso, all dated 1972. The dollar-sized silver commemorative coins would also be struck in San Francisco, first the Bataan Day Memorial, which, with its English language despite its 1967 minting, which is generally regarded as the last of the English Series, and then a similarly made coin honoring Emilio Aguinaldo who had led the Philippine revolt against the Spanish, and after some attempt to fight the Americans, signed a peace treaty with them in 1901. These coins had that same shiny finish as was also made for the Special Mint Sets, those bizarre half-breed coin sets that replaced both proof and mint sets for the US in 1965 through 1967.

What Few Pilipino Series Coins Were Not Struck In the US:

Not quite all of these coins from this era were struck in the US, however. In 1970, though San Francisco minted 30,000 silver Piso coins with Paul VI as standard business strikes (similar in size and surface texture to the so-called “blue Ikes”), the Sheritt Mint in Canada minted 70,000 similar Piso coins in pure nickel, and also 1,000 somewhat smaller but otherwise similar coins in gold. This was the last time that the single Piso denomination would be minted in gold (in fact quite a bit more gold that was in the Spanish Peso), obviously way out of proportion to its face value. In 1972, the Chartered Industries of Singapore (the Singapore Mint) produced over 20 million 50 Sentimo coins for the Philippines. The same coin was minted in 1973 (still dated 1972) in Denver, this time being 30 million in number. The US and Singapore versions can be easily differentiated, in that the design in basically cleaner on the Singapore version, with the circle of the “9” in the date wide open. On the US version, the circle of the “9” is tiny and the overall date is smaller, consistent with other US issues for the Philippines of this era and series. Finally, in 1974 the Sheritt Mint is brought in again to introduce a 25 Piso commemorative, to honor 25 years of the Philippine Central Bank, the first appearance of this denomination in Philippine coinage. This 25 Piso coin was minted there and then in both proof and “brilliant uncirculated” (much like Special Mint Set) quality.

First Official Philippine Proof Set Since 1908:

One other important event during the time of the Pilipino Series is the official return of the proof set. Apart from some possible (but apparently undocumented) proofs in 1958 or other years, the last year proof sets were officially minted for the Philippines to a known countable number was 1908. But for the 1974 year, the San Francisco Mint produced a Philippine proof set, packaged in a style quite similar to the proof sets it had made for the 1968-1972 US coins. These sets, along with many of the 1974-dated coins, were actually minted in 1975. Unfortunately, perhaps while sending them to the Philippines or shortly thereafter, the shipment was dropped or bumped, resulting in many of their cases being slightly cracked, and letting in the hot and humid ambient air of the Philippines. Worse still, the purple-colored cardboard used to support and frame the coins interacted chemically with some of them as the surrounding ambient moisture seeped in, most especially the brass 5 Sentimo coins.

However, some small but unknown number of individual proof sets (probably less than a few dozen) did somehow get out, perhaps by being requested by prominent visiting heads of state and the like, and some half a dozen or so of these have even surfaced on ebay over the past several years. Almost impossible to find is the 1974 proof 5 Sentimo coin in an undamaged condition, and it is even rare for the dark brown rust to be confined at least “mostly” to the edges. This rendered these proof sets basically unsalable, and none of the 10,000 of these sets made was ever officially released. High quality 5 Sentimo proofs (lacking rust or discoloration) are even rarer still. Circulation strikes of the 1974 5 Sentimo are also hard to find, despite a mintage of over 90 million, as apparently only what few as were included in mint sets got out, the rest being (presumably) melted. The aluminum 1 Sentimo often has mysterious black gunk on it that cannot be removed, though usually only on small portions of the coin. The cupronickel denominations typically suffer only from a cloudy white coloring, worse near the edges where the cardboard holds the coins, though sometimes a coin might have this only on one side or the other. It is not known what has become of the remainder of the 1974 proof sets, whether they might still be rotting away in some warehouse somewhere or if they have been destroyed. These proof sets (or the bare proof coins, which are probably safer if taken out, though damage can also be contained by keeping them in a controlled environment of low humidity and even temperature while leaving them in the original plastic cases) are the truly great rarity of this era, and destined to be worth a great deal in any shape, and only all the more if well-preserved.

Introduction and Rise of Ang Bagong Lipunan Series, Partially Struck in the US:

1975 was the year that the Philippine coinage would again be significantly modified. Only three years previous, President Marcos declared martial law as a way of taking direct and personal control over the country, effectively setting himself above the law. In commemoration of this event, the slogan “Ang Bagong Lipunan” was coined, and in 1975 placed on the coinage as well. There were however some legitimate discussions as to how the coins should be changed, for example to make them more easily identifiable to the blind, or avoid confusion with previous issues, and the results of these discussions were also implemented. The 1 and 5 Sentimo coins were given square and scalloped shapes to avoid ambiguity with each other and with the 10 Sentimo, even by feel.

The British Royal Mint (at this point transitioning from its former location in Tower Hill, London, to Llantrisant, Wales, so we cannot know which coins may have been struck at the older facility and which at the new) was set to minting the 1 and 5 Sentimo coins, while the Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke mint in West Germany was employed in minting the 10 and 25 Sentimo and 1 Piso denominations. The 50 Sentimo denomination was not included in the Ang Bagong Lipunan Series, but a new denomination of 5 Pisos was added, of which 20 million were minted at the Sheritt mint in Canada. The Krause catalog also lists US American strikes for the 1 Sentimo through 1 Piso coins, though none have been seen or otherwise reported. It also lists a 1975 50 Sentimo (presumably of the Pilipino Series, since there never was any design for this denomination in the Bagong Lipunan Series), but none of these have been seen or otherwise reported either.

Ferdinand Marcos Image Patterns and Appearances of the 1960s and 1970s:

For the first time, Ferdinand Marcos managed to get his own image on the coinage of the time. Even during and before the Pilipino Series was struck, there were patterns featuring him and/or his wife Imelda Marcos, and these have become somewhat collectible as specimens of the kind of egocentric selfish indulgence on their part as would reach its full flower with the Bagong Lipunan Series. He also managed to have his image placed on the reverse side of the 1970 Paul VI commemorative in all three of its varieties. The 5 Piso denomination (minted in pure nickel, a metal that was the Sheritt mint’s specialty), introduced in 1975, features Marcos, but does not appear to have circulated very much. This was the first time a living person was ever featured on a Philippine coin at least nominally intended for circulation. His image was featured not only on the 5 Piso, but also on special commemorative coins of both 50 Piso (in silver) and 1000 Piso (in gold) denominations.

The Last Philippine Coins Struck In the US Mint:

The regular circulating coins for 1976 and dated that year were all minted at the US Mint, with Philadelphia making the 1 and 5 Sentimo coins, and San Francisco making 10 and 25 Sentimo and 1 Piso coins. Just over a million of the 1976 5 Sentimo coins were actually minted in 1977 (and more than 98 million of these were struck in 1976), and these happen to be the very last coins ever struck for the Philippines by any official US Mint. These would not however be the last coins struck in the US for the Philippines, on account of the activity of a private mint in the US which I will get to next part. By 1977, the Philippines finally had its own mint and was making at least some of its ordinary circulating coins.
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PostSubject: A History of All Philippine Coins   History of All Philippine Coins EmptyWed Jul 11, 2018 11:34 am

#5: Bagong Lipunan & Franklin Mint

Introduction and Rise of the Franklin Mint as Source of Philippine Proof Coin Issues:

Another important transition for 1975 was going from having the proof set minted by the US mint in San Francisco to having it minted by a private mint located in the US known as the Franklin Mint. Starting in 1969 with an order of commemorative 1 Dinar coins for the nation of Tunisia, the Franklin Mint had been producing what it eventually came to call “Coins of the Realm,” which was to say, legal tender (usually non-circulating) coins struck for quite a variety of foreign nations all around the world. The quality of their strikes was quite high, and their packaging rather fancy but thorough. So rather than have the proof sets made at any US Mint, the Philippines, starting with the first year of Ang Bagong Lipunan coinage, turned to the Franklin Mint. Unlike the regular US Mint which only makes a coin in two varieties, namely proof and the conventional business strike (usually for circulation, though exceptions include the 1970-D Half Dollar, the silver Eisenhower Dollars and silver Bicentennial sets), the Franklin mint churned out three varieties of coin, which is to say, each type of coin in three varieties.

Up to Three Varieties of Each Franklin Mint Issue:

They had their proof sets, all with very nicely struck frosted (or “deep cameo”) proof coins which have served as their “standard” equivalent to the proof sets before and after, and of other countries. These would be easily distinguished by their frosty or textured surfaces on the raised elements, such as the person, the lettering, or any other design elements, and a very smooth and mirror-like polished flat background surrounding it. But there was also what they sometimes called their “Matte” version, which often most resembled a standard business strike. These “Matte” coins however would never, as would any real standard business strike, have any instances of any really shiny and almost “proof-like” characteristics but one and all uniformly have this crème-textured Matte-like surface, equally applying to both raised design elements and flat surface areas. The third type was what they called “Brilliant Uncirculated” in which case the surface (both raised design elements and flat surface areas equally) was smooth and mirror-like, as if it was polished. These coins most closely approximate the rather odd US Mint category of “Special Mint Set” quality, or else how earlier “run of the mill” US proof coins would be after the dies lose their frosted “cameo” affect. In the Krause catalog, these three Franklin Mint varieties are listed as (P) for the standard frosted Proof, (M) for the creamy textured “Matte” near-business striking, and (U) for the completely mirror-like textured “Brilliant Uncirculated” type.

All three of these varieties were released in sets, and some “Matte” coins were also issued individually (and a few even saw some limited use in circulation), but of these the proof sets were most often carefully preserved as proof sets instead of being opened for the coins. For the first two years, the “Matte” would be minted in larger numbers than the proof set (while the Brilliant Uncirculated variety would be rarer) and then when the “Matte” variety was stopped, it was the Brilliant Uncirculated variety which would be minted in larger numbers than the proof set, but nevertheless it is the proof set (and interestingly as well, the individual proof coins as well, as broken out of proof sets) which are by far most commonly encountered on ebay today. The Franklin Mint erroneously reported numerous Matte versions of the Philippine coins, to the tune of 10,000 strikes for each denomination, but only a bare 341 strikes for each denomination in brilliant uncirculated, an error accidently picked up and incorporated into the Krause catalog. However, no 1977, Matte coins have ever been observed, photographed, or reported (other than the original erroneous Franklin Mint report), while the brilliant uncirculated version, which should be ectremely scarce, are in fact quite common. What seems to have happened is that the “341” sets were packaged like the brilliant uncirculated sets of the previous two years, but then the “10,000” set’s worth of strikes perhaps intended to be Matte were in fact also brilliant uncirculated. The (P) proof coins fit a well-defined niche as established before and after, and in the coinage of many other nations, but the other two categories (M) and (U) were, to put it bluntly, purely flatulent excesses on the part of the Franklin Mint to have produced. They were specifically intended to squeeze more profit from their customer base in that, in order to be truly complete, a person would have to buy three sets instead of one, just so as to have all three of these varieties. Not many were willing to buy all three. Far fewer of the (M) and (U) varieties were ever sold than of the (P) variety, and many of those that were sold were melted, and nearly all of what few sets of these (M) and (U) varieties sold at all have been broken out of their original Franklin Mint packaging. Now as a result, these are the truly rare Philippine coins of recent times, while the (P) variety is easily and reasonably enough completed, if one has enough patience.

Franklin Mint Fantasy Denominations and Commemoratives:

But as if having three versions of every coin or coin set wasn’t flatulent enough, the Franklin Mint added to that by introducing all manner of fantasy denominations. The 25 Piso, originally intended when introduced in 1974 as a one-shot commemorative to commemorate 25 years of the Philippine Central Bank, ended up becoming a precedent for a 25 Piso denomination for all 8 years of the Bagong Lipunan Series years, each year commemorating a different event or person, as well as one additional coin some few years later, also struck at the Franklin Mint. The excessiveness of this was so much that after 1976, the Matte (M) version ceased to be produced, now reducing the number of versions per year from three to two. Nor can it be claimed that the alternate versions were meant to serve as the “Mint Set” for the Philippine coins since the regular mint issues were also gathered up into some small number of Government issued mint sets, occasionally found in grey envelopes with thin and flexible plastic containing the coins (similar to that containing the coins of the US Mint Sets). So one really ended up needing four sets to complete all the coins, as packaged new and officially sold as sets for the year.

Franklin Mint Took Shameful Advantage of a Good Thing They Had Going:

1975 had been a reasonable year to turn to the Franklin Mint for production of the country’s proof sets. By that time, the Franklin Mint was riding high. The US Mint had recently withdrawn silver from all circulating coins (there were no American 1975-dated silver coins struck, but 1976-dated bicentennial coins were being struck that year in silver), so in a desire to see silver coins still “continue” to exist, the Franklin Mint issues (especially their high denomination fantasy commemorative coins) met that desire, and also provided quite a forum for the work of highly skilled coin sculpturists. It was they, in the early days of minting medals (not “coins” since they had no stated denomination nor were they legal tender in any country) for the National Commemorative Society (started in 1964) that had first perfected the ability to create, on demand, and throughout a production run, frosted (deep cameo) proof coins, as had previously been seen only on the first few strikes of a new proof die. To add to that excitement, the revocation of all laws against holding, buying, selling, and even coining (subject to usual coining limitations) of gold metal in 1974 made for the Franklin Mint to be the first mint in the US to issue a Legal Tender (even though “non-circulating”) gold coin, a 100 Balboa coin for the nation of Panama, in 1975. This would come to be the first of a number of gold coins also issued by the Franklin Mint over the years since. Their first gold coin for the Philippines was the 5,000 Piso struck in 1977, which like the lower denominations was issued in both (U) and (P) versions.

However, the good will and public interest inspired by these noble actions got lost in their flatulently multiplied output, all contained in expensive, complicated, and pretentious containers that consumed much space, and so they fell somewhat into disfavor toward the end of the 1970s and much more so going into the 1980s. Before long, massive amounts of Franklin Mint output came to be valued as nothing more than gold and silver bullion, and a great deal of it was melted down for the metal they contained. Those who had devoted much investment capital to these issues lost their proverbial shirts in having bought what soon amounted to nothing more than highly overpriced bullion. Instant “rarities,” touted as limited editions that would be limited to what few persons were still buying one or another given type or kind of coin, were getting multiplied to the skies for literally dozens of various foreign nations (plus innumerable non-monetary medals). It was as if they kept sitting around saying to each other, “Let’s make another really rare coin; we’ll limit it to the first 100 people who buy it or only to those who get their orders for one in by July 9, and then it will be really rare and valuable, in comparison to the vast mintage of millions of any regular mint’s coins.” The artificiality of the scarcity of these mass-produced “instant rarities” has brought on something almost like a kind of hostile boycott from the collector community which even now keeps the prices of these now genuinely scarce rarities artificially low.

Unpopularity of Franklin Mint Issues Buttressed by Unpopularity of Marcos Regime:

Parallel to that loss of interest in the Franklin Mint, the popularity of Marcos himself and his regime was also fading. While his declaration of Martial Law had initially brought about some order and cleansing of local corruption in the chaotic nation that the Philippines had become, which led to a temporary increase in overall prosperity for which the public tolerated his illegal act, with time the Martial Law came to be less and less about restoring peace and order to the nation and more and more about whatever Marcos wants, he gets, no matter who it hurts or what evil results. He came to fall into intense disfavor with the citizenry, to the point that he would soon be ousted by the famous Philippine “People Power” movement of 1986. As these coins all bore his Martial Law government’s slogan (“Ang Bagong Lipunan”) and often featured his image as well (even as late as the 1982 50 Piso which commemorated events at Bataan/Corregidor – the coin features an anonymous American soldier alongside a certain Philippine soldier, for which latter the model happened to be Marcos, despite his unremarkable war record) these coins fell into disfavor as much for political reasons as for changes of fortune for the Franklin Mint. One can see what a dramatic collision occurred in these two downward trends in the decline of proof set (P) sales over this period: 1975: 36,516; 1976: 9,901; 1977: 4,822; 1978: 4,792; 1979: 3,645; 1980: 3,133; and 1981: 1,795. The mintage for the 1982 proof set is unknown, but appears to have been somewhat smaller, but still in about the same neighborhood as for the 1981 set (estimate: ~1,100-~1,500?). As a result, while the 1975 proof sets are quite common and inexpensive, the later date proof sets increase in rarity and price as one progresses through the years.

Odd Coin Omissions During Bagong Lipunan Coinage Years:

There are a couple other oddball things that happened with regards to the Franklin Mint issues. The 1980 set has no 50 Piso. The reason is that this was intended for a 50 Piso coin (together with a 1,500 Piso gold coin) which would commemorate a visit of John Paul II to the Philippines that year. But the visit was delayed clear into the next year, and so the coins were issued in that year instead. A few of the gold coins already minted for 1980 but not released at that time have recently been made available to the public, but no 50 Piso silver coins appear to have ever been struck for 1980. The 1981 50 and 1,500 Piso coins commemorate the John Paul II visit to the Philippines. The 1982 set has no 25 Piso. There was a 25 Piso coin struck for that year, commemorating Marcos (there he goes again!) together with American President Reagan, and made to what seems to be the same physical standards. This coin was not minted by the Franklin Mint but by some other mint (Philippine Mint?), though the same two varieties exist for this, corresponding to the frosted proof (P) and mirror-like (U) Franklin Mint varieties. In this case, it is the frosted proof which is the genuine rarity, having been struck in only 250 pieces, while 6,000 of the shiny mirror-like “Brilliant Uncirculated” variety were struck. This is a reversal of the comparative mintages of (P) and (U) versions of all the Franklin Mint coins for that year; not counting the fantasy denominations which may have been struck in additional numbers, the ordinary or real denominations in the (U) version seem to have a scarcity consistent with a mintage of about 200 strikes. These are so rare that some of these may still not be listed in the Krause catalog, and earlier editions of the catalog omitted all of them. One of the things that makes it hard to figure out their mintage is that Krause catalogs not only omit their mintage figures, but also that Krause had also yearly published catalogs of all Franklin Mint items, clear up to the year 1982 (containing information only up to 1981 and so without any substantive mention of 1982 coins), after which Franklin Mint products had collapsed so far in popularity that Krause ceased publication of any catalog devoted to Franklin Mint products, though information regarding their “Coins of the Realm” series was rippled into their world coin catalogs, all diligently broken out into (M), (U), and (P) varieties with separate mintages and prices for each.

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that as Marcos had by then clearly fallen out of favor, the Franklin Mint may have declined to strike a coin that would seem to link Reagan with what had by then become a mere tinpot third world dictator, so the striking of this coin, eagerly desired by Marcos, was given over to another mint, and the Franklin Mint proceeded that year exactly as if the 25 Piso denomination had never existed. Apart from a handful of later individual issues (the Reagan Aquino commemoratives of 1986 being the only ones I know of), 1982 was the last year for the Franklin Mint to be responsible for producing the Philippine proof sets, or any Philippine coins.

Gold Coins From the Bagong Lipunan Coinage Years:

There are a few other items of interest for this period. The 1000 Piso gold coin and all 1,500 Piso gold coins issued up through 1981 were minted at the Bayerisches Hauptmünzamt mint in West Germany. Until 1980 onward when only proof coins were struck in gold, these gold coins were all also struck in both (P) and (U) varieties. Only two gold coins with both (P) and (U) varieties each were minted during this period by the Franklin Mint, one being a 5,000 Piso to commemorate 5 years of Ang Bagong Lipunan in 1977 and featuring both Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos on the front, and the other being the 1982 Corregidor piece. One other gold coin struck by the Franklin Mint in 1980 was the MacArthur commemorative in a 2,500 Piso denomination in frosted proof (P) only. The Franklin Mint coins all feature their distinctive “f” mintmark, with the horizontal bar of the “f” being angle-raised on each side to (kind of) mimic an “M” (putting the letters “F” and “M” together for “Franklin Mint”).

Mintmarks for the Bagong Lipunan Coinage Years:

No Philippine coins other than the Franklin Mint issues bore a mintmark after 1947 and until 1979 when the letters “BSP” were added (not in the same place, or even same side of the coin, as the “f” mintmark) to indicate their manufacture at the newly opened Philippine mint. The 8-year Ang Bagong Lipunan era divides rather neatly into two 4-year periods that differed slightly. Not only was the “BSP” mintmark featured on coins minted in the Philippine mint the second 4-year part, namely from 1979 through 1982, but other minor design changes took place at the same time. The seal as shown on the reverse of the 1, 5, 10, and 25 Sentimo coins was simplified from showing many aspects of industry including a man pushing a giant gear to showing merely the man with the gear. For the 1 and 5 Piso coins the ribbon which said “Republika Ng Pilipinas” was changed to saying “Isang Bansa Isang Diwa” since the previous words were already elsewhere on the same side of the coin. These changes (except for the inclusion of the “BSP” mintmark) took place at this time on both the regular mint and Franklin Mint coinage. The 5 Piso did not get minted again (other than Franklin Mint issues) until 1982 when some much smaller mintage occurred. At the Sheritt mint in Canada, the same old 1975 reverse die was used for this 1982 production run, so the ribbon still read “Republika Ng Pilipinas” just like for the 1975 version, and which was not otherwise seen on the (Franklin Mint only) 5 Piso coins issued from 1979 onward.
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PostSubject: A History of All Philippine Coins   History of All Philippine Coins EmptyWed Jul 11, 2018 12:19 pm

#6: The Flora and Fauna Series

Introduction and Rise of the Flora and Fauna Series; End of Franklin Mint Philippine Coinage:

In 1983, the coinage of the Philippines was significantly revamped, partially to abolish the now rather hated “Ang Bagong Lipunan” motto, but also to compensate for more inflation (or high metal prices, depending on how one looks at it). Up until this point, only the 1 Sentimo had been minted in aluminum (starting in 1967 with the Pilipino Series), and the 5 Centavos/Sentimo coin being struck in various alloys of yellow brass from 1958 onward, with all higher denominations being struck in cupronickel (or pure nickel in the case of the 5 Piso) or silver or gold for the high fantasy commemorative denominations. Now, all of 1, 5, and 10 Sentimo denominations began to be struck in aluminum, the 25 Sentimo in yellow brass, and the 50 Sentimo at last revived (with Marcelo H. del Pilar again adorning its obverse) as the lowest cupronickel denomination. The Franklin Mint was also taken out of the loop, with both (P) and (U) equivalent coin types being minted by the British Royal Mint, by this time wholly relocated in Llantrisant, Wales. The proofs are particularly rare, being struck in only 750 sets, and some of those appear to have been opened as well, since they too don’t seem to have been optimal places to store the coins. The brilliant uncirculated (U) equivalent coins from the Royal Mint for that year are more common, apparently struck in the thousands, judging from the comparatively easy availability, usually as a set. The remaining coins (including some mint sets) were struck in the Philippine mint.

To distance these new coins from all political pressures, a new theme, a new series was introduced featuring the distinctive native Flora and Fauna of the Philippines, in which each denomination would commemorate a different living creature native to the Philippines. For the 1 Sentimo, it was a sea shell, Voluta imperialis; for the 5 Sentimo, it was the rare Waling-waling orchid, Vanda sanderiana; for the 10 Sentimo, it was the pygmy goby, the smallest freshwater vertebrate fish in the world, Pandaka pygmaea; for the 25 Sentimo, it was butterfly, the Graphium idaeoides; for the newly revived 50 Sentimo denomination, it was the Monkey-eating eagle, Pithecophaga jefferyi; and for the 1 Piso it was the Tamaraw, Anoa Mindorensis, a wild black buffalo.

2 Peso Denomination Returns After More Than a Century:

Another denomination, the 2 Piso, was also reintroduced, after an absence of over a hundred years. For its face, it featured Andres Bonifacio, who founded the “katipunan” revolutionary movement that helped overthrow the Spanish, and for the reverse, it was the coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, on this rather large and 10-sided cupronickel coin. The last time this denomination had been minted, in 1875 (and dated 1868), it had been a dime-sized gold coin with Spanish Queen Isabel II on it. What a change 110 years makes! While the 2 Piso denomination was being reintroduced, the 5 Piso denomination was quietly suspended. That denomination had barely circulated, was redundant to the readily circulating 5 Piso note and unpopular for political reasons, and most Filipinos had been altogether unaware of its existence. But as inflation was making the Piso worth less and less, some larger coin denomination was required.

Ancient Philippine Text for “Pi” Adopted On All Philippine Coins:

Another change was the replacement of the “BSP” mintmark with an ancient Philippine script for “Pi” which looks like a serif “V” merged with an “F” with a dot over it, and which many mistake for some sort of designer’s monogram. This symbol is found under the neck of the person, other than for any commemorative coins for which it might appear anywhere in the design. So at this point, even the ancient script, not seen since the ancient Piloncito, finally made a (small) reappearance.

Details of Proof and Uncirculated Sets Issued for 1983, and Commemorative:

For 1983 only, one more new commemorative was struck, both in frosted proof (P) and brilliant uncirculated varieties (U), by the British Royal Mint, to commemorate the Philippine University. This coin marked the introduction of a 100 Piso denomination, which would only be otherwise seen on a couple mid-1990s commemoratives, struck in silver. There were 2,000 of the proof version of this coin struck, 750 of which went into the proof sets, and the remainder were sold individually. The brilliant uncirculated version is somewhat more common. As there had been so many commemoratives struck during the Bagong Lipunan era, and now finally this one more in the first Flora and Fauna era, no commemoratives were struck in 1984 or 1985. After 1983, the Royal Mint was no longer enlisted to produce any special coins for the Philippines for some years, though it may have been the source of some few regular issues of the current BSP Series.

Misspelling of Animal Names:

In that first year of the Flora and Fauna Series, two of the creature names were misspelled. For the 10 Sentimo, it read “PANDAKA PYGMEA” where it should have read “PANDAKA PYGMAEA,” and for the 50 Sentimo, it read “PITHECOBHAGA JEFFERYI” where it should have read “PITHECOPHAGA JEFFERYI.” Later in the year, the spellings were corrected for both coins in their regular BSP Mint circulation issues. The erroneous spellings turned up on the regular Philippine BSP Mint issues which were the very first put in circulation and also included in the official Mint Set for the year. This BSP Mint Set is easily distinguished from the brilliant uncirculated “Mint Set” from the British Royal Mint in that the coins were contained in a somewhat thicker plastic holder with each coin in some (usually triangular) section all to itself, whereas the Royal Mint coins were contained in a pale green and yellow cardboard framed holder that openly proclaims its Royal Mint origin, and within which the plastic that contains the actual coins only has pockets for the coins exactly as sized and shaped by the coins themselves. The regular mint’s coins are also typically not quite as shiny as it contains regular business strikes. Because the BSP Mint Set was the easiest place to find the only mildly rare variant spellings, especially in high grades since the circulated coins were already often showing some degree of wear once the misspellings was noticed, many of these (rather few to begin with) BSP Mint Sets were cut open to provide the coins. As a result, a fully intact BSP Mint Set for 1983, with its two coins that have misspelled words, is quite rare, while the standalone misspelled word coins themselves (which were also somewhat available from circulation) are actually quite common, even more commonly found on ebay than the correct spelling coins from the BSP for that year.

Last Known Franklin Mint Offerings of Philippine Coins, But Commemoratives Resume:

In addition to the Royal Mint proof and brilliant uncirculated sets and the BSP Mint Set (with erroneous spellings), there is one other set of (mostly) 1983 coins, once again from our good friends at the Franklin Mint. In this case however, the coins were not minted by the Franklin Mint but simply by the regular Philippine Mint. In early 1984, the Franklin Mint was coming out with its “Coin Sets of All Nations” collection (not to be confused with their “Coins of the Realm” which they struck themselves), featuring the standard circulation variety coins for a nation at that point in time, all mounted in a brown cardboard holder (for other countries the holder would be in various other colors, but otherwise very similar and always the same overall size), and with a Philippine stamp, usually one cancelled on May 1, 1984. These coins were obviously obtained by going to a bank (in the Philippines? Or perhaps even just some local currency and coin exchange such as at an airport?) and buying the current coins by the roll. Except for the 25 Sentimo for which the current 1984 year had been released, the other denominations were all in their original 1983 year release. Then they packaged the coins in their custom cardboard holder with stamp and sold them. It is unlikely that these “sets” will ever be worth much more than the coins (and cancelled stamp) they contain, but they do provide one source of really nice high-grade coins from (mostly) 1983, all regular BSP business strikes, and without the misspellings. This would be the last Franklin Mint Philippine coin offering for a couple years. In 1987, for some unknown reason, the “PANDAKA PYGMEA” misspelling would again show up on some of the 10 Sentimo pieces. Both regular and misspelled versions for that year seem to be roughly equally easy to find.

In 1986, commemorative coins would again start up, this time being different for each year, but there would always be something, except for the year 1993, clear through to the end of the Century. For 1986, the overthrow of Marcos and establishment of the Corazon Aquino presidency (and her friendship with the US) was celebrated with a silver 25 Piso (the last of that denomination) and a gold 2,500 Piso coin, both struck at the Franklin Mint. For 1987 it was a 200 Piso silver coin for the World Wildlife Fund; for 1988 it was a cupronickel 10 Piso and a silver 500 Piso for the People Power. 1989 was the first year in which both a regular and a commemorative 1 Piso coin would be struck, the commemorative honoring Philippine Cultures. For 1990, there was a 2 Piso coin made to standards consistent with the 2 Piso coin at the time, to honor Elpidio Quirino who served as president after the death of Manuel Roxas, and a 200 Piso silver coin for the Save the Children Fund. For 1991 it was a 1 Piso commemoration of Waterfalls, Ships, and Flowers, a 2 Piso for Jose Laurel, who served as the puppet President of the Japanese Regime during the war, but who did much to protect Philippine interests even while collaborating with the Japanese, and who was exonerated of any wrongdoing, and a silver 150 Piso commemoration of the Southeast Asian Games. Just as the Bagong Lipunan Series divided so neatly into two separate sub-periods of four years each, the Flora and Fauna Series did likewise, albeit into two sub-periods of unequal length, the first being eight years and the second being four years, totaling 12 for the Flora and Fauna Series era. For the second part (the last four years), the coin denominations from 25 Sentimo on up were all reduced in size. This time the designs would stay the same (other than in size), but the size would become much smaller. The 25 Sentimo shrank quite a bit, and the 50 Sentimo changed alloy from cupronickel to yellow brass similar to that of the 25 Sentimo, and became even smaller than the previous brass 25 Sentimo had been. The 1 Piso also became much smaller, even slightly smaller than the 1 Piso of today, though also retaining its design. The 2 Piso also shrank, and more importantly lost its distinctive 10 sided shape to become a simple round coin.

5 Peso Denomination Returns After Eight Year Suspension; all Coins Shrink:

The biggest event for the final four years of the Flora and Fauna Series was the reintroduction of the 5 Piso denomination, but this time in yellow nickel brass, and about the size of an American quarter. For its face, it featured Emilio Aguinaldo, and for the reverse, it was the leaves and flowers of the “Narra” tree, Pterocarpus indicus, which was the Philippine national tree. By this time, the 5 Piso denomination no longer represented quite such a consequential amount of money, and the denomination finally began to circulate a bit. But after only four years, it was replaced with the current 5 Piso which is about the same size, but no longer features the Philippine national tree and has a smaller design of Aguinaldo. The aluminum denominations were not changed in size or alloy, but only the 10 Sentimo continued to be produced clear to the end of this Series era. By all accounts, the 1 Sentimo was last struck for 1993 and there are no 1994 1 Sentimo coins. The 5 Sentimo faced an even worse fate, in that there were no 5 Sentimo coins struck in either 1993 or 1994, making 1992 its last year in production for this Series.

Beginning with 1992, the commemoratives that were continuing to come out began to conform to the new smaller standards, with a 1 Piso to commemorate the Battle of Kagitingan, a 2 Piso to commemorate Manual Roxas, who was the first post-war President of the Philippines, and a 5 Piso to commemorate the 30th Chess Olympiad. Also struck for that year was a 10,000 Piso gold coin, the largest denomination ever struck in a Philippine coin, to commemorate seven years of (or since) the People Power revolution. In 1994 the Leyte Landing was commemorated with a 5 Piso (again to the usual current standards for that denomination), and 100, 500, and 1,000 Piso denominations in silver of various (increasing) sizes. Silver coins of 100 and 200 Piso and gold coins of 2,500 (struck at the Pobjoy Mint in England) and 5,000 Piso were also struck that year to commemorate the upcoming 1995 visit of John Paul II to the Philippines.

But in 1993, the one year there were no commemoratives, the Bangko Sentral Philippines was reorganized into its present structure, which lead to the introduction of the next series, of which the coins were first released in 1995, and which are only now beginning to be phased out with a new series of coins, after a surprisingly long period of stability (1995-2017). This reorganization would result in the introduction of a new seal which would be featured on all new coins (starting with 1995 issues) with one lone and rather anomalous exception.
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PostSubject: A History of All Philippine Coins   History of All Philippine Coins EmptyFri Jul 27, 2018 3:32 am

#7: New BSP Series & Denomination Review

Introduction and Rise of the New Current BSP Series:

In 1995, the new and current series was introduced, changing everything yet once again.  The 50 Sentimo and 2 Piso denominations disappeared again.  But while these obviously still useful denominations were done away with, the utterly useless 1 Sentimo and very nearly so useless 5 and 10 Sentimo denominations continued.  The 1, 5, and 10 Sentimo coins ceased to be made from aluminum, but now came to be all made from copper coated steel.  The 25 Sentimo returned to (almost) its former 1983-1990 size, continuing to be struck in yellow brass.  The 1 Piso was slightly enlarged, now making the 1991-1994 era 1 Piso coins the smallest Piso coins, other than those struck in gold.  The 5 Piso remained virtually the same size and merely got a slight design change, making the picture of Aguinaldo somewhat smaller, and replacing the national tree on the other side of the coin with the new BSP seal.  Somewhat more unexpected is that all small denominations from 1 through 25 Sentimo ceased to carry the images of any Philippine historical figures, the front now being dominated by a large numeral to indicate the denomination, contributing substantially towards making this the dullest period of Philippine coinage.

One thing new for this period was the introduction of a 5 Sentimo coin with a hole in the middle.  The 5 Sentimo denomination is the only regular issue coin under the current BSP Series which does not bear the new (1993) seal of the Central Bank, all to make room for the hole.  Due to this hole, the 1 Sentimo now has more metal than the 5 Sentimo, despite its record low value of about $0.00024 US.  At current exchange rates, no other coin currently in production has as low or lower value than this.  As it is, much smaller numbers of the 1 Sentimo coin have been struck in this period, less than one coin per person of the entire population of the Philippines.  One has to wonder why they even bother minting it at all, even for the mint set, let alone any additional production.  At this point in time, not only is the 1 Sentimo perfectly useless (as it has been since about 1970 or so), but the 10 Sentimo is also on the hairy edge of uselessness.  The 5 Sentimo can only matter as a way to make 10 Sentimo coins divide evenly into 25 Sentimo, itself the smallest denomination still seeing some very slight discernible use in commerce today.

Use of Philippine Script “Pi” as Mintmark in Current BSP Series:

Unlike for the Flora and Fauna Series for which the Philippine script for “Pi” is invariably present, regardless of where the coin was struck, for this current new series, the mintmark would be present for some coins, and absent for others.  Its presence is meant in imply that a coin was struck at the BSP mint, and its absence to imply that it was minted elsewhere, for example (possibly) the British Royal Mint.  Some of these coins were thus struck elsewhere, for example indeed all 1995 coins other than the 5 Sentimo and 1 Piso.  The 10 Sentimo continued so for the years 1995-1997 and then ceased.  The denomination did not resume production (this time at the BSP mint) until the turn of the Century.  For the 5 Piso denomination, only the 1996 and some 1997 coins get struck in the Philippine mint, as evidenced by the presence of this mintmark.  Only in the one instance of this 1997 5 Piso does any coin of this era of one year and denomination exist in both with and without the “Pi” mintmark.  For this coin alone does the Krause catalog list both plain and BSP versions of the coin, obviously meant to refer to the presence or absence of this “Pi” mintmark.  By the turn of the Century, all regular issue Philippine coins (whether circulated or contained in mint sets) bear the mintmark.

Philippine Commemoratives Continue In Current BSP Series Era:

For several years (up until the turn of the Century), commemoratives would continue to be struck during this time.  1996 would see three different events commemorated, the 100th anniversary of the death of José Rizal (500 Piso coin struck in silver by the Hamburgische Münze mint in West Germany), the 50th anniversary of Philippine Independence (Philippine-American Friendship Day, a 1 Piso coin of which 5,000 are reported to have been struck, only one has been seen, with no known photographs thereof), and the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference (2,000 Piso coin struck in gold by the British Royal Mint).  A few more 500 Piso coins are struck in silver over the 1997-1999 years to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Andres Bonifacio (1997), Carlos Romulo (1998), Emilio Aguinaldo (1998), and 50th anniversary of the Central Bank (1999).  The 50th anniversary of the Central Bank was also commemorated with a 5,000 Piso coin struck in gold, the latest known gold coin as yet ever struck for the Philippines.  These coins were struck at various other mints, such as the British Royal Mint and the Monnaie de Paris in France.

The year 2000 would see the introduction of only one commemorative coin, a bi-metallic coin of the 10 Piso denomination (not seen since 1988) featuring the portraits of Apolinario Mabini and Andres Bonifacio.  The center was yellow brass and the surrounding was cupronickel, making for a quite handsome and distinctive coin.  The coin was quite popular, and in 2001 the same was introduced into circulation as a regular issue, and continued thus onwards.    With the acceptance of the 5 Piso in the late 1990s and the 10 Piso in the 2000s, the corresponding paper notes for these denominations fell into disuse and ceased to be made, thought they remained as legal tender until the series they belonged to were themselves demonetized.  For the first several years of these 10 Piso coins, a number of counterfeits have been found, typically being made of steel and being detectible by a magnet, and also a tendency to rust.  There were no commemorative coins struck for the years 2001-2010, but starting 2011 there is a smattering of commemorative coins, all base-metal (no gold or silver) in conformance to the usual standards of the circulating coinage and therefore inexpensive, beginning with a 1 Piso being struck to commemorate the 250th Centennial José Rizal birth (don’t they ever get tired of commemorating him?), and going on to commemorate Andres Bonifacio (10 Piso) in 2013, the various Philippine professions (5 Piso), Apolinario Mabini (10 Piso), and 70th anniversary of the Leyte landing (5 Piso) in 2014, Miguel Malvar y Carpio (10 Piso) in 2015, Artemio Ricarte y Garcia (1 Piso) in 2016, the ASEAN 50 "Partnering for Change, Engaging the World" (1 Piso) and Antonio Luna de San Pedro y Novicio Ancheta (10 Piso) in 2017.

New Changes Being Made To Philippine Coinage:

For 2012, the paper money of the Philippines is undergoing a transformation in its appearance, and a new currency is beginning to displace the previous “Current BSP” Series.  It was only a matter of time before the new coins would follow, being introduced in 2018.  While that would have been a good time to clean up some of the smaller denominations, for example by eliminating the 1, 5, and 10 Sentimo coins, retaining the 25 Sentimo (perhaps as a quarter Piso), and resuming the 50 Sentimo (perhaps as a half Piso) and 2 Piso.  Instead, the 50 Sentimo denomination remains in limbo and all other near and totally useless tiny denominations are retained, with a curious exception of the 10 Sentimo which just quietly disappears without explanation (it was useless anyway, but then why continue the 1 and the 5 Sentimo?!?).  As with the previous issues, no personages are represented on any fraction of a Piso, only the Piso on upwards.  Emilio Aguinaldo seems to have fallen into disfavor, having been replaced on the 5 Piso with Andrés Bonifacio while Apolinario Mabini continues on alone on the 10 Piso.  New flora (no fauna) are portrayed on the reverse sides of all denominations:  the Magkono tree (Xanthostemon verdugonianus) on the 1 Sentimo, the Crown Flower shrub (Calotropis gigantea) on the 5 Sentimo, the Katmon fruit (Dillenia philippinensis) on the 25 Sentimo, the Waling-waling Orchid (Vanda sanderiana) on the Piso, the Jade, Emerald, or Turquoise Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) on the 5 Piso, and the Rose Grape (Medinilla magnifica) on the 10 Piso.   The new coins are all being issued alike in nickel-coated steel.


Half Centavo:

Relative to the Piso (or Peso as it was under the Spanish and the Americans), the very smallest denomination was the Half Centavo, at fully 200 to a Peso.  The Americans introduced it along with its entire Philippine Territorial Series in 1903, pulled it from circulation in 1904, continued it along in minuscule numbers as a “proof-only” coin in 1905, 1906, and 1908, and revived it one last time in aluminum for the Leper Colony, which latter was never placed in circulation hence the easy availability of high grade specimens of the 1913 Leper Colony Half Centavo.

One Centavo:

Next up, the 1 Centavo, variously patterned by the Spanish in the 1850s and again in 1894, was finally introduced by the Americans in 1903.  For the entire US Territorial and Commonwealth eras, this denomination would be struck in more different years than any other, in that sense quite opposite to the Half Centavo.  The coin would be struck again 1958-1963 to the same standards as the US Cent at that time (but never including tin, only zinc), then in aluminum for each of the Pilipino, Ang Bagong Lipunan, and Flora and Fauna Series, copper-coated steel in the BSP series, and nickel-coated steel in the new series, despite having become perfectly useless in the midst of the Pilipino Series era.  Only the aluminum 1 Sentimo coins ever bore the portrait of Lapu-Lapu.

Miscellaneous Spanish Denominations, Barilla, Octavo, Two Centavos (pattern), and One Quarto:

Only slightly higher, at only 96 to a Peso, comes the Barilla, originally struck as a pattern or experimental coin various scattered years spanning 1728 to 1766, and this is the oldest coin that can be mapped in value to the known unit.  Next up, at 64 to a Peso, comes the Octavo, introduced in 1773 and minted various scattered years until 1830.  The 2 Centavo denomination never got beyond the pattern stage as struck by the Spanish in the 1850s and again in 1894, and was never produced for circulation nor seen again.  The Quarto, valued at 32 to a Peso, comes next, originally introduced as a tiny silver coin in about 1770, but then promptly replaced with a copper coin in 1771 which saw fairly frequent production until 1835.  There are some Quarto coins struck in 1822-1824 which bear the portrait of the Spanish King Ferdinand VII.

Five Centavos:

The 5 Centavo/Sentimo, at 20 per Peso/Piso, comes next.  It was introduced by the Americans in 1903 originally made to the same standards as the American nickel though locked in a fixed exchange rate making it worth exactly half as much.  After being struck for circulation for only a couple years, the amount made appears to have satisfied the needs of commerce until 1916 when production for circulation resumed.  As a result, up until that reintroduction in 1916 its history parallels closely the history of the Half Centavo, existing only as proof specimens and a Leper Colony aluminum coin.  In 1930 the 5 Centavos is reduced in size to avoid confusion with the 20 Centavos coin, the design is changed for the Commonwealth era in 1937, and the alloy adjusted to reduce the need of copper and nickel in 1944.  In the English Series, the 5 Centavo would be produced in more different years than any other denomination, and is the only Philippine coin dated 1959.  The English Series also introduced its being struck in brass, which would continue (in smaller size, then in a weird scalloped shape) through the Pilipino and Ang Bagong Lipunan Series years.  It would then be struck in aluminum for the Flora and Fauna years, then copper coated steel with a hole in the center for the BSP era and finally nickel-coated steel for the new series.

Two Quartos, Ten Centavos, and Four Quartos:

After this there comes the 2 Quartos amount (16 to a Peso), which was minted only in 1834 and 1835.  Next is the 10 Centavo (10 to a Peso/Piso) which was introduced by the Spanish in 1864, minted with Queen Isabel II’s portrait until 1874 (but never bearing a date after 1868), and then resumed (with a slightly lower percentage of silver) in 1880 with King Alphonse XII’s portrait and continued until 1898 (and again never bearing a date after 1885).  This continued directly with the US Territorial 10 Centavos, at first minted in silver with the same diameter but slightly thicker/heavier to be exactly one tenth the weight of the Peso (itself about one percent heavier than the standard US silver dollar), but then reduced in size (and silver alloy) in the face of increasing silver prices in 1907 and retaining that size and alloy throughout the Territorial and Commonwealth eras.  For each of the English, Pilipino, and Ang Bagong Lipunan Series eras, it is struck in “German Silver” or cupronickel, and then in aluminum in the Flora and Fauna Series era, and finally copper coated steel for the BSP era.  The denomination is not being continued into the new series.  Above that comes the 4 Quartos amount (8 to a Peso), which like the 2 Quartos was minted only in 1834 and 1835.

Twenty Centavos and Twenty-Five Centavos:

The 20 Centavos/Sentimo (5 to a Peso/Piso) was introduced in 1864 by the Spanish, and continued until 1874 (again never dated later than 1868), showing Queen Isabel II.  The Spanish resumed the denomination in 1880 with a lower silver alloy until 1898 (again never dated later than 1885), showing King Alphonse XII.  The Americans introduced their own 20 Centavos coin at one fifth the weight of the Peso, but again reduced in 1907 to a smaller size and lower silver alloy which continued throughout the Territorial and Commonwealth eras.  For the English Series, the denomination was changed (or raised) to 25 Centavos/Sentimo (4 to a Peso/Piso) and struck in either “German Silver” or cupronickel until the Flora and Fauna era changed its alloy to brass, which continued as its alloy under the BSP system, but is being superseded by nickel-coated steel for the new series.

Fifty Centavos:

The 50 Centavos/Sentimo (2 to a Peso/Piso, or “Half Peso” in one case) was introduced in 1865 by the Spanish, and continued until 1874 (again never dated later than 1868), showing Queen Isabel II.  The Spanish resumed the denomination in 1880 with a lower silver alloy until 1898 (again never dated later than 1885), showing King Alphonse XII.  The Americans introduced their own 50 Centavos coin at one half the weight of the Peso, but again reduced in 1907 to a smaller size and lower silver alloy which continued throughout the Territorial and Commonwealth eras.  Starting with the English Series, the denomination was struck in cupronickel until the last four years of the Flora and Fauna era in which its alloy was changed to brass.  But during the Bagong Lipunan years this denomination was suspended and has remained suspended ever since.  In 1994 the denomination was struck for the very last time.  This is the lowest denomination in which any commemoratives have ever been struck, namely the 1936 Commonwealth, the 1947 MacArthur, and the 1961 José Rizal.

One Peso:

The Peso/Piso (not counting various crown-sized silver coins that were being countermarked), got its start as a small gold coin in 1861, continued to be struck until 1877 (but never dated later than 1868), and showing Queen Isabel II, but was not struck during the reign of King Alphonse XII.  A crown-sized silver issue of this coin was struck in Spain in 1897 bearing the portrait of then ruling Spanish King Alphonse XIII, the only Philippine coin with his portrait to go beyond the pattern stage.  After that, the progress of the Peso/Piso divides neatly into several periods, though one could include the Spanish ones as well:  1861-1877, Spanish gold coin era; 1897, Spanish silver coin era; 1903-1906, first (large) American Territorial era; 1907-1912, second (small) American Territorial era; 1913-1920, first (aluminum) Leper Colony era; 1922-1925, second (nickel brass) Leper Colony era; 1936-1970, Commemorative only era; 1972-1975, Pilipino Series era; 1975-1978, first (Republika ng Pilipinas) Bagong Lipunan Series era; 1979-1982, second (Isang Bansa Isang Diwa) Bagong Lipunan Series era; 1983-1990, first (large) Flora and Fauna Series era; 1991-1994, second (small) Flora and Fauna Series era; 1995-2017, BSP Series era; 2018 onwards, the new series.  There are some few commemorative 1 Piso coins struck during and since the Flora and Fauna Series era, usually to the current standards for the Piso for the given time, or at least of recent time.

Two Pesos, Four Pesos, Five Pesos, and Ten Pesos:

The 2 Peso/Piso existed only as a dime-sized gold coin struck by the Spanish in 1861-1866, skipped 1867, and then resumed in 1868-1875, all the latter dated 1868, and showing Queen Isabel II.  The denomination was not seen again, except as the cupronickel coin seen (first large and 10-sided, then small) over the 12 years of the Flora and Fauna Series era, and then never seen again.  The 4 Peso existed in both Queen Isabel II’s era and King Alphonse XII’s era, though it was quite rare in the latter, from 1861 to 1877 showing the Queen, and then again 1880 to 1885 showing the King.  Perhaps succeeding it (much as the 25 Centavo succeeded the 20 Centavo, same ratio 4 to 5), or else as the next denomination up, is the 5 Piso which was introduced in 1975 as part of the Bagong Lipunan Series era, struck in pure nickel and vaguely sustained or marginally circulated throughout that time (until 1982), and as much a Franklin Mint only fantasy denomination as anything real, then suspended for the first 8 years of the Flora and Fauna Series era, then revived for the last 4 years of the Flora and Fauna Series in a nickel brass alloy, and then only slightly modified for its form under the BSP Series era, and changed to a nickel-coated steel configuration for the new series.  Only in various forms beginning with the BSP series did it find its full usefulness as a circulating denomination.  The 10 Piso made its first introduction as a one shot commemorative in 1988, then resurfaced as another commemorative in 2000 and then went straight into service in its 2000 form beginning 2001 as an addition to the BSP series.  Its current form is nickel-coated steel.

Higher Denominations, Twenty-Five Pesos On Up:

Thus far, all higher denominations (25, 50, 100, 150, 200, 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500, 5000, and 10000) have only existed as commemorative coins, non-circulating legal tender, and often of more interest for their silver or gold content than for the events they commemorate.  Thus far, all in this range were struck in the 1974-1999 period, though more may well be added soon.  Even here, one sees the ascending metal prices (or descending value of the Piso) in that coins of a given denomination tend to be smaller over time, and in one case (the 1000 Piso), appearing first in gold in 1975, but then later in silver in 1994, and denominations in general getting higher while being about the same size and alloy, for example many late 500 Piso coins being about the same size and silver alloy as early 25 Piso coins.  Just as with the regular issue denominations, one sees here the dramatic ravages of inflation, seeing the Peso go from a small gold coin with about $100.00 to $200.00 (US) worth of gold (give or take current spot prices for gold) to a small base-metal alloy coin worth not quite 2 Cents (US).  Or again, see how the Centavo went from being a coin of small but definitely usable value for daily commerce to being a record setter in terms of being quite probably the lowest monetary value coin ever struck in all of human history.

P.S. – Please note an erratum in part "#5: Bagong Lipunan & Franklin Mint," regarding the number of 1977 specimen set coins issued by the Franklin Mint.  The number, given twice therein as 341 should be 354.
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