I call this one of the "invisible countries."  Not
because you can't see it of course, but rather because it
does not excite the interest of masses of numismatists.
This is good for those who collect Colombia, and too bad for
the rest.  It is a notably juicy series with lots of
The nation of Colombia is of course famous of late as a
result of the clandestine marketability of a certain
notorious white powder produced from the leaves of a small
bush.  In living memory the promotional image of Colombia in
the United States of North America was a certain J. Valdez,
mythical coffee small holder.  There is, of course, more to
the story.  More than 30 million people live there.  There
are extensive economic possibilities, most as yet largely
undeveloped.  It has the world's largest platinum deposits.
(Platinum = catalyst = strategic material.)  It has gold.
It has emeralds.  It has oil.  It has meat.  What more could
one ask for in a country?
Unfortunately, the governance of the nation has never
been secure.  Civil war and unstable dictatorship has been
the norm for practically its entire career as an independent
state.  External powers have continuously brought their
interests to bear, chronically aggravating an already
egregious situation. Geography too has always been a
limiting factor - lots of mountains and jungle, less than
salutary climate.  The legacy of the Spanish colonial rule
was rather lugubrious - they took but they did not give,
setting a poor example for the upper classes which have run
Colombian affairs since the departure of the viceroys.  The
dire straits in which the nation finds itself today are
merely a continuation of this sad history of neglect and
The land was of course inhabited by humans before the
Europeans "discovered" it.  Along the Atlantic coast were
groups which lived by fishing and hunting, classed by the
anthropologists as bearers of "Carib" culture.  They did not
do much work in durable materials, died in large numbers
from European diseases, and left very little in the way of
Further to the west, on the Cundinamarca plateau, was
the Chibcha polity.  Chibcha culture was agricultural and
mercantile.  They mined salt, copper, and emeralds, made
pottery and cloth, built roads and bridges, and traded.
They were fond of gold, which they obtained from their
There is a lot of gold in Colombia, and pre-conquest
gold objects exist in relatively large numbers.  Every last
one is subject to Colombian "national patrimony" laws.  On
rare occasions a legal specimen will appear in an art
auction, fetching four or five figures, and always a
bargain.  I'm sure many more illegal pieces exist for the
unscrupulous to acquire, but I myself have never seen the
objects outside of museums.  Too, it's rather difficult to
establish the authenticity of a unique piece of illegal
Pre-Columbian gold jewelry...
Spanish settlements of the land they would come to call
Nuevo Reino de Granada were initiated from Panama.  The port
of Santa Marta was founded in 1525, Cartagena in 1533, the
latter being the same year that Pizarro murdered the Inca
Atahualpa in Peru.  As an indication of the difficulties of
the terrain, the coastal indigenes were not at the time
aware of the existence of the Chibchas to the west.  One
could always hope for another Aztec kingdom ripe for the
taking, couldn't one?  So in 1536 the governor of Santa
Marta commissioned a lawyer, one Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada,
to go exploring in the interior.
The Chibcha had evidently been a semi-literate feudal
monarchy, with a hierarchy of strong-man "chiefs"
culminating in a paramount chief who ruled semi-divinely, as
was the South American habit then.  At the time of the
Spanish penetration there were two paramount chiefs engaging
in a civil war.  By playing politics Quesada was able to
effect a takeover of the entire Chibcha state without
serious losses, though in the actual engagements Chibcha
assets were severely attrited.  In a short but sharp
campaign their command structure was totally disabled,
primarily through the permanent removal of key personnel and
their operative support structure.  Collateral damage was
This was the fabled land of "El Dorado," where the king
would cover himself in gold dust and jump in the lake each
year for a ritual.  The invaders found a lot of gold, not as
much as Pizarro had, but what the heck, they were happy.
Quesada founded Santa Fe de Bogota in 1538.  The territory
was organized as the colony of Nueva Granada in 1549.
Having stolen all the gold jewelry they could find, the
Spanish set out to discover where it came from.  Large gold
mining operations were inaugurated at Popayan in 1536 (which
is to say immediately) and at Antioquia in 1546.  At first
most of the metal was sent up to Mexico for coining and
transshipment home to Spain.  It took more than eighty years
before local coining operations were authorized.
The royal decrees relating to the establishment of
mints at Santa Fe de Bogota and at Cartagena are dated 1620.
The two mints opened a year later.  Both struck coins in
silver and gold.  Cartagena was only fitfully active, and
closed for good around 1665.  Bogota has remained active to
this day.
Nuevo Reino silver is the scarcest of the Spanish
colonial series.  The gold is among the commonest.  The
shape of the cob market today is such that there is
approximately zero chance of you're getting a Nuevo Reino
coin which the dealer has neglected to recognize.  Hence you
can expect to pay an arm and a leg for them.  The gold of
course is a relatively good deal but the dimensions are even
larger.  For most people a fantastic four figure bargain is
still not a bargain.  I was talking with a manufacturer of
cob jewelry the other day.  He told me about the NR
doubloons he was getting real cheap - $900.00 a piece.  My
point of view is that nothing that costs $900.00 is cheap,
but on the other hand he was asking and getting $2200.00 for
the necklaces he was making out of them.  I never meet the
people who wear such things.
The old references list a gold 2 escudos and a silver 4
reales of 1621, but no one alive today has ever seen these.
(Come on, write me a letter!)  NR cobs were mentioned in the
manifest of the Atocha, which sank in 1622, so evidently
coins were struck in that year.  Other dates are rumored to
exist down to 1627.  2 escudos and 8 reales of this latter
year have actually been bought and sold.  Various dates of
gold 2 escudos and silver of various denominations through
the 1630s have also been seen.  The gold is fairly common as
these things go, but any piece in decent condition will
bring near a grand at least.  As for the early silvers, they
hardly ever show up.
In this period both Cartagena and Bogota used mintmark
NR.  Cartagena distinguished its output by the addition of a
pomegranate as a proprietary mark.  After the design change
of 1651, when the pillar type was adopted, a few Cartagena
coins were struck marked "C."  Never mind though.  They're
basically unavailable.
A batch of early 1700s 2 escudos, most undated, have
been salvaged from the wreck of the 1715 plate fleet.  Some
made it to the market, so these are available.
1 escudo coins were introduced in the 1670s, fours and
eights not until the 1740s.  Cobs of these denominations are
much scarcer than the twos.  The fours are the rarest of
all, but are priced so high that they can often be had at a
decent discount.  So the dealer's been sitting on a $5000
coin for a year, maybe he'll take $4000 for it.  Even though
it's a bargain it's still too expensive.
Pillar 8 reales were struck 1759, 1762, and 1769.  1759
is a power coin which only major players can hope to own.
Gets 10 grand.  The other two dates are not available.
There is also a 1760 1 real.  Fakes exist of these "NR"
pillars, and probably if you see one, that's what it is.
Milled gold "wig" coins of Fernando VI were struck from 1756
at Bogota, and from 1755 from the new mint at Popayan.  Once
again the gold of these establishments is the most common of
the entire Spanish colonial series.
Silver portrait coins were struck from 1772 at both
Bogota and Popayan.  Popayan issued silver only
occasionally, and all of it is very, very scarce.  Bogota
portrait silver is very scarce to slightly available.  Coins
which can be obtained by dumb luck (=dumb dealer) or at a
certain price, are the 1772-NR 2 reales and the 1814-P 8
reales.  Perhaps most often seen are the Popayan 2 reales of
1810 and 1819, and the 1822 coin of Pasto, but even these
are hen's teeth coins.  This last is a very romantic piece,
having been struck by the Spanish army during their retreat
to Ecuador, hopelessly referring to Don Fernando as the
"Constitutional" king.  Another case of too little, too
late.  Rounding out the colonial series are the little
silver quarter reales of 1796-1819, which are no easier to
get than any other Nueva Reino coins.  With all of these
late colonial coins we're usually talking about no more than
50 or so of any particular coin.
Independence movements got started in Spanish America
at the time of the occupation of Spain by Napoleon in 1808.
With the Spanish king Fernando VII in jail and Napoleon's
brother Joseph on the throne the colonial governments faced
a dilemma.  Should they be nice little collaborators or
should they stand for legitimacy, however incompetent?  In
Nueva Granada the viceroy declared for Don Fernando, but
throughout the American colonies everything was falling
apart.  When called upon to aid in suppressing a liberation
struggle in Quito the following year, the viceroy's
government refused to comply, though still professing
loyalty to the imprisoned king.  A year later they kicked
the viceroy out of the territory and refused to accept the
authority of the agents of the Spanish regency, still
proclaiming their allegiance.  Piece by piece the entire
region declared autonomy, and in the case of Cartagena and
Cundinamarca, independence in 1811 and 1813 respectively.
An "Act of Federation" had been drawn up, but the
resulting government, (nicknamed in sorrow the "Patria Bobo"
or Silly Fatherland by the admittedly authoritarian
Bolivar), like that of the North Americans under their
Articles of Confederation, was permanently toothless and
insolvent.  Civil wars ensued.  A Spanish army landed in
Venezuela and crushed the revolutionaries, as my references
state, "with terrible severity," in 1816.
The numismatic monuments of this first War of
Independence are the emergency coins of Popayan, Santa
Marta, and the "Libertad Americana" issues of Bogota for
independent Cundinamarca.  A hoard of copper 1813 2 and 8
reales of Popayan was recently discovered in uncirculated
condition, and that is how they're usually found.  The 2
reales actually turns up fairly frequently.  Not so the ½
real, which was not included in the find and is almost never
The 1813 copper ¼ real of the loyalists in Santa Marta
is moderately available.  The two different ½ real types
which accompanied them are almost never offered.  Regarding
the countermarked Mexican portrait 8 reales pictured in the
SCWC, none of my consultants knew anything about it.
The local Cartagena coppers of 1811-14 are reasonably
available as types.  The 1812 2 reales would seem to be
scarce or rare.
These coins are a bit difficult to classify properly
under the current SCWC headings.  There are three distinct
issues, all from Bogota, but of three different governments.
The legends vary but the types are the same.  The first
series was struck by independent Cundinamarca from 1813-16,
the time of the first War of Independence.  Obverse legend
is "Libertad Americana", reverse is "Nueva Granada
Cundinamarca."  ½ real coins of 1814-15 are scarce to rare,
1 real coins are available in low grades, 2 reales are very
scarce.  The Liberty cap ¼ reales which accompany these
coins are scarce.  With the Spanish reoccupation these coins
were proscribed.
Spanish triumph was short lived.  Having quit Nueva
Granada during the Civil War, Simon Bolivar raised another
force in Venezuela.  Teaming up with Jose Antonio Paez and
Francisco Santander he dragged the Liberation army through a
thousand miles of jungle in the rainy season to the
Cundinamarca plateau.  Meeting and defeating the Spanish
army at Boyaca they marched on to liberate Bogota in 1819.
Loyalist remnants in Santa Marta again issued emergency
coins, the copper ¼ real being reasonably common, the silver
2 reales a great rarity.
Under the rubric of the United Provinces of Nueva
Granada the provisional government struck another version of
the famous and popular "Libertad Americana" coins in
1819-21.  These were of the same types as the previous
Cundinamarca coins, save that the reverse inscription became
simply "Nueva Granada".  The 2 reales of 1819 with
denomination around edge are common in low grade.  The other
2 reales type with value in field is rare.  ¼ real coins
appear from time to time, again in low grade, as also the
sought after 8 reales.  Anything nicer than F+ in this
series is rare.  The 1 real is the toughie but even it
occurs from time to time.
The Republic was declared in 1821, and in anticipation
the coin legends were changed starting in 1820.  The Indian
head / pomegranate type remained, with new reading
"Republica de Colombia / Cundinamarca."  The 1821 ½ real has
been seen in low grade, though perhaps not recently.  The 1
real is a bit more common.  1821-BA/JF 2 and 8 reales are
the commonest coins of the type.  There are too many of them
around in low grade.  Some should be melted next silver
bubble.  On these you're doing well with a nice, solid Fine.
Other dates are harder to find.  There's a scarce mule 8
reales of 1820 with Provisional obverse and Republican
Two items of note in the Indian / pomegranate series
are ongoing debasement over the period of their issue, with
extensive contemporary counterfeiting, and the mysterious
pomegranate counterstamps with which they are occasionally
found.  The actual circumstances under which these stamps
were applied is not at this time known, but as all known
examples are on worn coins, the theory that they were
official validations becomes attractive.
The Constitution of 1821 created a nation which
included modern Ecuador and Venezuela.  Simon Bolivar was
named president and vested with extraordinary powers to rule
by decree.  Having assumed power in war, his first
presidential acts had to do with expelling the Spanish from
Venezuela.  He then left to complete the liberation of
Ecuador, thereafter moving on yet again to Peru.  While he
was away from home the mice played and he returned to an
ungovernable country.  It was just one thing after another.
Finally Venezuela seceded in 1830, followed shortly by
Ecuador.  The nation was fairly calm for a few decades
Bogota ¼ reales of this "second" Republic are very
scarce.  Can't even talk about the normal grade in which
they're found, because they're not found.  One can imagine
though.  Genuine dates are 1827 to 1836 with a few gaps.
Dates 1825 through 1827-RS are supposed to be contemporary
counterfeits, but these never show up either.  The 1826 of
Popayan is common in low grade, other dates are scarce or
½ real coins tend to be elusive.  1834-BA is probably
the least so.  Normal grade would be aG, usually sold off as
cheap bargain rarities.  Popayan coins are scarcer.
In Bogota 1 reales it's hard to say which is tougher,
the relatively expensive 1827 or the cheap 1828-RS.
Commonest are the 1833, '35, and '36.  More of the Popayan
dates show up, 1828-RU and 1829-33 are most often seen.
These coins are sometimes found counterstamped with an "R,"
either normal or reversed.  Origin of the counterstamp is
unknown, and usually bumps a worn coin up into the $25+
The 8 reales are all fairly common.  It's a popular
type, the first crown in good silver of Colombia.  Nice
specimens get great prices.  The normal grade, however, is
aVG.  1835 date is frequently found with the "YII"
counterstamp validating it for use in the Philippines.
Most of the gold types of this period can be obtained
if you look for them.  I wouldn't call them common, and many
have been worked over, mounted, demounted, polished, etc.
But at least you can get them.
In 1837 the name of the country was changed from
Colombia back to Nueva Granada, though the government
continued essentially unchanged.  Coin types for the ¼
reales remained as before, but all other denominations were
Bogota ¼ reales are fairly common.  1841 and 1848 are
the scarcest dates, followed by 1837 and 1845.  They even
occur in nice grades!  Popayan quarters, on the other hand,
are hardly ever seen.  There should be a steep price
differential between the two mints.
In ½ reales, the common Bogotas are 1839, '40, '46, and
'47.  Look for unlisted overdates.  The common Popayans are
1838, '39, '45, and both types of 1846.
Bogota 1 reales of 1837-39 and '44-46 are very common
in low grades.  Nice VFs or better are not so common, but
still available.  Popayans are much scarcer.  1844, '45, and
'46/4 are most often encountered.
The common dates for the Bogota 2 reales are 1840, '43,
'44, and '45.  Normal grade is aVG or worse.  A VF would be
scarce.  An AU would be rare.  Popayan twos are rather
scarce, most common being 1842.  Grades are usually
The "Granadino" 8 reales of 1837 is an expensive power
coin. Like all power objects it must be available enough to
be well known, and the coin is actually fairly easy to come
by.  The 1838 date, on the other hand, is basically
The next 8 real type with the wistful motto "Libertad y
Orden" was struck in large numbers and is very common.
Scarcest dates are 1841 and 1846/4.  Normal grade is crummy.
Planchet flaws are common.  The issue was .666 fine, so
tended not to get exported.
All Nueva Granada gold types can be obtained.  I don't
have any information on which are the good dates.  I don't
know anyone who collects old gold by date.  Do you?
An experiment in decimalization was launched in 1847
with the importation of copper coins from England.  These
coins are fairly common, and can be found in nice
uncirculated condition.
In 1848 winds of revolution blowing from Europe ignited
yearning hearts in Nueva Granada and a year later what they
call "disorder" suddenly arose.  It was the year for the
legislature to elect a new president, and they chose, by
dint of much Caesarism, the General Hilario Lopez.  When it
comes reforming time reforms are enacted.  The new
administration abolished slavery and the death penalty,
ended the state tobacco monopoly, and established freedom of
the press and of religion.  A new federal Constitution was
promulgated in 1853, followed a year later by a conservative
coup.  But such was the temper of the time that the military
government found itself forced eventually to put the new
Constitution into effect.
During this troubled period the coinage was gradually
changed from reales to decimos and pesos.  ¼ reales tend to
be rather scarce and usually come in low grade.  ½ reales
are more common, ½ decimos commoner yet.  Ones and twos,
both of reales and decimos, are common, albeit in low grade,
except of course for the abortive date-above-shield type 2
reales of 1847 which never turns up at all.  All three crown
types: 8 reales, 10 reales, and peso, are common in low
grades, and nicer specimens are easy enough to find if you
want to pay the money.  All the gold types can be obtained
if you're patient and generous to the dealers.  For some
reason the 5 peso is always the toughie.
The federal system mandated by the new Constitution was
put in effect in 1858 and the Granadine Confederation was
born.  The hybrid mix of real and decimal values continued.
Most of the silver types are available in the usual low
grades.  The peso is the most common denomination.  A mint
was opened in now notorious Medellin in 1862, at which a
very rare gold 5 peso coin was struck.
The Federation began to dissolve almost immediately.  A
faction seized Bogota in 1861, establishing an "Estados
Unidos de Nueva Granada."  Under this regime the influence
and power of the Catholic church was vigorously attacked.
Anticlericalism was incorporated into the new Constitution
which inaugurated the United States of Colombia in 1863.
USNG coins are limited to a decimo and a peso, both
dated 1861.  Both are available, though somewhat expensive.
A fairly anarchic period followed in which four major
civil wars and hundreds of minor conflicts occurred.  In
coinage, the real was abandoned as a denomination.  Most of
the Bogota silver types are available.  Though average grade
for silver coins is distressingly low, they can be found in
decent condition.  The big coins are more common than the
small coins, and pieces from Bogota are generally more
common than those of Popayan, the products of Medellin being
scarcer still.  Exception to this is the 5 decimos KM161.1,
which is probably the most available Medellin coin.  The
Bogota pesos of 1862-68 are common in low grade.  The other
pesos occur in low grade too, but who wants to pay $100 for
something in VG?  Gold continues to be more available than
other Latin American gold of the period.  5 peso coins are
all rare.  The little 1 and 2 pesos are frequently seen
messed up from jewelry mountings.
The centavo denomination was put into general use
starting in 1872, decimos being slowly phased out.
Virtually all of the silver centavo denominations are
available and reasonably easy to obtain as types, though top
grades remain elusive.  The only Popayan piece, a 50¢ of
1880, is rare.  Most of the Medellin coins are scarce.  In
the final years of this government copper-nickel coins were
introduced.  All are available in uncirculated.  The small
1881 2½¢ is very common.  Copper 2½¢ of 1885 is not so
common, very tough in Unc.
The civil wars of the United States period had been
fought along ideological lines which we would probably
recognize today.  The protagonists of the age were the "old
money" and the "new money," more familiarly nicknamed
respectively "Conservatives" and "Liberals," though at that
time the term "Radical" was used with pride by the latter.
A Conservative rebellion having been crushed in 1876, the
country had gone into a reactive Liberal phase.  Typically
for Colombia, the situation became unruly.  In 1884 the new
president, Rafael Nuñez, made heavy handed and double
dealing attempts to calm the waters.  These failing, a
Liberal revolt was launched later in the year.  In putting
down the insurrection Nuñez was forced into the arms of the
Conservatives, where he had perhaps wanted to be all along.
After the mopping up a new Constitution was promulgated
establishing a strong central government and abolishing the
states.  The Catholic church was restored to its former
privileged position, the various liberal personal freedoms
were rescinded.  The country was supposed to settle down for
a quiet spell of genteel poverty and repression.
Inflation became very serious almost immediately.  A
flood of depreciating paper money was dumped into the
market.  Mint activity was cut, and most coins ended up in
hoards.  Three different types of copper-nickel 5¢ coins
were issued dated 1886.  All are common and available in
AU-Unc.  True Uncs without spots or other problems ought to
be more expensive than the SCWC quotes.  Only a few other
coins were struck through the end of the nineteenth century.
Except for the 1897 Brussels mint 10 and 20¢ (both common)
they were all 50¢.
The Colombian 50¢ coins have been extensively
researched and written up by Restrepo and Burnett..  I
assume this is because there is not a long series of silver
dollars of the period for people to collect.  Generally
speaking, they follow the normal grade curves for the
period: fairly good availability of all but the very rare,
and extremely elusive in Unc.
Liberal rebellion in 1895 was crushed after a few
months.  Another broke out in 1899, this time lasting
several years, and severely straining the oligarchic
government.  It was during this time of national weakness
that the USA contrived to separate Panama from the Colombian
patrimony.  Numismatic relics of the war are the Santander
emergency pieces of 1902.  The 50¢ is most often seen, 10¢
least.  It's a set ripe for counterfeiting, but I know of
none.  Also from 1902 are a common 5¢, a not particularly
common 50¢, and a rare 2½¢.
Normal 50¢ coins were struck 1906-08.  These are
available.  Starting in 1907 the instructive "papel moneda"
coins were issued.  I assume these were made in preparation
for the fiscal reforms which eventually brought the
inflation temporarily under control.  1907 coins are
commonest.  Average grade is fine, planchet problems are
common, uncirculated specimens are rare.
Theoretically there are no impossible coins in this
series.  This is, of course, not true.  The earlier
copper-nickel coins of the teens and twenties are next to
impossible in Unc.  Most dates of the thirties and forties
exist in Unc, but only in small numbers with no backlog of
dealer stock in Colombia or anywhere else.  Exceptionally
common coins are 1¢ 1967, 2¢ 1955-B, 5¢ 1946 small date
(large date is findable), 5¢ 1967, 10¢ 1945-B, 10¢ 1978, 50¢
1911 and 1921, 50¢ 1967.  Finding all the late date minors
would be a difficult task.  The early twentieth century gold
coins uphold the Colombian tradition and are relatively
common.  Late base metal inflation coins denominated in
pesos are all available as types, though some dates have not
been exported in bulk.  Usually the first couple of dates
are stocked in depth, then the dealers and the public lose
interest, missing out on the tail end of a given issue,
which is where the low mintages will usually occur if they
The 25¢ of 1979 deserves a paragraph.  It was struck in
good quantity to facilitate the paying of bus fares in
Bogota, but before its issue the fare was raised.  They were
released to circulation anyway, but like Susan B. Anthony
dollars they had to be forced out, rather than being sucked
up as per the original plan.  Because of this they are not
common, either in circulation or in the collector market.
No one has ever put together a wholesale supply.  They occur
thinly in poundage, hardly ever in choice uncirculated,
often with spots.  I've always gotten five to ten times SCWC
prices for them.
The first of these was struck in 1892, the same year as
the first USA commemorative, and for the same occasion.  The
coin is reasonably available today in nice XF-AU, and is
theoretically undergoing a speculative boomlet in
preparation for the 1992 celebrations.  The next piece was
the 1956 peso for Popayan.  This handsome piece is common in
Unc.  Not so the 1960 coins recalling the original uprising
against the Spaniards in 1810.  You occasionally find the
little ones circulated in "poundage," otherwise they're
fairly scarce.  There are good wholesale supplies of the
1965 coins memorializing the populist hero Gaitan,
assassinated in 1948.  The "Eucharistic Congress" 5 pesos of
1965 is also common, and I believe the companion gold coins
can also be found without too arduous a search.  The 1969
Bolivar gold set is less available.
1971 sports coins are actually a bit scarce.  At least
it seems so to me.  Even the cheap 5 peso is not something
you can just go and buy ten of them any time you need them
like the Eucharistic Congress coin.  And each of the gold
coins has added topical interest: athletes, mythical themes,
naked people, indigenous art, and so are in demand.  I think
I've seen the 500 peso offered once in the last ten years.
1973 and '75 gold coins are not particularly common.
People weren't interested in them then, and conceivably
still aren't now.  1978 Conservation coins are available,
both gold and silver.  I had heard that someone "Japanese"
was buying up all the gold coins of this series from all
issuing countries.  Can't imagine why, and I think there are
still enough around if you want to get them.  A few more
gold coins were struck in the eighties and are not
particularly easy to find.
These are famous by virtue of being available.  At
least some of them are.  The common ones are 2¢, 5¢, and the
brass 50¢ of 1921.  There is some wholesale of these.
Average grades are VG, G, aG.  Specimens better than XF are
unknown to me.  As far as I'm concerned the 1901 and 1907
issues are rare.
There is an extensive pattern series for the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries to the present moment.  The only
ones which show up regularly are the 2¢ "state" coins of
1890.  These are European fantasies.  All the official
patterns are rare.
Colombia has always been a nation of token makers.
Fichas de Colombia - Numismalia, by Enrique Bernal M., lists
over 600, and Sr. Bernal opines that several thousand types
may exist.  In my corner of the market Colombian tokens are
not common.  Chilean and Uruguayan tokens are common among
the South American states, but not Colombian.  This local
scarcity is no doubt due to the lack of attention paid by
travelers in Colombia to the contents of the bowls in the
junky antique shops there.  I await the return of such
travelers with packets filled with grubby corroded tokens
rather than white powder or brown beans.
Louis Hudson gave me the courtesy of a long discussion on
the colonials.  I hope I got it right.  David Fiero kindly
provided comprehensive "frequency of appearance" data which
formed the basis for the 19th century discussion, as well as
showing me where to go for information on the tokens and
patterns.  I wish I had knowledgeable informants like these
for every country.  Any specialists out there, I'd really
appreciate your assistance in the preparation of these
summaries.  Please get in touch.