How much is known about the commemorative ¢500 coin in Costa Rica?

    Learn here the details of the design, purpose, history, and more about the coin for the 175th anniversary of the Republic, which you can now acquire...

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    Due to the celebration of last August 31st, for the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Costa Rica, the Central Bank (BCC) came up with a design for the ¢500 coin.

    The special coin in its reverse side has a value (of 500) and five bars in the lower part, it has the initials of the BCC as security; on its reverse side, it has the Coat of Arms of the Republic of 1.849 and the current National Coat of Arms.

    Made of copper, zinc, and nickel, it measures 28 centimeters in diameter and weighs 10.5 grams.

    4,000 collector’s copies went on sale on August 22. The president of the Central Bank of the Central American country, Rogel Madrigal, said that in September another 2.5 million coins will be issued, which will circulate with market value.

    It should be noted that the 500 coins are the preferred coins for savings in Costa Rican households.

    Design experts assured that the coin has similar characteristics to the one issued in 2021, although the 2023 coin is different because of its color image on the reverse and that it is being sold in different parts of the country.

    Do they have a cost and where can they be purchased?

    The coins can be purchased at the BCCR Museums (under the Plaza de la Cultura), Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, Banco Popular, BAC Credomatic de San José, Coope Ande, Mutual Cartago, Grupo Mutual and Promérica.

    The cost of the copies is ¢12,500.

    The design, the artist, and the point of view

    The well-known Costa Rican artist José María Castro Madriz was in charge of the design of this year’s coin.

    The designer shares names and surnames with the politician, lawyer, philosopher, and Costa Rican diplomat and founder of the Republic of Costa Rica, the last head of state from 1847 to 1848. To elaborate the design proposal he resorted to the thoughts and life of the man who was also the first president and then repeated another period of government in what is now considered worldwide as a tropical paradise.

    According to the artist, “It was not easy to capture 175 years in the commemorative coin, which will pass from hand to hand reminding each person of the immense joy of belonging to a republic founded on the rule of law and the common good”.

    According to Castro Madriz, the content of the coin is a jump between 1848 and 2023.

    José María Castro Madriz was born 47 years ago in Moravia; he studied Graphic Design at the University of Costa Rica in 1995, specializing in numismatic design, and after a decade he got his chance to produce the national coin, an experience he enjoyed to the fullest.

    A glimpse into the past

    The following is a chronological account of the history of Costa Rican currency.

    Manuel Chacón, a prominent curator of Numismatics of the Museums of the Central Bank, informed that when José María Castro Madriz promoted the decree to make Costa Rica a Republic in 1848, he assured that the country would have its currency. Said decree designated a new flag, coat of arms, and type of currency. 

    In 1849 he informed about the first design -in a provisional manner-, with characteristics such as a coffee bush on one side and the other side a young Indian girl, which although it is not known with certainty what it means, could be the young Republic of Costa Rica.

    The following year, in 1,850, the first coins began to circulate because the dies that allowed their production had to be brought from abroad.

    6,000,000 coins were issued in the first collectible edition also designed by the artist Castro, which to the knowledge of the president of the BCCR, “should be circulating, but citizens have decided to leave them as a souvenir”.

    It has been a constant feature of Costa Rican coins and those of other nations, to give them a sense of patriotism.

    Resonance Costa Rica
    At Resonance, we aspire to live in harmony with the natural world as a reflection of our gratitude for life. Visit and subscribe at Resonance Costa Rica Youtube Channel

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