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5 Centavos 1892, Argentina

in Krause book Number: 213
Years of issue: 01.05.1892
Signatures: Director: D. Miguel Cuyar, Presidente de la Caja de Conversion: Ventura Cárdenas
Serie: 1891 Issue
Specimen of: 29.09.1891
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 95 х 57
Printer: Compania Sud-Americana de Billetes de Banco, Buenos Aires

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

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5 Centavos 1892




5 Centavos 1892

Nicolas Avellaneda

The engraving on banknote is, probably, made from this portrait of Nicolás Avellaneda. The date and an author of the photo are unknown.

Nicolás Remigio Aurelio Avellaneda Silva (3 October 1837 – 24 November 1885) was an Argentine politician and journalist, and president of Argentina from 1874 to 1880. Avellaneda's main projects while in office were banking and education reform, leading to Argentina's economic growth. The most important events of his government were the Conquest of the Desert and the transformation of the City of Buenos Aires into a federal district.

Born in San Miguel de Tucumán, his mother moved with him to Bolivia after the death of his father, Marco Avellaneda, during a revolt against Juan Manuel de Rosas. He studied law at Córdoba, without graduating. Back at Tucumán he founded El Eco del Norte, and moved to Buenos Aires in 1857, becoming director of the El Nacional and editor of El Comercio de la Plata. He finished his studies at Buenos Aires, meeting Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. Sarmiento helped him to become teacher of economy at the University of Buenos Aires. He wrote "Estudio sobre las leyes de tierras públicas" (Spanish: Study of the laws about public lands), proposing to give the lands to producers that make production from them. This system, similar to the one employed at the United States, suggested to reduce bureaucracy and pointed that this would allow stable populations and population growth.

He was a member of the house of representatives in 1859 and Minister of Government of Adolfo Alsina in the Buenos Aires province in 1866. During Domingo Faustino Sarmiento's presidency, he was Minister of Justice and Education. He implemented the educational reform that was defining of his government.

Avellaneda attained the presidency in 1874 but had its legitimacy contested by Bartolomé Mitre and supported by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. Mitre deployed the army against Avellaneda but was defeated by Julio Argentino Roca. Mitre was held prisoner and judged by military justice, but Avellaneda indulted him in order to promote pacification. He also included Rufino de Elizalde and José María Gutiérrez, supporters of Mitre, as members of his cabinet.

In line with people like Alberdi or Sarmiento, who thought that European immigration was crucial to the Argentine development, he promoted the "Avellaneda law" that allowed European farmers ease to get terrains. The immigration numbers were doubled in a few years.

Having won the revolution and bringing peace to the country, Avellaneda faced the serious economic crisis, centering his efforts on the control of the land with the Conquest of the Desert and expanding the railroads, the cereal and meat exports, and the European immigration, specially to Patagonia. During his presidency, the economy of Argentina was seriously affected by the European crisis putting the country on the edge of debt default. Deciding to take Argentina from its debts, he said that "[...]there are two million Argentines who would economize even to their hunger and thirst to fulfill the promises of our public commitments in the foreign markets". He reduced the budget and applied a weak protectionism. The crisis was eventually fixed with the growing exports of refrigerated meat to Europe, a new developing industrial method of the time.

A prolific writer, his works have been published in 12 volumes.

Aged 37, he was the youngest Argentine president ever elected. He had served in the Argentine Senate for five months in 1874 and returned to the Senate in 1883 until his death. He died on a ship returning from medical treatment in France.

On the left side is the coat of arms of Argentina.

coat of arms of Argentina

The coat of arms of the Argentine Republic (Escudo de la República Argentina) was established in its current form in 1944, but has its origins in the seal of the General Constituent Assembly of 1813.

It is unknown who designed the coat of arms. It is often mentioned that there were three men involved: Alvear, Monteagudo, and Vieytes, but it is known that a few years before, President Bernardino Rivadavia asked the Peruvian Antonio Isidoro Castro to create an Argentine coat of arms; however, the two schemes have never been found.

The coat of arms is a figure, in which at the top we find the gold-yellowed Sun of May, also found on the flag of Argentina. The rising sun symbolizes the rising of Argentina, as described in the first version of the Argentine National Anthem, se levanta a la faz de la tierra una nueva y gloriosa nación, meaning "a new and glorious nation rises to the surface of the Earth". It must be noticed how the verb "rise", and so in Spanish, can be used to describe the motion of the Sun.

In the center ellipse there are two shaking hands, connoting the unity of the provinces of Argentina. The hands come together to hold a pike, which represents power and willingness to defend freedom, epitomized by the Phrygian cap on the top of the spear.

The blue and white colors are symbols of the Argentine people and the same colors of the Argentine flag. The blue half of the ellipse symbolizes the sky and the white one denotes the Río de la Plata.

The hands are flesh coloured and stand for friendship, peace, unity, and brotherhood. The pike is brown (wooden), and the Phrygian cap is red, like the traditional French liberty cap. The proximity of the hands and the Phrygian cap, in addition to their individual meanings, represent the national motto of Argentina, en unión y libertad ("in unity and freedom"), and illustrate the idea that in unity (the hands) there is power (the pike), and in power there is freedom (the Phrygian cap).

The Phrygian cap was typically worn by the inhabitants of Phrygia, in the Anatolian peninsula, and is commonly mistaken for being a Pileus. The Pileus was a hat that in ancient Rome became a symbol of freed slaves, who were touched by their owners with a wooden pike before setting them free.

Laurel is another classical symbol. At the end of the ancient Olympic Games (and also the 2004 Summer Olympics), the winner was given a laurel crown, and since then it has symbolized triumph and glory.

Denominations in words are centered and at the bottom, in numerals are in all corners.


5 Centavos 1892


Female allegory of Liberty by the French artist Eugène André Oudiné.

The first representation of an allegorical figure to appear on Argentine banknotes was the goddess Athena (historical symbol of Athenian democracy), commissioned by the National Bank of the United Provinces of Río de la Plata during the Cisplatine War. The Greek goddess also appeared in banknotes issued by the National Bank during the governorship of Juan Manuel de Rosas in the Buenos Aires Province. However, the first figure to transmit a sense of regionality is displayed in a series of banknotes printed by Britain and emitted by the Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires in 1867, where a young woman is seen holding a shovel in her left hand and a shepherd's crook in her right hand (representations of agriculture and animal husbandry, respectively).

In some of the first peso moneda nacional banknotes, various unidentified female figures showing her legs or her chest appear, "as the seductive image of a State that attracts citizens via women". The monetary reorganization, that begun during the first presidency of Julio Argentino Roca, imposed the use of designs which were developed as to have a greater permanence in time. Two allegorical figures present in the first unified issues of currency and banknotes, the Bust of Liberty and the Effigy of Progress, would be recurring in later releases.

One of the most recurrent figures in Argentine currency is the Effigy of Liberty by the French artist Eugène André Oudiné, which shows the profile of a woman with a serene face, abundant hair loose to the wind and a Phrygian cap. Oudiné carved his Effigy of Liberty in 1881, by order of the engineer Eduardo Castilla, first president of the Casa de Moneda, to illustrate the reverse of the coins of the peso moneda nacional, whose creation was enacted that same year to unify the monetary system of country. The Liberty of Oudiné was present in monetary emissions without interruption until 1942, when it was replaced by a modern bust made in 1940 by French sculptor Lucien Bazor. However, it reappears in the emission of 1957, and is present in subsequent designs of peso ley, peso Argentino and austral.

Denominations in numerals are on right and left sides.