Bank Note: History of the Coffee Exportation in Costa Rica 1890

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This 5 colones note was in circulation from 1968 to 1992 in Costa Rica. It was placed on sale at the Expo 86 Costa Rica pavilion and the envelope and note sold for 2 dollars. The note is dated 16(?)-10-1985. So it really must have circulated just after it was issued.

It shows an allegorical painting in the National Theatre by a “J. Villa” (as credited on the banknote) in 1897 which is in the National Theatre. The Wikipedia website states that the painting was done by a Milanese artist named Aleardo Villa (1865-1906). Perhaps his first name is spelt differently in Spanish.

The theatre is a Costa Rican point of pride and apparently does have a high quality of artistic criteria in terms of performances according to Wikipedia. The National Symphonic Orchestra performs there. At the time of construction (1891-1897), San Jose, the capital city, had a population of only 19,000 people. Funds for the construction of the structure were raised by tax on coffee exports, which were doing a very good business at the time.

The Wikipedia article does mention the appearance of the painting on the 5 colon note.

Aleardo Villa was a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera and first exhibited in that location in 1891. A few years after doing so he turned to graphic advertising. He committed suicide at the age of 41. He was the first person to “make postcards” in Italy for the House of Ricordi.

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My guess is that some Costa Rican  pavilion staff member was responsible for the writing on the envelope. I am not sure whether I applied the Costa Rican pavilion handstamp before sale or whether the handstamp was applied by staff before sale. It was nearby on the same table, I believe.

Raphael Yglesias Castro was president of Costa Rica from 1894 to 1902. His father was the founder of the republic, Jose Maria Castro. He was a very active President and completing the building of the theatre was only one of his major projects.

~Duff Malkin


About Julian Ticehurst

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