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Héctor Carlos Janson, the Greatest Argentine Coin Collector

September 30, 2019. Héctor Carlos Janson, the coin collector who donated the most important collection of Argentine patriotic coins to our museum in 2017, died in Santa Fe yesterday. Janson, the honorary life tenure president of the Academia Argentina de Numismática y Medallística, and author of the book La Moneda Circulante en el Territorio Argentino, was the most important private coin collector of Argentina.

“This was the best decision I’ve taken in my whole life”, Janson said after handing over his collection, which he had gathered over more than 50 years of hard work and research. Thus, his collection became part of our collective heritage. On May 30, 2017, on the 76th anniversary of the Central Bank’s museum, Janson signed a deed of donation of more than 2,800 gold, silver and bronze pieces in a public ceremony where he was cheered by his family, friends, colleagues and authorities from the Central Bank. To show appreciation and recognition for his contribution of priceless historical value to the public cultural heritage, the Numismatic and Historical Museum changed its name to “Héctor Carlos Janson”.

The gold coin 2 Escudos stands out in the collection of more than 2,800 coins in superb state of preservation that Janson had classified at home in Wheelwright, Santa Fe. Naturally, it became the most valuable piece in our museum. It was coined in 1813 at the Mint House of Potosí by General Manuel Belgrano following orders of the Assembly of the Year XIII. The obverse side shows the seal of the General Constituent Assembly, and the reverse features the Patriotic Sun. There are only two examples of this first patriotic coin, the other gold pieces have, assumingly, been melted along history. In addition, this invaluable collection holds Los tapados de Quiroga, a gold Patacón and ½ Argentine peso from 1881, the purported legal tender coins (“monedas de pretensión”) minted under the order of the self-appointed “King of Araucanía and Patagonia”, and the coins divided in quarters which circulated during the War of the Triple Alliance in Paraguay, among others.

Héctor Carlos Janson Numismatic and Historical Museum and its collection is open to the public Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 4 pm at San Martín 216, City of Buenos Aires. Admission is free.

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