Peru’s central bank has issued a special edition of nuevo sol coins featuring the 19th century poet and revolutionary figure, Mariano Melgar.
The mint issued 5,000 of the collectors’ coins containing one troy ounce of silver which feature a portrait of Melgar accompanied by the words “Hear ye: stop crying, lift your downcast faces,” taken from his “Ode to Liberty.”
Born in Arequipa in 1790, Melgar published dozens of poems and songs before dying at the age of 24. The young poet had joined the revolutionary army of Mateo Pumacahua in the Cusco Rebellion of 1814. Melgar was taken prisoner along with Pumacahua after losing the Battle of Umachiri in what is now the Melgar province of Puno.
The central bank’s statement announcing the coin highlights Melgar’s role in the fight for independence from Spain as well as his literary achievements, “in which his works criticized the social reality of his time and expressed his love for nature, his people, freedom and the tradition of their land.”
The royal Spanish army executed Melgar by firing squad in 1815. The coin’s issue marks the 200th anniversary of his death.
The coin is part of the central bank’s cultural heritage collection commemorating anniversaries and events from Peruvian history. Other coins in the collection feature Jose Carlos Mariategui, Cesar Vallejo and the founding of the El Comercio newspaper.
The bank is selling the one-sol coins for $32.47 with shipping.
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