The Numismatic Collection

The numismatic collection dates back to 1828, when the Costa Rica Mint was founded. The Central Bank of Costa Rica came into possession of coins minted there in 1950. Currently, the coin collection includes specimens that span from 1516 to the present, as well as banknotes issued by both private and state banking institutions. It also includes dies, documents, photographs, and tokens from several coffee farms and private companies that used them as private means of payment.

Its coin collection has a total of 1,500 specimens that go from 1516 to the present, and include coins used during the Conquest and Colonial periods, such as gold excelentes, escudos and onzas, as well as silver reals; it also includes coins used during the Republic — gold escudos, onzas and pesos, and silver centavos —, and finally, the more recent colón, the official currency in Costa Rica since 1896. This collection is complemented by tokens, proofs and patterns that inspired the coins currently in circulation in Costa Rica, as well as dies (steel pieces used to strike patterns on coins).

The banknote collection has more than 900 specimens issued by various banking institutions and by the Costa Rican government from 1858 up to the present. It also includes a significant group of 01 series banknotes issued by banking institutions, such as The Anglo-Costa Rican Bank, the Bank of Costa Rica, the Internacional Bank of Costa Rica, the Mercantile Bank of Costa Rica, the Commercial Bank of Costa Rica, and the Central Bank of Costa Rica. This addition was possible thanks to the Jaime Solera Bennett family, who donated his private collection in 1997.

The token collection has roughly 2,000 tokens from several coffee farms and other companies that used this means of payment as private currency.

These collections have been studied to understand the history of Costa Rican currency, and its relation to the economic, political and cultural development of the periods in which they circulated.

The Numismatic Museum

The Numismatic Museum as such was inaugurated in 1990, named after Jaime Solera Bennett, who stood out for his entrepreneurial work as president of the Central Bank of Costa Rica. Solera’s interest in numismatics led him to promote the development of the Central Bank collections. He personally amassed one of the best banknote collections in Costa Rica, which his family donated to the Museum in 1997.

Currently, the Jaime Solera Bennett Numismatic Museum and its permanent exhibition, Del real al colón: historia de la moneda de Costa Rica (From the Real to the Colón: The History of Costa Rican Currency)  showcases the evolution of the different means of payment from 1502 to the present in a very dynamic way.