In a tribute to the seafarers who valiantly fought for the independence of a new republic on the high seas, Colombia’s central bank – Banco de la República – has issued a commemorative coin that is now available to the public. The new 10,000 peso coin was minted with details of the historic Naval Battle of Lake Maracaibo, which marked the birth of the nation’s naval forces.
This coin showcases the image of Admiral José Padilla López, who on July 24, 1823, defeated the Spanish Royal Navy in what is today Venezuela’s largest lake. Crafted with precision, the coin is an alloy of copper, nickel, and zinc.
With a diameter of 30 millimeters, the coin also features the insignia of the Colombian Navy, consisting of three equal stripes and the nation’s coat of arms. Alongside the inscriptions “Republic of Colombia,” year 2023, and a unique security feature that displays “BR” and the numeral “10” from different angles, the coin captures the essence of Colombia’s maritime history.
The reverse side of the coin bears the poignant words of Admiral Padilla: “To Die or Be Free. This phrase originated from a proclamation he addressed to his troops before embarking on the historic battle. The coin further commemorates “July 24, Colombian Navy Day,” and proudly displays “1823-2023” as a testament to the battle’s bicentennial.
Completing the design is an image of a sailing ship with billowing sails. The clash between the fleets led by Colombian Admiral José Padilla and Spanish Commander Laborde resulted in a fierce confrontation. Ultimately, Laborde was compelled to surrender and retreat due to the unwavering resolve of the Creole patriots.
As the echoes of this military victory continue to resonate, reminding us of the sacrifices that paved the way for Colombia’s independence, the Central Bank has produced 200,000 units of this beautiful piece, and its release also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the bank’s founding. The 10,000-peso coin can be purchased by appointment on the Banco de la República’s website.
A special edition presentation – black felt box and booklet – is worth COP$19,000. Only three coins are allowed per customer.