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Alfonso XII: Blessed is the PEACEMAKER.....

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Alfonso Francisco de Asis Fernando Pio Juan Maria de la Concepcion Gregorio Pelayo or simply Alfonso XII was known as El Pacificador or the Peacemaker reigned from 1874 to 1885. He was the son of Queen Isabella II, and presumably her consort, the Duque de Cadiz Alfonso. Both the Queen and her son, Alfonso XII went into exile after the Queen "bitch" was deposed through a revolution in 1868. It was during this 4 year exile that Alfonso pursued his studies until finally regaining the throne in 1874.

Alfonso XII had a reputation of being a peacemaker because it was during his short reign as King where peace was established both at home and abroad, finances were well regulated, and the various administrative services were placed that enabled Spain to pass through the disastrous war with the US without a threat of revolution at home. Thus, it was during his short reign as a young King where he provided hope to the Spanish people. Hope for a stable constitutional monarchy in Spain which spread throughout the Spanish Kingdom.

Alfonso died in November 1885, just short of his 28th birthday. His cause of death was thought to be tuberculosis as he had been suffering from that dreaded disease for quite awhile but it was later blamed on dysentery, which was also prevalent at that time.

My hunt for this medal was an accident, as I had not known it existed until I got copy of the 2nd edition of Honeycutt's book. I had stumbled upon the medal in an auction site in Spain and did not hesitate to get it as it seemed to be the only medal in Google, and the only images and information of this medal referred specifically to this exact piece. I purchased the medal back in April and it took more than 4 months for it to land in Philippine soil. The medal finally arrived in the Philippines after flying to Madrid with a short stopover in Barcelona and then, because of some custom and courier issues back to Madrid. From Madrid it found its way to a friend in Texas who was kind enough to send the medal to my US address in Delaware. It stayed a couple of weeks in Texas given the riots that had enveloped the city then and caused the post office service to hold any shipments out of the state. Finally, after 4 months the medal landed safely in it's permanent home in Makati City, Philippines.

The medal has a beautiful and yet simple design to celebrate a very important King in the history of Spain. His importance is emblazoned on the obverse of the medal where the words “Alfonso XII El Pacificador Rey De Espana” translated as “Alfonso XII: The Peacemaker King of Spain” and the words “FILIPINAS” located at the bottom. This was an important element for me, given that my collection centers around mostly Philippine pieces, and with the number of Alfonso XII commemorative pieces circulating in Spain, I was getting a little frustrated in finding one specifically for the Philippines.

The medal was designed by Estruch, the same designer who designed the earlier 1876 Jolo medal referenced as H-20 on the third edition book “Philippine Medals & Tokens: 1780-2020” by E. Honeycutt. Both medals have the same bust of Alfonso with the signature of the engraver situated at the bottom.

The reverse has the dates of Alfonso’s birth and death, which makes me believe that this medal was struck to commemorate his death in 1885.

The medal is a silvered bronze medal that has a diameter of 40mm and weighs around 32 grams with some slight toning on the right side of the reverse. I sent in the medal to NGC to have graded two months ago, and it finally arrived today slabbed and housed in a new case, labelled and referenced as Honeycutt-70...and is currently the plate medal for this 3rd edition and probably future editions. The grade though was a little disappointing as NGC had given it an AU-details grade specifically mentioning the words "Tooled." This could probably be because of the peeled planchet on the reverse portion of the medal. I was hoping that NGC would attribute it as a "peeled planchet mint error" however, there are not a lot of medals that have been attributed by the TPGs as having an error. In fact, I do not know of any medal that has an attributed error. The important thing is that it has been proven as an authentic piece commemorating the death of a young king who played a big, albeit short role in the history of Spain.


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