coinsbygary's Blog

18 Nov 2019

1937 Was a Very Bad Year for this Coin

Coins-World | coinsbygary

The 1937 Euzkadi (Basque Country) 1-peseta coin minted in Brussels, Belgium has a mintage of 7,000,000. The coin is struck in nickel, weighs 4 grams, and is 22mm in diameter. The obverse device portrays a bust of Lady Liberty wearing a Phrygian Cap. The legend, “GOBIERNO DE EUZKADI” is properly translated, “Government of Basque Country.” The AB monogram underneath the obverse bust is for engravers, A. Bonnetain and A. Everaerts. The reverse device features a closed wreath with the value 1 peseta and the date 1937 in the middle. On April 1, 1939, the day the nationalists took Spain and the civil war ended, the 1937 Euzkadi 1-peseta was demonetized.

Catalonia and the Basque Country have enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy in the Spanish Kingdom. As such, they supported the republicans in the Spanish Civil War against the nationalists led by Francisco Franco. Furthermore, like the other autonomous belligerents in the Spanish Civil War, they issued their own coins. The 1937 1-peseta is one of those coins.

The Spanish Civil War lasted from 1936-1939. Having failed to take the City of Madrid early in 1936, the nationalists set their sights on the softer targets of republican resistance. This strategy made the Basque Country situated in far northeast Spain a prime target considering the natural resources vital to the war the Basque Country controlled.

On April 26, 1937, the German Condor Legion of the Luftwaffe mercilessly bombed the small Basque Country town of Guernica. The German “terror bombing” of this small town of 7,000 lasted almost two hours and destroyed three-quarters of the town killing hundreds of people. The nationalists moved in shortly thereafter with no resistance cutting off republican retreat in the nationalist battle for the strategic city Bilboa. For Francisco Franco’s German and Italian allies, the Spanish Civil War became an insidiously brutal laboratory to hone evolving military strategies. The bombing of Guernica helped Nazi Germany develop what would later be called, “the blitzkrieg.” The bombing of Guernica became the subject of an anti-war protest Picasso entitled “Guernica”. The painting was exhibited at the 1937 Paris International Exhibition.

Sometimes what is needed most in distressing times are momentary distractions from the day to day realities of life. Sports can provide such a distraction. In times of war, sports teams can also become ambassadors of goodwill. Such was the case with the national Basque Country football (soccer) team. Strangely, while the bombs were falling in Guernica the Basque Country Football Team was playing soccer in France. As the war wore on the team helped to increase worldwide awareness of the atrocities of war occurring in their homeland. The team also supplied an income to the Basque Country to help refugees flooding into their country. The huge numbers of refugees are an often-hidden tragedy of war. The Basque Country football team played their last match to a 4-4 tie in Paraguay on June 18, 1939. After their final game, they disbanded and were paid 10,000 pesetas to start new lives wherever they could since many of them did not want to return to a Spain ruled by Francisco Franco.





Level 4

The Basque are a fascinating people. I didn't know they made coins.

It's Mokie

Level 6

What a simple and attractive coin and a great history surrounding its issuance. Thanks Again Gary, you always provide nourishment to the Numismatist's brain.


Level 6

I enjoyed the blog. I like that you provide us a brief history lesson. thanks.


Level 6

Great blog Gary. Full of interesting history. I like the sports connection. Too bad we can't get away from politics today with sports. You have a fantastic set going. Thanks for sharing them with us..


Level 7

It won't be long till y?oh have this wonderful set. I like the fact that sports played a role in this. Yes it can be a distraction. Like the Christmas day truss in world war one were the Germans and Brutish played soccer. .I like this series allot and always pick something up. Thanks for sharing your extensive knowledge of these coins.


Level 4

interesting coin and story!

We use cookies to provide users the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume that you agree to receive all cookies on money.org. You may disable cookies at any time using your internet browser configuration. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use. To learn more about how we use cookies and to review our privacy policy, click here.