Numismatic Museum Havana Cuba

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Calle Obispo No. 305
Ciudad de La Habana
Tel: +53 (0)7 861 5811

The Numismatic Museum reopened in a 1915 building that was the previous headquarters of the Banco Mendoza in Old Havana.The Museum was created in December 1975 as a cultural institution after a resolution of the National Bank of Cuba.

The Permanent Exhibition

The Museum has a permanent exhibition of approximately 1,500 coins, which is the largest collection of Cuban coins. It is divided into historical sections of Cuba’s history, representing the Spanish colonization (1511-1898), American intervention (1898-1902), Cuban Republic (1902-1959), and the triumph of the 1959 Revolution up to the present. In addition, visitors can also view decorations, medals, bonds, lottery tickets, numismatic documents and forgeries confiscated in the country. In short, the Museum provides a complete look at Cuba’s numismatics history.

Cuban Republic’s First Currency

On display are examples from the first Cuban Republic’s currency system, with its first gold and silver issues of 1915 and 1916, the silver certificates (certificados de plata) as the first banknotes of the Republic of Cuba starting in 1934, the creation of the National Bank (Banco Nacional de Cuba, 1948) and its first issue (1949), and the issues after the triumph of the 1959 Revolution. Also on display are medals, awards, and cards that were given in sugar mills as a money substitute. The Museum also features a collection of bills signed in 1869 by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, an early revolutionary, which was the first attempt of the then-created republic in arms to have its own currency.

Coins Donated by Fidel Castro

In 2004, Cuban President Fidel Castro donated a thousand gold coins to the Museum, consisting of 920 $20 pieces minted in the United States between 1869 and 1928, and 80 Mexican 50-pesos coins struck between 1925 and 1945. The coins themselves were a 1985 gift to Castro from a Swiss biologist living in Canada and are on display in the Museum. Besides coins that illustrate Cuban history, there are coins from the ancient world from between the 7th and the 1st centuries BC,in addition to coins from LatinAmerican countries, Spain, and other cultures.

In addition to its numismatic exhibition, the Museum also has a specialized library and offers services for professional assessment of numismatic items.

This text was written by Howard M. Berlin and first published in his book Numismatourist in 2014.

You can order his numismatic guidebook at Amazon.

Howard M. Berlin has his own website.

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