Obverse Design The legend "LA BERLINA" curves along the top. The legend "SEGUNDO DIAZ" curves along the bottom. The legend "HORQUETA" goes across the middle. Above and below the name "HORQUETA" are ornaments. The ornaments look like narrow bows or a dash dot dash. The token has denticles along the edge and a smooth plain raised edge.
Reverse Design The legend "VALE POR UNA LATA DE CAFE" (GOOD FOR ONE CAN OF COFFEE) starts at the bottom and curves along the top of the token. At the bottom is an ornament that looks like a narrow bow or a dash dot dash. In the center is a large number "1". The number has many horizontal lines going across inside it. The token has denticles along the edge and a smooth plain raised edge.
Metal Brass. Weight About 6 grams. Size and Shape Round, 28.6 mm in diameter.
Dates Issued Unknown, but probably sometime between 1915 and 1927.
Issurer Segundo Díaz.
Mintage Unknown.
Rarity Common. Manufacturer Unknown, but likely made in the United States. Other Catalog Numbers Asociación Numismático's F-271, Conte Porras page #103, #104, #111 and #112, Rulau's Chq 28 and Schimmel #9.
Varieties Only the one lata denomination is known, although the book Boquete: Rasgos de su Historia states that 1/2 lata and 1/4 lata denominations were also issued. There is one other variety known, which is the same token with an off-center hole placed at the base of the "1" on the right-hand side. Most likely the hole was added by Segundo Díaz as an inexpensive way to create another denomination. Perhaps the holed tokens were valued at 1/2 lata.
Function Coffee plantation token. The token would be given a worker for filling a "lata" with raw green coffee beans. A "lata" was a metal box about one cubic foot in size. On payday the tokens would be turned in for money. In many cases the tokens could also be redeemed at the plantation general store.
Population Count Sixteen specimens of this token in collector hands are known to me (counting only those without the hole). Recent sales include:
  1. Auction sale on ebay on June 5, 2001 for $12.77.
  2. Auction sale on ebay on August 30, 2001 for $15.00.
  3. Auction sale on ebay on January 6, 2003 for $16.02.
  4. Auction sale on ebay on January 18, 2003 for $13.12.
  5. Auction sale on ebay on August 10, 2003 for $7.99.
  6. Auction sale on ebay on October 29, 2003 for $20.00.
  7. Auction sale on ebay on January 15, 2004 for $7.00.
  8. Auction sale on ebay on April 15, 2004 for $6.05.
  9. Auction sale on ebay on May 13, 2004 for $21.70.
  10. Auction sale on ebay on December 29, 2005 for $22.39.

Segundo Díaz was born on October 13, 1884 in the Fresno valley in Tolima, Colombia. He joined the military and was sent to Panama in 1903 to put down the separatist uprising in Panama. Panama obtained its independence anyway, and the Colombians were given a choice of returning to Colombia or settling in Panama. Segundo Díaz chose to stay in Panama, but interestingly enough never gave up his Colombian citzenship.

In 1909 Segundo Díaz and two close friends, José Mercedes Miranda and Ambrosio Castillo established three fincas next to each other in Horqueta (near Boquete). The three men would spend two days working at each finca in turn. The finca of Segundo Díaz was named "La Berlina", and was about 80 acres in size. Also in 1909 Segundo Díaz married Antonia Taylor, a granddaughter of Pedro Ledesma. Antonia's uncle Nemesio Ledesma was a near neighbor and coffee grower who also issued tokens. Segundo and Antonia raised a family of six children. Segundo Díaz died on June 25, 1961.

Segundo Díaz had done well with Finca La Berlina. By the early 1930's La Berlina was producing a well-recognized, quality coffee. However, during financial hard times the family was forced to sell the coffee plantation. The sale was conducted by Segundo's eldest son Manuel, so perhaps it occurred after Segundo's death in 1961. In 1996 the finca was purchased by Plinio Ruiz, and it is now managed by the Ruiz family. It produces La Berlina Estate Coffee which has been recognized as the top Panamanian coffee.

This token is almost identical to several other Boquete finca tokens such as the Sittón and Castillo token, the Emilio Kant token, the Nemesio Ledesma token and the Aurelio Rovira token. It is known that the Ledesma token was manufactured in the United States. Since Sittón and Castillo did business with United States merchants, perhaps they found the token manufacturer in the United States and placed orders for themselves and the other four coffee growers.