Below is a catalog
or list of all known Uno y Cuarto Centésimos coins issued by Panama. This
is a very short list, as the denomination was only issued in one year.
History of the Denomination
The Uno y Cuarto Centésimos (one and a fourth cents) denomination is arguable the most
unusual and interesting of all the denominations issued by Panamá. The denomination
was issued to help the money of the lowest wage earners in Panamá go further.
In 1940, Panamá was still suffering from the effects of the great worldwide depression
of the 1930's. Among
the more impoverished people, it was normal (and perhaps still is) to make one or more trips to
local small general stores and purchase food for the day. Prices in 1940 were such that five
centésimos could easily purchase enough rice to feed a family one or more meals. The small
stores frequently had items priced at two for five centésimos or four for five centésimos.
If a buyer wanted a smaller quantity or did not have five centésimos, the price was rounded up.
In the case of a two for five centésimos price, a quantity of one would cost three centésimos.
In the case of a four for five centésimos price,
a quantity of one would cost two centésimos and a quantity of two would cost three centésimos.
The Dos Y Medio Centésimos denomination was issued to have exact change in the
case of a two for five centésimos price, and the Uno y Cuarto Centésimos denomination was issued
to have exact change for the four for five centésimos price.
It might seem ridiculous to issue a one and a fourth cents denomination when it was only
a fourth cent more than a one centésimo. However, doing some research with the Consumer
Price Index and the Unskilled Wages Index (for the United States), I found that a fourth cent
in 1940 was worth between three and seven cents in 2004 dollars. In Panamá, with its lower cost
of living, the relative value of a fourth cent in 1940 might well have been even higher. So that
is why the government of Panamá felt this denomination would be useful.
This interesting denomination did circulate in Panamá when issued. However, with the
prosperity of the World War II years and following living standards improved and there was no
need for further issues. The "cuartillo" was still occasionally found in circulation in
the 1970's. However by that time it was circulating as a one centésimo, and the extra one-fourth
centésimo was not honored.
Pricing is based on several factors, which ultimately are supply and demand. How
many specimens are available and how many collectors want them. For the uno y cuarto
centésimo prices, I have obversed and tracked recent sales. These catalog values
are based on retail values (not wholesale).
All the Panama Coins have been designated with the letters "PC",
and grouped by denomination and then by type or variety. Numbers start at PC-005.1
for the medio (half) centésimo coin, progress through PC-01.n for the one centésimo coin through
PC-100.n for the one Balboa coins. Larger denominations incorporate a lowercase b for Balboa.
The number with the "b" start at PC-5b.n for the 5 Balboa coins and progress through
PC-500b.n for the 500 Balboa coins, with one exception. PC-20b.n is used for the silver
20 Balboa coins and PC-21b.n is used for the gold 20 Balboa coins.
Permission is hereby granted to anyone to use the Panama Coin catalog numbers
I have defined on this website in referring to these coins,
in print or electronic media. I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge my contribution
by calling them Plowman's numbers at least once, or referencing www.coins-of-panama.com at
least once in your auction or publication.
I reserve the right to assign all new numbers. Please contact me via
when a new number is needed.
Click on the image or catalog number below to go to the full listing for
Uno y Cuarto Centésimos Panama Coin Catalog
Uno y Cuarto Centésimos of 1940
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