Venezuela Gold Coin, Tamanaco Cut Off Head!

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by fretboard, Jun 24, 2021.

  1. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Okay, here it is! The only Gold Coin I know about with a severed head as the obverse design! :D I'm mainly a Token collector and I mostly collect pictorial Tokens so this coin was right up my alley! thumbupp.gif Sellers pics, the coin isn't perfect as it's not truly a coin, it's a Medal that's part of the Caciques de Venezuela which were issued from 1955-1962. The issuance was a tribute to the 16th Century indigenous Indian Chiefs of Venezuela! Also, goes with the shrunken head, anyone remember those?? :happy:

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  3. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Kind 'o makes ya not wanna go to Venezuela.........
    Randy Abercrombie and midas1 like this.
  4. midas1

    midas1 Exalted Member

    It doesn't take a shrunken head or a severed head to not make me want to go to Venezuela. :)
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  5. Mammothtooth

    Mammothtooth Stand up Philosopher, Vodka Taster

    I could never understand people that go to North Korea, get detained, and complain about their situation..
  6. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Well, that was the furthest thing from my mind for sure but they have some great looking gold! :D Shrunken heads were really popular in the 1960's in my area! :cigar:
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
  7. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

    I will say interesting..LOL
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  8. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

    How do you shrink a head ??
  9. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    ---Wine vinegar and water.....
  10. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    My guess is voodoo! :D Below is information on Tamanaco, if anyone cares to read about it! :happy:

    He is one of the most famous and best known Venezuelan Caciques (Spanish: Indian chief). The city of Santiago de León de Caracas, which had been founded in 1567 by Diego de Losada, was continuously harassed and the subject of raids conducted by the local tribes. In 1570 when Diego de Mazariegos took charge as governor of the province of Venezuela, he made it a priority to pacify the territories. Following the death of Guaicaipuro, Tamanaco had risen as the new leader of the Mariches and Quiriquires. By 1573 Tamanaco and his group of natives had become such a problem that reinforcements came from Spain and other Spanish islands in the Caribbean with the sole purpose of taking care of this matter. Soon after captain Pedro Alonso Galeas and lieutenant Francisco Calderón joined their forces, they started on an expedition with the intention of engaging Tamanaco and his men; they were helped by Aricabacuto, another native Chief. Upon learning of this expedition, Tamanaco prepared a fighting force made up of 300 warriors recruited among his tribes and with the help of men from the Teques and Arbaco tribes. It wasn't long before the two groups engaged each other in combat. However neither side came out victorious in their first fight. Soon after Tamanaco decided to attack Caracas and pursue the Spanish soldiers who retreated to the banks of the river Guaire. The Spanish lost and their commanding officer captain Hernando de la Cerda died in the fighting. However, as the battle seemed to be ending with Tamanaco's victory, a Spanish cavalry detachment came and surrounded the natives. Tamanaco was apprehended alive and sentenced to death by hanging. However, Garcí González de Silva, in charge of Caracas' city hall "did something". Among the discussion a captain named Mendoza suggested an alternative: he proposed to let Tamanaco chose between hanging or fighting a trained-killer mastin dog named "Friend," that Mendoza owned. All liked the idea and proposed it to Tamanaco. He accepted the challenge and is reported to have said "the dog will die by my hands and then these cruel men will know what Tamanaco is capable of" However, the fight was uneven and Tamanaco died of the injuries he suffered in his throat. The legend claims the dog so fiercely bit his neck that it detached it from his body. Some historians say that there is not enough evidence to confirm if it was one or several dogs that fought with Tamanaco. After his death, Tamanaco would become a legend among the natives who would call his name when going into battle. In Venezuela there are a variety of works, neighborhoods and sites that are named after Tamanaco. Probably best known are the 'Hotel Tamanaco'[1] (Caracas' oldest 5-star hotel—part of the Intercontinental chain), the 'Centro Ciudad Comercial Tamanaco' (a shopping mall), the 'Tamanaco Avenue' in Caracas, the 'Colinas del Tamanaco' residential area in Caracas, and the 'Tamanaco Dam'[2] in Guarico state among others. Gold coins for investment and collection are minted in Venezuela with Tamanaco's image. In past years the former president of Venezuela, deceased Hugo Chávez, has often mentioned Tamanaco and other native chiefs in his speeches with the purpose of inspiring Venezuelans to resist what he calls American imperialists and interventionists policies directed towards Venezuela. Most notably he did it every year during the 12 October holiday, which after being renamed several years ago Dia de la Raza (previously America's Discovery day), was recently renamed as Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance).
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  11. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Well, according to Wikipedia (

    "The process of creating a shrunken head begins with removing the skull from the neck. An incision is made on the back of the ear and all the skin and flesh is removed from the cranium. Red seeds are placed underneath the nostrils and the lips are sewn shut. The mouth is held together with three palm pins. Fat from the flesh of the head is removed. Then a wooden ball is placed under the flesh in order to keep the form. The flesh is then boiled in water that has been saturated with a number of herbs containing tannins. The head is then dried with hot rocks and sand, while molding it to retain its human features. The skin is then rubbed down with charcoal ash. Decorative beads may be added to the head."
    midas1 likes this.
  12. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    Cool medal. It made me think of this one in my collection. My only severed head coin.


    Obverse: Head of John the Baptist toward right on platter
    Reverse: Clasped hands with date above and value below in inner circle, legend divided by maltese crosses

    Ruler: Emmanuel Pinto

    Composition: Copper
    Seattlite86, midas1 and Parthicus like this.
  13. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Here's another Caciques de Venezuela Gold Token made around 1962, weight is 1.5 grams, it's a little guy around the same size as a Mexican Dos Pesos gold coin. This is MARA, I don't know his story though, haven't looked it up yet. :D Just sharing.

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