"The political origins of the medal date back to as early as 1871 when liberal, revolutionary forces under the command of generals Miguel Granados and Justo Rufino Barrios
overthrew conservative forces which had been in power for 30 years. Granados assumed the presidency, renouncing that office in June, 1873, allowing Barrios to follow in his
footsteps. Barrios became one of Guatemala's more charismatic leaders of the nineteenth century, retaining power until his death in 1885.
"Politically speaking, Barrios harbored delusions of grandeur, promoting the proposition that the Central American Federation (1825-1838) should be restored under his
leadership, incorporating the states of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Failing to convince others by diplomatic means, Barrios announced the
restoration of the Federation on February 28, 1885, declaring himself the commander of the "united" army. The other countries failed to accept the proposition, even
lobbying Mexico to intervene in the event of hostilities. As it turns out, intervention was unnecessary. Barrios invaded El Salvador but was killed at the battle of Chalchupa,
April 2nd, thus, eliminating the military threat to force a union.
"The political will to unite Central America remained in some quarters, however. But Barrios' successor, General Manuel Barillas, (1885-1892) chose to pursue the
concept of union through diplomatic means. A Pact of Union was successfully concluded October 15, 1889, commemorated by the striking of the gold medal at the mint in Guatemala.
Copper and silver issues also are reported. In hopeful anticipation of union, pattern one and two centavo coins also were struck in copper, probably in Europe. In the end, all was
for naught, as the Pact failed to be ratified by all five countries then making up Central America. "
Thanks! Sometimes things that don't happen are more interesting than things that do. It's nice to have these numismatic reminders. Brian also provided these images of
the pattern coins; originally from Almanzar's Coins of the World, republished in the book A Monetary History of Central America, by the American Numismatic