Obverse Design

The legend "BOQUETE," curves along the top. The legend "REPUBLIC" goes across the upper middle with an upward curve. The word "OF" is in the center of the token. The legend "COLUMBIA" goes across the lower middle with a downward curve. The legend "S.A." curves along the bottom. There are no ornamental dots or crosses. The token has denticles along the edge and a smooth plain raised edge.

Reverse Design The legend "BOQUETE COFFEE & COM-L CO." starts near the bottom left and curves along the top until reaching the bottom right. In the center, on two separate lines, are the denomination "1" and "LATA". The token has denticles along the edge and a smooth plain raised edge.
Metal Aluminum. Weight Unknown. Size and Shape Round, 29 mm in diameter.
Dates Issued Unknown; probably between 1894 and 1903.
Mintage Unknown.
Rarity Very Rare. Manufacturer Unknown, probably a United States firm. Other Catalog Numbers Asociación Numismático's F-64.
Varieties Boquete Coffee and Commercial Company issued two different tokens. This variety is slightly smaller and has the denomination of 1 Lata. The other variety is larger and does not have any denomination.
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 Two specimens of this token in collector hands are known to me. No recent sales.

In 1894, J.R. Thomas was contracted by a Chicago firm (Boquete Coffee and Commercial Company) to administer their coffee finca in Boquete. J.R. Thomas and his wife Sarah moved from California to Boquete. J.R. Thomas managed Finca Santa Maria (in the Alto Lino region) from 1894 until 1916. Under his management the finca prospered. In 1907 it had 75,000 coffee trees, and continued to do well until J.R. Thomas died unexpectedly in 1916. With his passing, the Boquete Coffee and Commercial Company choose to discontinue its coffee business.

The finca was purchased by a Swiss family, A.O. (Albert Oscar) Sandberg and his wife Olga. They renamed the finca "La Bonita". A.O. Sandberg died in 1945, but his son A.O. "Buster" Sandberg continued to operate the finca as a family business. In 2000 Buster Sandberg was 80 years old but still going strong.

The Finca Santa Maria tokens are the earliest known coffee finca tokens from Boquete.

The town of Boquete is in the mountains of Chiriqui province, where the climate is cooler than at sea-level. Coffee, oranges, flowers and other agricultural products are grown in the region surrounding Boquete.