Obverse Design The legend "LA ESPERANZA" curves along the top. The legend "NEMESIO LEDESMA" curves along the bottom. The legend "BOQUETE" goes across the middle. Above and below the name "BOQUETE" are ornaments. The ornament above looks somewhat like a crown and consists of a bottom horizontal piece and four leaf-like ornaments going up out of it. The ornament below is very similar except that it is oriented upside-down. 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 Between 5.9 and 6.0 grams. Size and Shape Round, 28.6 mm in diameter.
Dates Issued Unknown, but probably sometime between 1915 and 1927.
Issurer Nemesio Ledesma.
Mintage 1500.
Rarity Very Common. Manufacturer Unknown, but made in the United States. Other Catalog Numbers Asociación Numismático's F-213, Conte Porras page #103, #104 and #111, Henkle's Chiriqui#37, Plumer page #6, Rulau's Chq 5 and Schimmel #44.
Varieties None known.
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 Forty-eight specimens of this token in collector hands are known to me. This is the most common of all Panama coffee tokens. Recent sales include:
  1. Auction sale on ebay on July 19, 2006 for $8.27 plus $2.50 shipping.
  2. Auction sale on ebay on December 6, 2003 for $4.99.
  3. Auction sale on ebay on January 18, 2003 for $15.50.
  4. Auction sale on ebay on November 7, 2002 for $9.99.
  5. Auction sale on ebay on April 4, 2002 for $8.50.

Nemesio Ledesma was born on December 19, 1888 in Bajo Lino (in the Boquete area). His parents were an early pioneer Boquete family, Pedro and María Ledesma. He founded the finca "La Esperanza" in Horqueta. The plantation (or finca) name "La Esperanza" means "The Hope". His near neighbors included coffee grower Segundo Díaz who issued similar tokens.

Quoting from the :

"Mr. Aristides Ledesma is the owner of a plantation known as "La Esperanza" located in Boquete, province of Chiriqui, which although it is small compared to others of the same neighborhood, is nevertheless, extremely flourishing and in a high state of cultivation. Mr. Ledesma has 4,000 bearing coffee trees, and also raises corn, yucca, bananas and has a large quantity of sugar cane planted. For the later product he has installed a hydraulic mill. The plantation also includes the necessary drying sheds and machinery for the treatment of the coffee bean."

Nemesio Ledesma has been established to be the Aristides Ledesma referred to above. I am not sure if the Aristides name was a mistake, or a case of formal name versus nickname.

Nemesio married María Urriola and had three children. His eldest, Ezequiel, was mayor of Boquete from 1938 to 1940. Nemesio died on March 10, 1984 at the age of 95. Finca La Esperanza is still owned and operated by the Ledesma family.

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.

This token is almost identical to several other Boquete finca tokens such as the Sittón and Castillo token, the Segundo Díaz token, the Emilio Kant 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.