The Mexican 50 peso gold coin tops the chart of most popular Mexican gold coins. Our neighbors to the south are very capable of producing first-rate gold bullion coins and have been doing so for hundreds of years.
As a result, the Mexican mint has produced a variety of options for those of you who plan to store wealth in precious metals. The most commonly-purchased Mexican gold coins fall into one of two groups:
Pure gold is a very soft metal and is easily damaged. To counter this problem, mints often add alloy metals such as copper so their gold coins are more damage-resistant.
Using the karat system (i.e. 24 karat), pure gold coins must be at least 99.9% gold bullion. Anything less is considered an alloy coin.
Centenario Family of Alloy Coins
Some of the most abundantly-produced Mexican gold coins available in the marketplace are the Centenario family gold bullion coins. All of the coins listed in the table below are 90% gold and 10% copper.
|Nickname||Reverse Image||Face Value||Date Stamps||Gold Weight Ounces||Multiplier¹|
|Centenario||Angel||$50 pesos||1921 - 1947||1.2057||0.83||Azteca||Aztec Calendar||$20 pesos||1918 - 1959||0.4823||2.07|
|Hidalgo||Hidalgo||$10 pesos||1905 - 1959||0.2411||4.15|
|½ Hidalgo||Hidalgo||$5 pesos||1905 - 1955||0.1206||8.29|
|¼ Hidalgo||Hidalgo||$2.5 pesos||1918 - 1945||0.0603||16.58|
|1⁄5 Hidalgo||“DOS PESOS”||$2 pesos||1919 - 1945||0.0482||20.75|
The end dates on these gold coins do not reflect the re-strikes issued beyond those dates. Millions of Centenarios were re-struck for more than 20 years after 1947.
Centenario Coin Family Artwork
Mexico's coat of arms (COA) is on the obverse (heads) side of these gold bullion coins. Many might assume it's the reverse (tails) side, but the Mexican mint opted to use this image on the obverse side.
The COA has deep cultural roots with the Mexican people. An eagle perched on a cactus fighting a snake is displayed.
For some the image of an eagle killing a snake has an ancient religious meaning, but others view it as simply good (eagle) versus evil (snake).
On the reverse side of the Centenario is the Independence Angel. This image is a picture of the statue atop the Independence Victory Column in Mexico City.
The Independence Angel is symbolic of Mexico's victory over Spain in 1821. Two widely-recognized natural landmarks, volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, can be seen in the background.
An image of the Aztec calendar is featured on the reverse side of the 20 peso gold coin. This ancient artifact is also called the sun stone.
Miguel Hidalgo, also known as Father Hidalgo, was a Roman Catholic priest and rebel leader during Mexico's War of Independence. His profile is on the reverse side of 2.5, 5 and 10 peso gold coins.
Finally, the 2 peso gold coin has the short phrase “DOS PESOS” on its reverse side. Translated in English it simply means two pesos.
Alloy and Pure Gold Libertad (Liberty) Series Coins
In 1981 the Mexican mint began producing Libertad alloy gold coins
(also called gold Onzas) in ¼ oz., ½ oz. and 1 oz. gold weights.
Like the Mexican 50 peso gold coin, all of the gold Libertads feature the Independence Angel on their reverse sides.
Gold Libertad purity levels were increased to 99.9% (pure gold) in 1991, and the 1⁄10 oz. and 1⁄20 oz. fractional gold coins were added. Libertad coins do not carry legal tender (face value) amounts. Details are below.
|Coin Type||Gold Weight||Alloy Metal||Gold Purity||Multiplier¹|
|pure gold||1 oz.||none||99.9%||1|
|pure gold||½ oz.||none||99.9%||2|
|pure gold||¼ oz.||none||99.9%||4|
|pure gold||1⁄10 oz.||none||99.9%||10|
|pure gold||1⁄20 oz.||none||99.9%||20|
Alloy and pure gold Libertad coins similarly stamped (i.e. 1 oz.) contain equal amounts of gold. However, the alloy type is heavier.
For example, since the 1 oz. alloy coin also contains copper, it weighs approximately 3.5 grams more than the 1 oz. pure gold coin.
The Mexican mint started minting pure gold Libertad proof coins in 2005 (except ¼ oz. proofs began in 2004). These magnificent Mexican gold coins are produced in small numbers.
In 2000 cosmetic changes were made to the gold Libertad series coins. The Independence Angel was modified as shown below. Also, small historical COA’s encircling the current COA were added to the 1 oz. coin.
What Do The Spanish Words Mean?
Spanish words “ONZA,” “ORO” “PURO” and “LEY” are stamped on the reverse side of gold Libertad coins. In English they mean ounce, gold, pure and fine.
So the complete script in English for a ½ ounce coin, as shown in the above photo, would read "½ OUNCE PURE GOLD 2010 .999 FINE."
Value of Gold Coins
Prices of Mexican gold coins are largely determined by the spot gold price for one troy ounce of gold.
You can estimate a coin's gold bullion cost (per oz.) simply by multiplying the coin's price by its associated multiplier (see above tables). A multiplier is the number of gold coins required to equal 1 oz. of gold bullion.
Then compare your coin's estimated gold bullion cost (per oz.) with the current spot gold price (per oz.) and go from there.
Coin prices may vary for coins with equal gold weights (but different coin types) since one may be less popular than the other ... or in greater supply.
Use Your Precious Metals Efficiently
One of the biggest benefits of Mexican gold coins is their availability in fractional sizes. This is especially helpful should you have to liquidate your precious metals.
It's wise to consult your accountant about applicable taxes before you sell any precious metals.
Minimizing the amount of precious metals converted to cash in times of hardship is an efficient way to use your gold and silver bullion.
Whether you favor the Mexican 50 peso gold coin or the gold Libertad, Mexican gold coins are strong players in the precious metals marketplace.
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