Much of the focus of investors and collectors on precious metal products from North America is centered on coins and bars produced by the United States Mint or Royal Canadian Mint. Two of the world’s most advanced facilities, neither of these systems has the rich history of the Mexican Mint. North America’s oldest mint, and in fact one of the oldest in the world, the Mexican Mint produces a number of bullion and proof coins that have proven popular with numismatists around the globe.
It is impossible to understand the reputation of the Mexican Mint, known in Mexico as La Casa de Moneda de Mexico, without looking into the history of the mint system itself. When Spain completed its conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521, the Spanish crown set about the task of establishing a colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. One of the first orders of business, establishing the first mint in the Americas to process the gold and silver found throughout the region.
The modern Mexican Mint is located in Mexico City, the national capital of Mexico. In 1535, Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza arrived in what was then called New Spain to assume control of the territory of New Spain from the capital of Mexico City. The colony of New Spain not only included all of Mexico and most of Central America, but also Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad, the Bay Islands, and the Philippine Island.
Originally, the Mexican Mint produced coinage that was used throughout the territories of New Spain, and its products were not only used in other regions of North and South America, but even served as the basis of future monetary programs such as the U.S. dollar, Japanese Yen, and Chinese Yuan. Since 1925, Banco de Mexico (the nation’s central bank) has controlled the minting of coins and printing of banknotes handled by the Mexican Mint.
Although many of the coins produced at the Mexican Mint during its first 300 years of operation were well-known throughout the Western Hemisphere, modern investors and collectors first took notice of the Mexican Mint as a result of the gold Centenario coin. The Centenario coin was a gold bullion product struck by the Mexican Mint for the first time in 1921 to commemorate the nation’s 100th anniversary of independence from Spain.
Gold Centenario coins are still available today, though many of the coins are reproductions struck after 1947. Original Centenario coins were produced with 1.2 oz of .900 pure gold. Although they had no monetary value as a circulation coin, each one was issued a face value of 50 Pesos by Banco de Mexico.
Production of the coins was rather robust throughout the minting history. The first year was the lowest mintage year except for 1943. The Centenario was produced from 1921 to 1931, and again from 1943 to 1947. The program went back into production from 1949 to 1972, but all of these Centenarios were struck with a 1947 date mark.
All Gold Centenario coins from the Mexican Mint shared the same design set throughout its production life. On the obverse side, the image of Winged Victory (also known as the Angel of Independence) was featured in the middle. Struck in front-facing relief, the full figure of Winged Victory was representative of the nation’s freedom. The crown wreath in her right hand symbolized the freedom to rule, while the broken chains in her left hand represented freedom from Spanish oppression.
A face value of 50 Pesos was engraved on this side, along with the coin’s weight, purity, and metal content. Along the bottom, an engraving of 1821 symbolized the year of independence, while a date next to that indicated the year of striking.
On the reverse side of the coin, the Mexican coat of arms was featured in the middle of the image. The nation’s official seal features a golden eagle on its perch atop a cactus, with a serpent clutched in its talons and beak.
In 1982, the Mexican Mint launched the Mexican Libertad coin as the nation’s official bullion coin. Available in both gold and silver, the Libertad evoked the same images of freedom and independence used on the original Libertad coins from the Mint. When the program started, both the gold and silver Mexican Libertad featured the exact same obverse and reverse images found on the original Centenario coin.
It wasn’t until 2000 that the coin series received an update to its image sets. The design did not change drastically, but rather, was refined to meet the standards and expectations of modern investors and collectors. On the obverse, Winged Victory was now featured atop a pillar to more accurately depict the statue of the Angel of Independence that was erected in Mexico City during the centennial independence celebrations of 1921. In the background, the twin volcanic peaks of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl were given greater prominence. On the Centenario, these volcanic peaks were smaller and drowned out by the size of Winged Victory. A slimmer Winged Victory is still central in the design, but greater detail and prominence is given to the volcanoes.
There is no longer an engraving of the face value on the Libertad coins. The date mark for independence has also been removed from the Libertad, but the weight, metal content, and purity of the coins is still featured on this side, along with the year of minting.
On the reverse side, the design set was updated to include historic versions of the coat of arms. On larger coins in the series, the modern coat of arms for Mexico is featured in the center of the coin. Surrounding it around the outside are 10 historic versions of the seal used since the nation gained independence in 1821.
The first modern Libertad to appear was the Mexican Gold Libertad in 1981. Struck in a brilliant uncirculated version, a ¼ oz, ½ oz, and 1 oz coin were struck that first year in a total mintage that fell just short of one million coins in total. Production of the Mexican Gold Libertad didn’t resume until 1991 when a 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz coin were added to the lineup. This production run lasted for four years, ending in 1994.
Mexican Gold Libertads returned in 2000, halted in 2001, and returned for good in 2002 in all five weights. The BU Mexican Gold Libertad is struck is strictly controlled mintages each year, with production rarely exceeding 10,000 coins in total.
A proof version of the Mexican Gold Libertad was introduced in ½ oz in 1989, halted, reintroduced in 2004 in ¼ oz, and has continued on an annual basis since 2005 with all five weights available. Mintage for the proof version is half that of the bullion coin and is also strictly controlled.
The Mexican Silver Libertad has enjoyed great continuity in production. It was originally introduced in 1982 as a 1 oz bullion coin. This 1 oz coin has been struck every year since then, with mintage determined by demand. In 1991, the Mexican Mint added a 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, and ½ oz coin to the series. That addition was followed by 2 oz and 5 oz coins in 1996.
A proof Mexican Silver Libertad has also seen regular production, with the 1 oz coin first introduced in 1986. The four fractional weights were added in 1992, and the 2 oz and 5 oz coins in 1996. A proof-like Mexican Silver Libertad has been struck since 2002 in a 1 kilogram weight.
JM Bullion has a variety of gold and silver Mexican Libertad coins available in Brilliant Uncirculated condition, as well as certified versions courtesy of the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and the Professional Coin Grading Service. Each of the coins with an official grade is considered of the highest quality, adding value in the eyes of investors and collectors. Common terms used by the certification services include:
JM Bullion accepts various payment methods for your purchase of Mexican Mint precious metal products. In addition to credit/debit cards (AMEX excluded) and paper checks, we now accept bank wire transfers and PayPal account transfers. Credit/debit card purchases process in one business day on average. Bank wire and PayPal transfers are immediately processed, and paper checks take up to six business days.
We proudly offer free standard shipping and insurance on all purchases over $99 from JM Bullion. Your purchase will be packaged in discreet boxes for shipping to protect the identity of the products within. If you’d like to upgrade to expedited shipping, you may do so at an additional cost.
If you have any questions about purchasing Mexican Mint products from JM Bullion, feel free to contact one of our associates at 800-276-6508. We’re also conveniently available online through our live web chat and email services.