Unlike most bullion coins, which are usually issued about the same time each year, Mexican Libertads can be released anytime from January to the summer or later. This is just one of the many unpredictable aspects of this alluring coin series.
These coins, which are issued in .999 fine gold and silver in a wide range of sizes, are minted by the Casa de Moneda
(Mexican Mint), which falls under the authority of the Banco de Mexico (Mexico’s national bank), a decentralized entity within the Mexican government. The Mexican Mint is North America’s oldest and dates to 1535.
Mexican coins (along with Canadian coins) are the most widely collected world coins within the U.S.
Silver Libertads, first struck in 1982, are the world’s oldest major modern silver bullion coin series, and are also increasing in demand faster than any other silver bullion coin, according to experts. The gold versions have been issued since 1981 and are also becoming increasingly popular.
The 2015 Libertads started being released at the end of March, including all of the silver and gold bullion versions. Those include for the silver: one ounce, two ounce, five ounce, and the fractional coins, half ounce, quarter ounce, one-tenth, and one-twentieth ounce. They are also issued in the same sizes in gold, except there are no two and five-ounce versions.
These coins are also issued in proof versions in the same sizes. And there is also a kilo-sized silver coin, which is sometimes issued with a proof-like finish and other times a regular bullion finish.
At the moment only the one-ounce silver bullion coins are available from ModernCoinMart, including NGC-graded examples in MS69 and MS70 early releases and ungraded coins, including single coins, lots of five and ten, and rolls of 25 coins
But MCM’s Vice President, Hayden Tubbs, said that the other versions, including gold coins and the proof versions, will be coming later. The gold coins and the proofs are very popular with coin collectors and most past issues are very difficult to obtain.
The one-ounce silver Libertad is the most widely traded coin in the entire series and has a higher mintage than other versions. However, compared to other major world bullion coins, it is struck in much lower numbers, especially when compared to coins like American Silver Eagles or Canadian Maple Leafs.
The release of this year’s bullion Libertads was delayed while the Bank of Mexico waited for approval to increase wholesale premiums by 25% on the coins, the first increase since the series was launched in 1982. That has not translated into a big increase in retail prices, and the 2015 coins are selling for only a little more than last year’s.
According to industry insiders, mintages for the 2015 coins are expected to be similar to last year’s mintages. In 2014 the mintages of a number of Libertad versions were the lowest in years. For example, the one ounce-silver bullion coin (429,200) and the two (750) and five-ounce (800) silver proof coins were the lowest mintages for those coins since 2007.
Some of the one-ounce coins have mintages under 100,000 and sell for substantial premiums today (including several hundred dollars for the key date coins), but since 2007 mintages for this coin have ranged from 746,000 to 1.2 million.
Premiums rose for the two and five-ounce silver proofs starting in December when the Banco de Mexico announced mintage figures, and prices for the one-ounce silver coins have also continued to rise since they were issued even while spot silver has remained at about the same level. These are good examples of the financial advantages of buying bullion and proof Libertads.
The fact that mintages for Libertads are not known until toward the end of the year adds to the allure of these coins for collectors and investors who try to acquire the coins earlier in the year before their premiums increase once their scarcity levels are widely known.
Libertads, which are the official sovereign coin of Mexico, are becoming popular as silver investment vehicles and as collectibles. They have always been a favorite because of their gorgeous obverse design depicting a bare-breasted winged Victoria (the goddess of victory) from the Angel of Independence in Mexico City, which is the Mexican independence victory column built in 1910 that honors Mexico’s independence from Spain. This design is widely admired by numismatists as a modern classic and is an updated version of the winged Victoria that appears on the Centenario gold bullion coin first issued in 1921. The Libertad reverse depicts the Mexican national coat of arms.
Over the years, the appeal of the Libertad series has continued to grow for several reasons besides the great design of these coins. One is the low mintages of the coins in this series, especially the gold coins. Bear in mind that many of the gold bullion coins have mintages in the hundreds, which makes them the lowest mintage bullion series in the world. In the future, mintages for the gold coins are likely to be higher, as the coins continue to become more popular.
In addition, the coins are known for their high quality. Moreover, the market for these coins has increased as a result of both their popularity in the United States and Europe, and because of the rise of the middle class in Mexico, which looks to these coins as a means of long-term wealth preservation.
Insiders say mintage levels in 2016 are expected to be increased in response to rising demand levels, which should help to maintain solid premiums for the 2014 and 2015 coins going forward.
An additional factor that is likely to increase interest in this series is the recent discovery of the first Libertad mule coin, a coin that pairs a 1999 obverse of the one-ounce silver Libertad with the reverse of a 2000 coin of that size. The coin, which is unique so far, was authenticated by NGC and was discussed in a recent article in Coin World.
For all of these reasons silver and gold Libertads are a great choice for the modern coin collector and bullion investor, especially for those who plan to hold their coins over time. They are perhaps the ultimate “sleeper coins” in the bullion arena, and their retail prices when first issued will likely seem like a huge bargain years down the road as the market for Libertads continues to expand.
||Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|