Casa de Moneda de Mexico has the distinction of being the oldest mint in the Americas. The Spanish Crown issued a decree that a mint be established, so viceroy Antonio de Mendoza established the original facility in 1535. The mint has a rich history that is virtually unparalleled by any other world mint. In fact, its silver 8 reales coins and their successors, the silver peso, were so widely circulated throughout Asia and the Americas during the 19th century that they formed the foundation of several of the world’s most important currencies. These include but are not limited to the Chinese yuan, the Japanese yen, and even the US dollar. While the mint spent most of its time rooted in Mexico City, it has operated exclusively in the State of San Luis Potosi since 1983.
The long and important history of the Mexican Mint continues today, and each piece from it, including modern ones, shares in that history. Be it one of the historic coins that formed the basis for modern currencies or its stunning current bullion series, a coin from the Mexican Mint should be a part of every collection. Peruse our selection today to see how you would like to be a part of this proud tradition.
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Any discussion of the coins of the Mexico Mint has to start with its iconic 8 Reales coin. Issued from 1824-1897, the coin would give way to the 1 peso piece and form the basis for several global currencies. It was struck from 27.07 g of .903 fine silver. The obverse features a theme from indigenous Mexican religions, an eagle perched upon a cactus consuming a snake. On the reverse is a radiant cap encircled by rays. While some collectors seek to get a coin from each year of mintage, others occupy themselves attempting to collect one coin with each mint mark. Fourteen different mint marks appeared on the coin throughout its history, making this a task unto itself.
Another popular coin from the mint’s history is the Gold Peso bullion coins. The coins were issued from 1921-1931, 1944-1947, and 1949-1972. The largest of these was the 50 pesos coin. It weighed 37.5 g and was struck from .900 fine gold. Smaller pieces were issued in 20 pesos, 10 pesos, 5 pesos, 2.5 pesos, and 2 pesos. Each of these is proportionally smaller than the largest.
The designs of the gold Pesos formed the foundation for the country’s current bullion coins. Winged victory stands facing the holder on the obverse. She is squared to them, and her wings spread outwards and upwards. Behind her are a pair of volcanoes, Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl, which are named for lovers of pre-Colombian lore. The country’s then-coat of arms, which consists of an eagle perched on a cactus consuming a snake, is on the reverse.
At the heart of the mint’s current operation are its bullion coins, Gold Libertad and Silver Libertads. The silver and gold varieties share the same designs. Their designs are similar to those on the Gold Peso coins. Winged Victory stands on the reverse along with two of the country’s volcanoes, while an eagle consumes a snake on the obverse. Coins of one ounce or more also have historical Mexican coats of arms along the rim. Unlike their Peso predecessors, both Winged Victory and the eagle on the reverse are oriented toward the left side of the coin rather than squared toward the holder.
Many collectors make it a point to pick up at least one Silver Libertad every year, while others order these coins by the roll – or even the monster box! One of the attractive aspects of Silver Libertads is that they are issued in multiple sizes rather than just one-ounce. Fractional, 2-ounce, 5-ounce, and kilo coins are all issued. The mint produces one-ounce coins into the hundreds of thousands, which is fewer than the mintages of most other bullion coins. Fractional and multi-ounce pieces are typically in the four- or low five-digit ranges, though kilo mintages in some recent years have been in the hundreds. Gold Libertads are harder to find, as no more than a few thousand – and in some cases just hundreds – are issued.
The mint also issues Proof Libertads in both gold and silver. Proof sets with each of the sizes are extremely popular among collectors due not only to their beauty but also their low mintages. Graded pieces from these sets can often be purchased individually.
From time to time, the mint also releases commemorative issues. Two fairly recent examples include the 2010 200 Pesos Gold Bicentenary Commemorative and its Silver Aztec Calendar coins. The Calendars in particular, which have had limited mintages, have proven very attractive for collectors looking for something extra special.