The Mexican Mint Review
When it comes to national mints, perhaps none is older than / , the Mexican Mint, which first began operating in 1535 and estimated to be responsible for two fifths of the entire supply of silver produced worldwide. There is a reason why the Spanish Conquistadors paid such close attention to the northern reaches of its South American empire, and the vast wealth contained within the province of Mexico was the primary motivator. For more than five centuries, the Mexican Mint has been processing the valuable precious metal resources of Mexico, and they continue to be relied upon by investors and collectors of fine bullion products for the quality of their work and craftsmanship.
Examples of this skill abound in stunning gold and silver Mexican coinage such as the immensely popular Silver Mexican Libertad, Gold Onza, and Gold Peso coins. In addition to the production of circulating coins for the Mexican economy, the mint also issues special edition coins and commemorative coins and medallions that are highly sought after by investors and collectors.
Reputedly, it was the Mexican Mint’s penchant for celebration of Mexican cultural and historical touchstones, which motivated the national governments of China, Japan, and the United States to begin production of their own unique coins for the investment and collector market. Drawing on more than 500 years of institutional skill and know-how, the Mexican Mint’s products are highly sout after owing to its rich traditions and superior precious metal products.
The Mexican Mint: A History as Rich as the Bullion they Produce
The Spanish conquest of the Mexican province of the New World began in earnest with the arrival of Hernon Cortez, accompanied by 500 soldiers, on the Yucatan Peninsula in 1519. Quickly laying low the vast Aztec Empire, within two years the expedition managed to consolidate control over a vast swathe of the Mexican interior.
By 1535, a new man was in charge of New Spain, Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, and by Spanish Decree ordered the foundation of the La Casa de Moneda de Mexico. More than a decade after Cortez got his feet wet along the Mayan Riviera of the Yucatan, his empire spread far beyond the confines of present day Mexico. Indeed, the Spanish Crown’s New Spain claimed sovereignty over the islands of the Caribbean and as far afield as the Philippines Islands. Fueling the economy of these new domains became the responsibility of the new mint, which first began producing Mexican pesos for use in the new territories. Later, the mint began production of reals (Royal) and maravedis for use in the new colonies and on the Iberian Peninsula.
Those familiar with United States colonial history may well remember the eight-piece gold coins that widely circulated on the cash-starved frontier. These eight-real Spanish coins were a product of the mint’s 17th and 18th-century efforts, and have since populated the public’s imagination since popularization of tales of pirates battling the Spanish Main during the Golden Age of Piracy.
In modern times, Banco de Mexico, the Mexican National Bank, took over operation of the mint in 1925 where they began the production of banknotes in addition to the minting of coinage. While the mint moved its location to San Luis Potosi in 1983, the original La Casa de Moneda de Mexico facilities were repurposed to house the Mexican National Cultural Museum.
A Tapestry of Time: Mexican Bullion Products
Commemorating a century of Mexican Independence, the Mexican Mint coin began producing the first collector-grade coin, the 1921 Gold Centenario, which was the first such Mexican coin to receive collector and investor accreditation.
Produced of fine gold weighing a half-ounce, each Gold Centenario carried a face value of 50 pesos. The series enjoyed two production runs. The first production spanned the years 1921 to 1931, while the second began with Mexico’s entry into World War 2 in 1943 before discontinuation four years later in 1947.
For collectors on the market for these coins, many of the existing examples on the precious metals market are reproductions minted only after the end of the second official production run in 1947. Indeed, while these faux Gold Centenario’s had a longer production run than the two official runs together, 1949-1972, all of them feature the 1947 date mark. Regardless of the year of minting however, each Gold Centenario’s shared the same design:
Obverse—depiction of the Winged Victory (Angel of Independence)
Reverse—Mexican Coat of Arms
The mint’s newest addition is perhaps the most famous amongst numismatic enthusiasts, however. Struck in both gold and silver versions, the Mexican Libertad has become the most renowned issuance coming from the talented artisans of the Mexican Mint. Of particular interest, although the coin began its production run in 1981, it shared the exact same design features as the older Centenario coin until as late as 2000.
Only in that year did the design change to update both the obverse and reverse sides of the coin. On the obverse, while the Winged Victory statue remains, it is joined with the more prominently placed volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, and the reverse highlight the modern Mexican Coat of Arms surrounded by ten historical variants of the seal.
Minted in brilliant uncirculated condition, the Mexican Libertads are also available in proof editions, and are highly sought after by collectors for their gorgeous artistry and stellar reputation of the Mexican Mint’s engravers. Borrowing on five centuries of institutional knowledge, their commemorative coins and bullion products are so valued. Among collectors, the one-ounce size is the most popularly purchased, this popular coin is also readily available in a larger five-ounce weight and smaller 1/20 ounce size.
Serious collectors are well aware of the fine precious metal, bullion products coming from the vault of the Mexican Mint; novice buyers quickly fall in love with the fine workmanship, and close attention to detail that accompanies the production of ceremonial coins from the Mexican Mint along with its Certificate of Authenticity. A valuable addition to any collection, for ascetic or investment purposes, the Mexican Libertads and original Gold Centenario adds depth to your portfolio.