Mexican Centenarios

historic gold coin icon Mexico flag icon Mexican Gold Centenarios - the predecessors of the Mexican Gold Libertads

The Mexican Mint produced the 50 Peso Mexican Gold Centenarios between 1921 and 1947. The coin was named Centenario because it is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Mexico gaining its independence from Spain, its former colonial master. The Mexican Centenario gold coins were never intended to be used as currency. The coins are considerably larger and heavier than most gold bullion coins and are composed of 90% gold and 10% copper. The alloying with copper ensures that the coins are more durable and scratch-resistant than other gold bullion coins. The Centenarios are the largest of the different gold bullion coins from Mexico.

The obverse side of the Mexican Centenarios shows Mexico's Angel of Independence with a laurel wreath and broken chains. Mexico's coat of arms can be seen on the reverse. It shows an eagle perched on top of a prickly pear cactus holding a serpent. This image appears on other Mexican gold coins as well. The design of the contemporary Mexican Gold Libertad bullion coins was inspired by the historic Centenario gold coins.

obverse side of the 1947 50 Peso Mexican Gold Centenario coin
reverse side of the 1947 50 Peso Mexican Gold Centenario coin

Coin Fact Sheet

Weight Face Value Purity Diameter
1.2057 oz 50 Peso 90% 37.1 x 2.69 mm

Total Mintage: 8,532,000

Design

The 50 Peso Gold Centenario coin was designed by Emilio del Moral and the design was later reused for the popular Libertad gold and silver bullion coins. The coin's obverse side depicts "El Ángel de la Independencia" (eng: The Angel of Independence) with a laurel wreath in her right hand and broken chains in her left. "El Ángel de la Independencia" (a.k.a. "Monumento a la Independencia") is a victory column in downtown Mexico City. The famous Mexican volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztaccíhuatl are depicted in the background. The date 1821 (the year of Mexico’s independence) and the year of mintage appear to the bottom left and right. The coin’s 50 Peso denomination and its weight and purity are respectively engraved above.

The coin's reverse side depicts a rendering of Mexico's coat of arms with an eagle perched on top of a prickly pear cactus holding a serpent in its talons and beak. “Estados Unidos Mexicanos” is inscribed along the coin's upper edge.

History

The 50 Peso Mexican Gold coins were first issued in 1921 to commemorate Mexico's first century of independence. That's why the coins are also referred to as Centenario. The Mexican Mint at first issued the coins without interruption between 1921 (mintage of 180.000 pieces) and 1931 (137.000 pieces). These two years had the lowest mintage numbers. That's why coins from these years are listed with unusually large premiums now. The year with the highest annual mintage was 1925 when 716.000 Mexican Gold Centenarios were struck.

High demand for gold coins resulted in production being restarted in 1943, but only 89.400 coins were minted that year. Mintage numbers increased sharply in the following years. A record 1.588.000 Centenarios were minted in 1946. The following year was the last year that original Centenario Gold coins were minted (309.000 coins). However, restrikes of the coin were made in later years.

Variations of the Coin

Only the coins minted in 1943 have the wording 37.5 Gr. Oro Puro (37.5 grams pure gold) appear to the left and the right of the angel. The 50 Peso wording had been omitted since the coin's actual gold value far exceeded that face value. The coin returned to its original design the following year. Click here to see the obverse side of such a 1943 Centenario coin.

Restrikes of the Centenario coin

Modern restrikes of the 50 Gold Peso Centenario were made from 1949 to 1972 (with the 1947 date !!!), from 2000 to 2009 and in 1996. A total of 3,975,654 coins were restruck between 1949 and 1972 and an additional 302,000 between 2000 and 2009. The number of restrikes that were made in 1996 is unknown.

Mintages

Annual mintage of the 50 Peso Mexican Gold Centenario coins varied between 89,000 and 1,588,000 coins.

obverse side of the 2009 issue of the brilliant uncirculated 1 oz Mexican Gold Libertad coin
reverse side of the 2009 issue of the brilliant uncirculated 1 oz Mexican Gold Libertad coin

Mexican Gold Libertads

The Mexican Gold Libertad coins are struck out of 99.9% pure gold since 1981. Their design that depicts the Angel of Independence is inspired by the historic 50 Peso Gold Centenario coins. The Mexican Gold Libertads are minted by the Casa de Moneda de México, the oldest mint in North America, in the denominations of 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz. Both brilliant uncirculated and proof coins are available. The coins don't have an official face value and their annual mintage numbers are much lower than those of other gold bullion coins. Despite that, the coins have legal tender status in Mexico.

The Mexican Gold Libertad page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.