The Mexico Gold Centenario: A 50 Peso Mexican Gold Coin with History
Moneda de oros, in Spanish, means gold coins. When referencing Mexican gold coins, doesn’t the Spanish translation sound more formal and fancier? And rightfully so since the Mexican 50 peso gold coin was the purest gold coin produced by the Mexican Mint and among the purest gold coins in the world.
Though never intended for circulation, the gold 50 Peso, also known as Centenario, was first minted in 1921 in honor of Mexico’s 100 years of independence and held the title of being the purest one ounce gold coin or larger until the release of the gold Krugerrand in 1967.
Love it or hate it – the gold 50 peso has a long-standing history in the coin and bullion market making it one of the more intriguing foreign gold coins that we deal in for a variety of reasons.
Interestingly, we’ve seen a recent resurgence in the demand and popularity of this coin.
Ironically, this same coin used to trade well below the spot price of gold and was an afterthought for most investors. The unique size or gold weight was a hang-up for some since it is 1.2 ounces versus the more traditional one ounce coin.
Additionally, the patina of the coin was also seen as a possible hindrance toward greater demand, but whatever previous misconceptions investors may have had in the past no longer appear to be the case.
Since many investors are only recently discovering the 50 peso gold coin for the first time, we thought it was important to highlight it and share some interesting facts that you may have not been made aware of.
Suffice it to say, this isn’t your typical modern 1 oz gold bullion coin especially considering the history behind it.
Years of Production
Most gold Centenario’s or 50 peso gold coins that are traded in the industry these days have a date of 1947. Seems like a random year, doesn’t it? Well, this is the last official production year of the 50 peso gold coin, but many restrikes were produced after this time with the same date. While most of the coins dated 1947 are technically restrikes produced from 1949 to 1972, that doesn’t take anything away from the demand and popularity of the coins.
In other words, these coins trade just like an original 1947 struck coin. For comparison purposes, 309,000 coins were originally produced in 1947 while nearly 4 million were re-struck from 1949 to 1972.
While 1947-dated Mexican gold centenarios are the most prevalent gold coin, they weren’t the first.
For those of you that have some familiarity with Spanish, you may know that the English translation of “Centenario” is “centenary” or one hundred. When you trace Mexico’s independence back to 1821, you’ll confirm that the original Centenario was first produced in 1921.
In fact, the Mexican Mint produced a total of only 180,000 50 peso gold coins that year to commemorate their 100-year independence from Spain.
The original 50 peso gold coins were produced for sixteen years from 1921 until 1947, not factoring in the restrike years from 1949 – 1972. In most years, the 50 peso gold coins were produced in quantities of 500,000 or more, with mintages as high as 1.588 million, but there are some lower mintage years that sell at a bit of a premium.
The lowest mintage was in 1943 with a production of only 89,000 coins.
The second lowest mintage was 137,000 in 1931 followed by the inaugural year of 1921 with a mintage of 180,000 coins.
The size of the 50 peso gold coin may be the most interesting thing about the coin. The coin weighs 41.6 grams and is composed of 90% pure gold, which equates to 37.5 grams of pure gold or an actual gold weight (AGW) of 1.2057 troy ounces.
In fact, there’s no need to guess the weight (in grams) of the 50 peso Mexican gold coin, as the coin was struck with the weight on the front of the coin, which reads: “37.5 Gr Oro Puro.”
For those unfamiliar with the term AGW, it’s referring to the number of ounces of pure gold in the coin. To arrive at the AGW, merely divide the number of grams of pure gold by 31.1. The reason 31.1 is used is that this is the number of grams in a troy ounce of gold.
The unconventional size and weight have likely kept potential buyers or investors away from the coin in the past, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now, at least as of the time of this writing.
It certainly hasn’t affected business in Mexico, as we occasionally meet with customers who have resided in Mexico that share with us the tremendous popularity of this coin.
As we mentioned above, the 50 peso gold coin has a purity of 90%, which is similar to most foreign and old world gold coins. This is also the same purity as our pre-1933 U.S. gold coins. While the AGW or number of ounces of pure gold is a little more difficult to calculate on these coins, the positive is that these coins tend to show little evidence of wear.
One reason why these coins hold up so well or maintain their original appearance is due to the metal composition of the coins. For those who are familiar with gold, you’re probably aware that the purer the gold, the softer the metal.
As an example, 24k gold coins are very soft and are susceptible to scratches as well as contact and handling marks.
This differs from a coin that is composed of 90% gold. In the case of the 50 Mexican peso, a base alloy of copper is added to make the coin more durable and resistant to contact marks. The durability actually makes this a more attractive coin, as we rarely come across an example that is off quality.
While not technically a purity issue, as the restrike coins contain the same metal composition as the original 50 peso gold coins, they tend to differ in their appearance.
They have more of a copper or rose gold appearance and tend to lack the original mint luster that we see on the earlier dated coins. Rather, the finish on these coins tends to be more matte-like, similar to a burnished gold coin.
As we’ve discussed in the past, demand for certain products tends to ebb and flow over time. At the moment, we’re seeing the highest demand we’ve ever seen for 50 peso gold coins in the last 13 years.
- Presently, demand for most gold and silver coins and bullion is at a multi-year high. The most popular items are U.S. gold and silver coins, which has pushed up premiums well above their historic average. Due to the high price of these coins, we believe that some investors are looking for alternatives, which could be one of the reasons for the increased interest in the 50 peso gold coins.
- We generally try to stay away from politics and government policies, but anyway you look at it, we’ve seen a large influx of individuals from across the border over the past couple of years. It’s safe to say that although many are immigrating not all these individuals are destitute. Like most Americans, our friends from south of the border are concerned about inflation and are seeking a safe haven investment option as a way to preserve their wealth. At the time of this writing, the inflation rate in Mexico is 8.7%, which is on par with the inflation rate in the United States.
- While many individuals from Mexico are crossing the border in search of a more prosperous life, at the same time, a decent bit of Americans are leaving the United States for Mexico for political reasons and in search of a lower cost of living. In fact, we hear regularly of many expat communities currently in Mexico. As a result, those individuals who have plans to relocate or have relocated to Mexico may be purchasing 50 peso gold coins with the thought that these coins will be more recognizable and liquid than their modern bullion gold coins if and/or when the time comes to sell.
- Another potential reason for the increased demand could be the simple aesthetics and beauty of the coin. When searching for alternative gold options outside of the usual mainstream U.S. gold and silver coins, many investors are considering the 50 peso for the first time. They’re certainly among the most attractive gold coins in the market. Designed by Emilio del Moral, the coins feature an image of Winged Victory signifying the Angel of Independence. In her right hand, she holds a laurel crown, representing victory. In her left hand, she holds broken chains symbolizing freedom. This image also represents the famed statue, fondly called El Ángel, that the people of Mexico erected in 1910 in central Mexico City to celebrate 100 years since the beginning of their war for independence from Spain. The obverse (or back of the coin) showcases the Mexican Coat of Arms as well as an eagle atop a cactus devouring a serpent.
The 50 peso Mexican gold coin, or Centenario, is a beautiful and intriguing coin with many positive attributes. Some of the earlier issued coins were produced in lower quantities and tend to sell at higher premiums. However, these days even the more recently produced 50 pesos, including the restrikes, are in high demand and are selling at their highest premiums in years.
The hefty size and durability of the coin are attractive features. At approximately 20% larger than most modern bullion coins, they stand out from the crowd. Plus, the metal composition prevents the coin from showing excessive wear over time, even when not handled properly.
Lastly, we highlighted some reasons why we believe the 50 peso may be in higher demand than in the past, but without polling all our customers, this is merely a best guess based on the limited information we have at our disposal.
We’re well-informed about the current market for these coins and are among the most competitive buyers in the industry.
Alternatively, if we’ve sold you on the idea of adding these gorgeous coins to your portfolio and you’re in the market to buy 50 peso gold coins, we’ll do our best to help secure these desirable gold coins for you.
Give us a call at 678-264-6421 to buy or sell your 50 peso gold Centenario or other gold & silver coins!
Happy Treasure Hunting!