By Jay Turner for PCGS ……
A favorite coin for many bullion collectors, especially in the United States, is the Mexico Centenario coin. The series started in 1921 as a commemorative for the Centenario, or 100th anniversary, of Mexico’s independence from Spain. The series, featuring 16 dates with optional overdate and restrike varieties, is a set that can be mostly completed with only a few coins featuring significant premiums over their bullion value.
The Centenario features the image of the Winged Victory (El Angel de la Independencia) standing proud in front of two famous Mexico volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccíhuatl. The coin carries the denomination of 50 Pesos but wasn’t meant for circulation. It also boasts the weight of 37.5 Gr Oro Puro (37.5 grams pure gold). Being struck in .900-fine gold, the coin weighs 41.6666 grams with an actual gold weight of 1.2057 ounces.
The Centenario set consists of 16 coins issued in two separate date runs. The first run starts in 1921 and goes to 1931. The second run starts in 1943 and continues to 1947.
The mintage for 1921 is only 180,000 coins; while not the lowest mintage, this date often commands the largest premiums, especially in higher Mint State grades. The 1931 issue is the lowest mintage of the first 10 years set, with a production figure of 137,000; this date also commands a large premium over the gold value. On some 1931 pieces a visible overdate exists as a 1931/0; the overdate currently trades for a higher premium than the generic 1931 issues.
In 1943, the coin was reinstated, removing the denomination, and replacing it with the reoccurring text “37.5Gr Oro Puro” on both sides. The 1943 issue has the lowest mintage of the series, with a total of just 89,000 pieces struck, but still trades close to the bullion value. The denomination “50 Pesos” was put back on the coin in 1944.
The last year for the series is dated 1947; however, this is a frozen date. The original mintage for the 1947 was 309,000. Starting in 1949 and continuing until 1972, coins dated 1947 were produced to the recorded mintage of 3,975,654. In 1996, another 7,954,777 coins were recorded and produced, all with the 1947 date. From 2000 through 2009, another 302,000 were reported as minted with a date of “1947”, making the total mintage of coins bearing that date 12,269,631. The coins that were minted during the 2000-2009 period are often referred to as “New Die Restrike”, with a modern finish that is either Brilliant or Matte and often grading significantly higher than the issues before 1996, with some preserved in MS70 condition.
Collecting the Mexican Centenario Gold Bullion Coin
Collecting a set of Centenario coins is not an insurmountable task. A complete date set of 16 coins would come to around 19.2 ounces of pure gold, and a set including overdate and restrike varieties would be about 18 coins and 21.6 ounces of gold. For those who wish to participate, PCGS offers a Registry Set for the 16-coin assemblage, in which currently there are 17 sets participating.
For those who collect, invest, or stack bullion, the Mexico Centenario series is a slightly more difficult set to collect but very satisfying to complete, with even large gold pieces bringing just slight premiums over their precious metal value.
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