By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for Coinweek …..
The Peru 100 Soles gold coin series is one of the most beautiful yet elusive classic world gold coins. Issued from 1950 through 1970, 100 Soles gold coins were typically minted in very small numbers, with all but three issues seeing fewer than 10,000 pieces minted.
During many years, less than 1,000 coins were made.
However, low mintages aren’t the only selling factor with the Peru 100 Soles gold coin. Its relatively large bullion content is another reason many collectors and bullion investors enjoy these hefty gold coins. Measuring 37 millimeters in diameter (nearly the size of a classic American silver dollar) and three millimeters in thickness, the 100 Soles coin consists of 90-percent gold and weighs an impressive 46.8071 grams (1.3543 ounces).
But if low mintages and substantial bullion content aren’t enough to convince you of the merits of these classic gold coins, perhaps their gorgeous design will.
The obverse depicts an ornate seated Liberty figure adorned in a lavish dress. Held in her right hand is a shield bearing a Sol de Mayo (“Sun of May”) design–a symbol of South American independence–while in her left hand is a pole topped with a cap.
Before her is a short column displaying a wreath; loosely wrapped around the monument is a large ribbon bearing the word LIBERTAD.
The central design feature on the reverse is Peru’s coat of arms, which contains three main elements:
- In the upper left of the shield is the vicuña, a camelid creature that serves as Peru’s national animal and represents the country’s fauna on the national seal;
- In the top right segment of the coat of arms is the quinine tree, the source of a popular flavoring for tonic water and also the necessary ingredients for anti-malarial drugs;
- At the bottom of the seal is a cornucopia filled with coins, symbolizing the nation’s abundant mineral resources.
Mintages by Year
As mentioned above, Peru 100 Soles gold coins are relatively scarce. The highest-mintage piece, a 1965 commemorative issue honoring the 400th anniversary of the Lima Mint, saw just 27,000 pieces struck, though many dates had production runs a fraction of that. As always, collectors shouldn’t fixate on mintage figures alone when determining how scarce a coin is, especially when dealing with older gold bullion coinage. Many of these pieces have been melted over the years, and thus are actually much scarcer than even the anemic mintage figures below may suggest.
- 1950 – 1,176
- 1951 – 8,241
- 1952 – 126
- 1953 – 498
- 1954 – 1,808
- 1955 – 901
- 1956 – 1,159
- 1957 – 550
- 1958 – 101
- 1959 – 4,710
- 1960 – 2,207
- 1961 – 6,982
- 1962 – 9,678
- 1963 – 7,342
- 1964 – 11,000
- 1965 – 23,000
- 1965 (400th Anniv. Lima Mint) – 27,000
- 1966 – 3,409
- 1966 (100th Anniv. Peru-Spain Naval Battle) – 6,253
- 1967 – 6,431
- 1968 – 540
- 1969 – 540
- 1970 – 425
While mintages for the 100 Soles gold coin are relatively tiny, most issues can still be obtained for only a nominal amount over their spot value in grades of Extremely Fine-40 or below, with the exception of the scarce 1952 and 1958 issues. “Run-of-the-mill” uncirculated examples of the 1952 and 1958 gold coins presently sell for about $7,000 and $12,500+, respectively.
The 1965 100 Soles gold coin honors the 400th anniversary of the Lima Mint, where all of the 100 Soles gold coins were made. On the obverse of the Lima Mint commemorative gold coin is the national coat of arms, and on the reverse is a design incorporating the Pillars of Hercules within a circle surrounded by the words LIMA 1565-1965.
The 1966 commemorative gold coin obverse shows the national coat of arms, while on the reverse proudly stands the goddess Victory dividing an 1866-1966 dual date element. While both commemorative coins feature special designs, neither piece is relatively more scarce or higher priced than the Seated Liberty 100 Soles coins.
The Peru 100 Soles Gold Coin Market
Run-of-the-mill circulated or uncirculated specimens of the Peru 100 Soles gold coin make gorgeous additions to any world coin collection and are exotic inclusions in a bullion portfolio. Those in pursuit of high-grade 100 Soles coins will not be disappointed, though patience is the key for those who wish to buy high-quality examples of the low-mintage gold coins.
Relatively few coin dealers specialize in this material, so it may prove difficult to find these coins at the typical coin shop, let alone a specific date or issue. Buyers may have to peruse online dealers to find what they are looking for. Many bullion distributors sell random dates in the About Uncirculated to Uncirculated grade range for a small premium over spot.
Most common-date specimens grading between AU and MS-64 are presently listed for between $2,000 and $2,500 on sites such as eBay. Several notable specimens have also been listed on the popular online auction site. These include a 1963 specimen graded MS-67 by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and approved by the World Identification and Numismatic Grading Service (WINGS).
This piece, the highest-grading specimen for its issue, was listed for $4,934.30.
Another NGC gem, a 1964 100 Soles gold coin graded MS-66, was offered for $3,324.25.
A 1951 NGC MS-66 specimen, with just one piece grading higher, was offered for sale at $3,275.
Peru 100 Soles Gold Coins Currently Available on eBay