The History of the Mexican Gold Peso

The Mexican Gold Peso

By Gainesville Coins
Published September 01, 2009

Perhaps the greatest reward of coin collecting is that each coin has its own unique beauty and history, and the Mexican Gold Peso is no exception. First minted in 1921, the Mexican Gold Peso commemorates the centennial of Mexico’s hard won independence from Spanish colonial rule.

The Mexican War for Independence lasted from 1810 to 1821. A Mexican-born Spaniard, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla led other colonial-born Spaniards, along with Mestizos and Amerindians, in an uprising against the Spanish conquistadors. Although Hildago shortly following his initial revolt, the Mexicans were ultimately successful in ousting their oppressors, and on September 27, 1821, the Treaty of Cordoba was ratified, giving Mexico sovereignty from Spain.

In 1910, the Columna de la Independencia (the Statue of Independence) was erected in Mexico City’s Paseo de Reforma, commemorating the start of the war. Atop a massive column is a figure of Winged Victory. This angel is made of bronze and plated in 24-karat gold. She holds a laurel crown, the symbol for victory, in her right hand. In the left, she clutches a broken chain that represents Freedom. At the base of the statue, a mausoleum hosts the remains of war heroes.

The Angel rapidly became a symbol of pride in Mexico, and was the perfect image to adorn the Mexican Gold Peso. In 1921, the Mexican 50 gold peso was minted for the first time. Each coin’s reverse depicts Winged Victory in the foreground, with Mexico’s volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihauti, in the background. On the obverse, the original Mexican coat of arms is etched in brilliant detail. The coat of arms features an eagle atop a cactus, devouring a serpent.

Unlike the Mexican gold 50 peso, the 20 peso features the modern version of the Mexican coat of arms. Rather than facing forward, the eagle on the Mexican 20 gold peso faces sideways. This updated design balances the coin’s obverse, which features the Aztec Calendar. Also known as the Sun Stone, this ancient calendar is one of Mexico’s most enduring pre-colonial symbols. Thus the Mexican 20 peso acknowledges Mexican heritage, both ancient and modern.

Both the 10 peso and 5 peso coins pay homage to Hildago on their reverse. Considered the “Father of the Nation,” Hildago’s efforts—and public execution for his role in the war—earned him a treasured place in the hearts of Mexicans and a burial in the mausoleum below the Columna de la Independencia.

The Mexican peso has grown to be a favorite among collectors of gold bullion, due to its historical interest and value as a hard asset. While other bullion coins like the Kruggerand and Gold American Eagle are widely promoted, the Mexican gold peso has quietly remained an excellent value for collectors. These lesser known coins are often available for a very small mark-up over the spot price, making them an outstanding investment for numismatists.

This information is provided for general reference purposes and does not constitute professional advice. For detailed coin collecting or investing information, please consult with a professional expert.

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