While the largest coin ever struck by the Mexico City Mint, the 50 Peso Gold Coin was never intended as currency. A commemorative piece, it was first minted in 1921 as part of the celebrations surrounding the 100-year anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain. Referencing this anniversary, the coin is also known as the Centenario, which simply means “100 years old.”
The 50 Peso Gold Coin is very recognizable. On the obverse is a depiction of another famous artwork commemorating Independence: “El Angel de la Indepencia,” (the Angel of Independence), a statue erected in Mexico City, also in 1921. A winged woman about to take flight, she holds laurel leaves, representing victory, in her right hand and broken chains, representing freedom, in her left. Also on the obverse is the coin’s denomination and purity, with the date 1821 always in the lower left and the year the coin was minted in the right.
The reverse depicts imagery recognizable to those familiar with the Mexican flag: an eagle perched atop a prickly pear cactus with a snake clasped in its beak. An image adopted in 1821, it references the legend of the Aztecs looking for a sign from the gods for where to build their city. Legend has it that they saw this amazing sight exactly where Mexico City is today. The phrase “Estados Unis Mexicanos,” (the United Mexican States), arcs above the eagle.
The value of these coins varies, with a low-end estimate of approximately $1,500. Coins minted between 1921-1947 are considered to have a value greater than their gold content, the 1921 coins being considered the most valuable and frequently priced closer to $3,000. Likewise, coins from 1947 are priced closer to $1,800.
The immense global popularity of these coins in undeniable. So great in fact that from the years 2000-2009, 300,000 more of these coins were minted, official production of them having ended in 1972. The 50 Peso Gold Coin has an impressive gold content as well, being 90% gold and 10% copper. Being, then, both extremely attractive and with a high gold content, they are well-sought after by collectors and those seeking to invest in gold.