ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS 50 Peso Oro Puro
The Mexican 50 Peso is one of the world's most beautiful gold coins. It was designed by Emilio Del Moral and engraved by (still trying to confirm) for the Casa de Moneda de Mexico (The Mexico Mint) to commemorate a century of Mexican Independence from Spanish rule. The Gold 50 Peso, also called CENTENARIO, was authorized for issue by decree on September 14, 1921.
The dates 1921 through 1931 and 1944 through 1947 are regular legal tender issues, while the 1943 date, also known as "Tejo", is considered a bullion issue on which the phrase "50 Pesos" was been replaced with a second "37.5 Gr. Oro Puro”.
Between 1949 and 1972 the Mexican Mint produced 3,975,654 re-strikes using original 1947 dated dies and although they have a monetary marking of “50 Pesos” they are generally considered to be bullion issues. The original coins produced in 1947 are not distinguishable from those produced as re-strikes in later years.
In 1996 the Mexican Mint produced an estimated 300 re-strikes using a re-tooled 1947 die. These are referred to as Specimen strikes and have a semi-proof finish. Very little is known about these Specimens and the exact mintage can not be fully verified due to incomplete records at the Mexican Mint.
In late 2005 or early 2006 (still trying to verify) the Mexican Mint once again began to produce the 1947 dated 50 Peso gold coins, this time using a brand new die. These coins can be easily identified by the heavy matte finish that distinguishes them from the original die and specimen die strikes. PCGS uses the new code of 159793 verses the old code of 526255 and typically adds the comment “New Die” to the label insert to distinguish these from each other. The NGC label does not distinguish between the original die strikes, original die re-strikes, or the new die re-strikes.
Two proofs are known to exist, both dated 1947. The one residing in this collection has been authenticated and graded by NGC. It has fully mirrored fields with frosted devices and a superb cameo appearance. It is not know exactly when or under what circumstances these two proofs were made.
In the 1950’s, at the request of Edwards H. Metcalf, the Mexican Mint produced five 1947 re-strikes in Platinum. Only one piece, the one in this collection authenticated and graded by NGC, has ever appeared in auction. Metcalf is the grandson of Huntington one of the richest men in America during the 1850's.
Obverse Design: Winged Victory, grasping a laurel wreath in her right hand to symbolize victory and broken chains in her left hand to symbolize freedom, is prominently featured in the center of the coin. Two of Mexico's famous volcanic mountains, the Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl which get their names from Aztec lovers in Mexican folklore, are in the background. Forty steps are along the rim stretching from mountain top to mountain top. The date of Independence (1821) is inscribed to the Winged Victory's right while the date of the coin’s mintage is inscribed to her left.
Reverse Design: The Mexican National Coat of Arms is prominently displayed at the center of the coin. The eagle also referred to as the PORFIRIAN EAGLE after General Porfirio Diaz, whose government initiated the monetary reform of 1905, holds a snake in its beak and rests on a cactus. Above the eagle is the inscription ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS (UNITED MEXICAN STATES) while below there is a laurel and oak branch. Sixty-eight steps encircle the design along the rim of the coin.
Edge: The edge contains the inscription INDEPENDENCIA Y LIBERTAD (INDEPENDENCE AND FREEDOM).
Composition: Gross Weight of 41.667 Grams of 0.900 Fine Gold, providing a Net Gold Weight of 37.5 Grams (1.2057 Troy Ounces).
Mint Location: All Gold 50 Pesos were and are minted at the Mexico City Mint, which is the first and oldest continuous Mint in the Americas, founded in the year 1535.
To Cory Frampton of the Mexican Coin Company who has provided several key dates to this collection, routinely keeps me apprised on new developments at the Mexican Mint, and who proactively brought the “New Die” strikes to my attention.
To Allen Rowe and Aaron Ware of Northern Nevada Coin who brought to the market the first ever 3rd party graded example of the very rare 1947 Specimen. Allen’s team has been extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and professional in every aspect of our transactions, and has helped to assemble the vast majority of the coins in this set.
To Heritage Auction Galleries who brought to the numismatic community a "discovery Coin", the extremely rare Proof 1947.
To Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins and Collectables who brought the first Platinum strike to auction, and particularly to Glenn Onishi whom has been extremely helpful in brining me the history of the Edwards H. Metcalf collection.
To the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC) for providing me with the use of this wonderful forum and for the ability to share the Challenger Collection with the greater numismatic community.
Goals for 2008:
This year I will vastly improve the quality of my coin photos, and as always I will continue to upgrade any dates that become available.
In the "wishful thinking" category I am still trying to meet with the Director of the Mexican Mint, tour the facility, learn more about the elusive Specimen, Proof and Platinum issues, and to verify the initial production date of the newly produced 1947 re-strike die.
I welcome any and all comments from the numismatic community that could help me to expand my knowledge on the Mexican Gold 50 Peso, please feel free to share your comments.
Mexican Gold 50 Pesos, 1921 through 1947, Centennial of Independence.