What is a Centenario Coin?
The most emblematic piece of Mexican Coinage, the Centenario Gold Bullion Coin, holds an important place in coin collectors' hearts as one of their favorite coins. It stands out for its beauty, numismatic value, and a testament to Mexico's fight for independence.
Keep reading to uncover more about how much a Centenario Coin is worth, as well as its design, history, demand, and prices.
The 50 Peso Mexican Gold Coin minted between 1921 and 1947 by the Bank of Mexico was produced to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain. It was intended as a special issue to mark that historic occasion and was not intended for everyday use in regular commercial transactions.
The Mexico Mint couldn't have picked a wiser figure than the Roman goddess, Victory, to celebrate the complex series of revolts that marked the 11-year war for independence from Spanish colonial rule. To honor the centennial of the beginning of that war, in 1910, a 22-foot victory column was installed in the capital, Mexico City.
On the top, it is Winged Victory, a seven-ton bronze statue gilded in 24k gold leaf. The Goddess has her right hand raised on the laurel wreath of self-governance. On her left hand is the suggestive broken chain of servitude. The same design was chosen to feature the coin's reverse.
In 1921, the centennial of the ending of the war, the Mexican Mint designated artist engraver Emilio del Moral to create a commemorative 50 Pesos coin with the winged Angel of Independence at the center.
The coins were issued regularly from 1921 to 1931. But in 1943, the production restarted to meet the demand for gold coins during World War II.
As proof of their importance in Mexican culture, wearing them as a necklace has become quite popular among Mexicans. In order to do so, a jeweler uses a gold rim to hold the coin, through which a gold chain can be threaded.
Get a detailed look at this unique coinage's physical aspects, including its size, weight, and metal composition below.
Obverse Side of the Centenario Coin
The obverse of the Centenario contains the image of Winged Victory (El Ángel, El Ángel de la Independencia: "The Angel of Independence") as a symbol of Mexican independence. Victory stands in the middle of the image with two very important elements: a circular garland made from leaves and branches of the laurel (Laurus nobilis) tree in her right hand and broken chains in her left.
Behind her are the two iconic Mexican volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccíhuatl. On the right side of Victory is the face value of "50 Pesos," and on her left, the fine weight "37.5GR ORO PURO".
The year 1821 on the lower left represents Mexico's independence, while the year of mintage is placed at the lower right. 1921 and 1931 (the first and last years of the original series) mintages are particularly valuable.
Production restarted in 1943 until 1947. However, due to the demand for gold coins, the Mexican Mint continued to produce these coins from 1949 to 1972, then again in the 1990s and 2000s, all of them still bearing the "1947" mint year.
In addition, the Mexican Mint produced several commemorative issues in 1943 and in the 1950s and 1960s. These commemorative coins did not have the "50 Peso" face value.
Reverse Side of the Centenario Coin
The reverse depicts the Mexican coat of arms, which shows the golden eagle perched on a cactus with a rattle snake in its beak. The eagle is also one of Mexico's most important national symbols, and it also features on the country's coat of arms, flag, and of course, currency.
The inscription "ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS", which means "United States of Mexico," surrounds the coin.
The original Centenario motif was used in the later Libertad Series of silver and gold bullion coins.
As you may know, pure gold is soft, which tends to make it more vulnerable to handling marks. But not for the Centenario Coin. It was minted in an alloy composed of 90% gold and 10% copper, so durability is certainly one of its strongest aspects.
In fact, the Centenario Coins weigh 41.6 grams and are composed of 90% fine gold, which equates to 37.5 grams of pure gold or an actual gold weight (AGW) of 1.2057 troy ounces. All that with a thickness of 2.8mm and a diameter of 37mm.
Restrikes are coins that are struck from old dies after the original minting of that coin had ceased production. They are genuine issued coins by the mint but with a retrospective date. These types of coins are often produced to meet collector demand, but they may not hold the same value as the original, especially if they are not minted to the same standards.
As an example, between the years 1949 and 1972, nearly four million pieces of the Centenario coin were struck, all of them dated 1947.
There is one unique variation of the Centenario in 1943, which was issued in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Mexico City. The 1943 edition has the lowest mintage in the series, with only 89,000 pieces struck. Nevertheless, it continues to be exchanged at a value close to its bullion worth.
The Mexican government believed that there was no reason to keep the "50 Pesos" wording on the coin as it was worth much more than 50 pesos in gold. So they just kept the inscription "37.5 Gr. Oro Puro" on both sides of Winged Victory. However, attending the public's requests, the "50 Pesos" wording was reintroduced to the coin the following year.
A full collection of 16 Centenario coins would amount to approximately 19.2 ounces of fine gold, while a set that includes overdate and restrike varieties would consist of about 18 coins and 21.6 ounces of gold.
Over the years, the Mexican Mint has produced various sizes and versions of the Centenario coin, including a 2 peso coin and a 20 peso coin.
As of August 2023, in Good Condition, a Centenario coin can be worth somewhere between $2,400 to $2.800.
Factors Affecting the Value of a Centenario Coin
Find out the definition of the spot price and how the gold price can affect the value of a gold coin, as well as how to keep track of the current price of gold.
Spot Price or Actual Gold Content in Pesos
Some of the key factors when determining the value of a Gold Mexican Centenario are the spot price and actual gold concentration, given that this issue is 90% gold.
So, to start, keep in mind that the spot price for gold is the current market price at a given moment for the immediate buying or selling of one troy ounce of gold.
Our interactive gold price chart allows you to view prices for a wide range of periods and custom date ranges. We also provide a “quick view” chart that provides the price today, within 24 hours, for the past month, the past six months, and for a full year.
Furthermore, the actual gold fineness in a coin is crucial when evaluating its actual value because it directly determines the intrinsic worth of the coin as a piece of precious metal. The amount of gold in the alloy represents the amount of pure gold present in the coin, which is typically measured in troy ounces or grams.
Since gold is a highly valuable and widely recognized precious metal, its market price is influenced by global supply and demand dynamics, economic conditions, as well as political factors. As a result, the value of gold bullion largely depends on the current market price of gold and the coin's actual gold concentration.
The more gold proportion a coin contains, the more valuable it is when compared to coins with lower gold content.
Finally, knowing the actual gold percentage is essential to precisely grasp the coin's worth and determine its investment value. This information is crucial for buyers, sellers, investors, and collectors to make informed decisions and ensure fair pricing in gold bullion transactions.
Age, Rarity, and Demand for the Centenario Coin
The scarcity of a coin can significantly impact its value. Coins with limited mintage or those that are hard to find are generally highly sought after. The 50 Peso Mexican Gold coin had relatively low mintage numbers throughout its mintage history.
The age of the issue also contributes to its value since older coins tend to be rarer and, therefore, more valuable, especially those with historical significance.
The level of demand for a specific coin in the collecting market can also drive its value higher. Popular coins that many collectors seek will command higher prices. And let's not forget that coin values can fluctuate based on changes in the collecting market, economic conditions, and investor sentiment.
With that being said, it is relatively easy to sell the Centenario coin, you can sell it at any Mexican bank, at an exchange house, or to a private buyer.
It's important to note that the numismatic value (collectible value) of a coin can differ significantly from its face value or bullion value (if applicable). Coin collectors and investors often consider these aspects when determining how much a coin is worth.
Mint Condition and Uncirculated Coins
Mint condition and uncirculated coins are highly demanded by collectors and investors due to their exceptional quality, which can make them more valuable than similar coins that have been circulated or damaged.
Saying that a coin is in mint condition usually means that the coin was meant for circulation, however it was kept almost perfectly preserved throughout the years, barely showing any signs of wear or tear. In other words, they still resemble a brand-new coin, just out of minting.
Uncirculated coins, on the other hand, is a term usually referred to a coin that was never intended for circulation, but rather for investing or collecting purposes. Some examples include the American Gold Eagle, not to mention the Mexican Gold Libertad coins.
Grading services adhere to strict and standardized grading guidelines. This ensures that coins of the same grade will have similar conditions regardless of where they are graded or who assesses them as a way of authenticating the piece.
Third-party grading services are a great option to provide neutral authentication and protection against counterfeiting. They encapsulate graded coins in tamper-resistant, sealed holders, making it difficult for counterfeiters to pass off fake coins as genuine graded ones. That makes the coin more acceptable in the community and easier to sell.
Check below for the top grading services available in the market:
PCGS: With a team of renowned experts in vintage and modern U.S. and World coins, PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) has established itself as the most trusted brand in the field of coin grading and authentication. The PCGS guarantee, along with its cert verification database, ensures that PCGS coins are the epitome of security, liquidity, and value in the market. As pioneers in the industry, PCGS introduced the tamper-evident, sonically sealed, high-security method of coin encapsulation, offering customers peace of mind and a safe storage solution.
NCG: Since 1987, NGC has graded more than 58 million coins, NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation) offers advanced protective holders for coins, tokens, and medals created after investing over $1 million in research and development. These holders are trusted by prestigious institutions like the Smithsonian and museums worldwide. Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) has been the official grading service of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) since 1995.
In short, using a grading service provides a standardized, trusted, and universally recognized way to assess a coin's condition, which might play a crucial role in determining its value in the numismatic market.
Many Investors tend to look for a "safe haven" to protect their money, which means they will go for the assets that tend to perform well during times of political or economic uncertainty. Golden Centenario can be a great option for those interested in gold coins to add to their collections and investment portfolios.
Gold is universally recognized and cannot be devalued by overprinting like dollar bills. Known for being a hedge against inflation, it is a tangible commodity used in everything from electronics to jewelry, so it will always be in demand.
How much is a Mexican Centenario worth today?
In Good Condition, it can be worth somewhere between $2,400 to $2.800. At SD Bullion, you can find a random year 50 Mexican Pesos at $2,521.90.
How much is a 50 peso gold coin worth in US dollars?
Good-condition versions are estimated to be worth between $2,400 and $2,800.
Is a Centenario pure gold?
The Gold Centenario Coin is composed of 90% pure gold, which equates to 37.5 grams of fine gold or an actual gold weight (AGW) of 1.2057 troy ounces. The alloy also contains 10% copper, which makes the coin more resistant and durable to handling and time.
What is the real Centenario?
A genuine Gold Centenario weighs 41.6 grams, has a 37mm diameter, and is 2.8mm thick. To confirm its gold content, check the sound it makes when tapped. Precious metals produce a long, high-pitched ringing sound, while base metals sound duller and shorter. For certainty, have it inspected by a third-party coin certification service.
How much does a Centenario coin weigh?
The Gold Mexican Centenario Coin weighs 41.6 grams total and is composed of 90% fine gold, which represents 37.5 grams of fine gold or 1.2057 troy ounces.
How many grams is a Centenario coin?
The Centenario Coins weigh 41.6 grams and are composed of 90% gold, which equates to 37.5 grams of fine gold.