When the Spanish first started mining silver in the New World in the 1500s, they used some of it to make crude hand-wrought coins. But as the Spanish real became one of the most widely accepted international currencies, measures were taken to reduce counterfeiting, including more detailed designs and lettering on the edges of the coins so that shaving the pure silver or gold could be easily detected. The weight of the Mexican-minted silver and gold coins was carefully controlled, giving the currency their common names—peso de oro and peso de plata, Spanish for weight of gold and weight of silver, respectively. The most common peso coins were 27.468 grams of 93.5% pure silver and equaled eight Spanish reales, giving them their common name, “pieces of eight.”
Official U.S. Currency Issued alongside the Mexican Peso
The United States didn’t have an official currency until 1792, when the U.S. Treasury began issuing coins at par with the Mexican peso, which had been a common currency for all of North America for several years prior. The U.S. dollar symbol, $, was based on the sign for theSpanishAmerican peso. But even with official U.S. currency, the Mexican peso remained widely accepted well into the 19th century in the U.S. and around the world.
Mexican Peso Devaluation
As times and economic conditions changed, the Mexican peso underwent a series of devaluations, and by 1957, the peso’s silver content was reduced to a mere 10%. These were the last silver one-peso (Un Peso) coins. By the mid-1970s, Mexico began converting its coins to bimetallic ones similar to U.S. coins, although some large denomination peso coins continued to have a small amount of silver sandwiched in their centers.
1957-1967 Mexican Un Peso Silver Coins
The Great American Coin Company® is pleased to offer Mexican Un PesoSilver Coins dated from 1957 to 1967. These coins contain .0514 oz. of silver andoffer a great opportunity to own genuine silver coins at a very low price. Relatively small numbers of these historic coins remain, millions having been melted down for their silver content.
The Silver Un Peso coins have the Mexican national symbol of an eagle with a snake in its beak perched on a cactus on the face and bust of Jose Morales, Mexico’s national hero, on the reverse. The coins also have the motto Independencia y Libertad (Independence and Liberty) inscribed on their edge.
These 10% Silver Pesos offer a glimpse into history and are perfect entry-level coins for beginning silver collectors. They’re just part of Great American Coin’s extensive selection of currency from around the world as well as collectible U.S. coins and paper currency. We keep adding unique collectibles as they become available, so be sure to visit us frequently.