Actual Gold Content: 0.2411 troy ounce
The 20th century is rife with examples of financial breakdown and Mexico's rendezvous with economic disaster in 1994 is among the most instructive. The crisis began, as happens so often in these affairs, with a surprise announcement by Mexico's government that the currency had been devalued. As soon as it was made public, depositors lined up at the banks to retrieve their money and inundated brokerages with sell orders. A general panic gripped the nation almost immediately. The inflation rate went to 50% overnight, and interest rates soared to 70%.
Only a proper diversification into gold well before the crisis emerged properly insulated savers from the devaluation's pervasive reach into every area of the financial system. In many cases, those who managed to diversify did so in the physical gold former-coinage of the country. Immediately after the devaluation, the price of gold went from 1200 pesos per ounce to 2500 pesos, and from there it exceeded 3000 pesos in 1995, living up to its reputation as a safe-haven for investors.
Background: In 1910 Mexico celebrated the Centennial of the beginning of its War of Independence with Spain. To commemorate the event, a giant column was erected in the middle of Mexico City with a statue of "El Angel de la Independencia", "The Angel of Independence", sitting atop. This 6.7-meter statue, constructed of Bronze and Gold, represents the "Winged Victory", a Greek symbol for the goddess Nike (Victory). In her right hand the Angel holds a luarel crown, symbolizing Victory, while in her left she holds a broken chain, symbolizing Freedom.
First minted in 1921, the 50 Pesos gold coin honors the Centennial of the successful end of Mexico's War of Independence. "El Angel" is pictured on the coin opposite the national coat of arms. The Mexican coat of arms depicts the Mexican golden eagle devouring a snake while perched atop a cactus. Interestingly, the 50 Pesos, 10 Pesos, and 5 Pesos gold coins all feature the eagle facing forward, an antiquated version of the coat of arms developed in the French Style in the late 1800's.
Only the 20 Pesos gold coin features the modern version of the coat of arms, with the eagle facing sideways. On the reverse of the 20 Pesos gold coin is the Aztec Calendar, or Sun Stone, likely the most recognizeable symbol of Mexico.
The 10 Pesos coins (as do the 5 Pesos coins) feature Miguel Hidalgo on the reverse, considered to be the chief instigator of the Mexican revolution and the "Father of the Nation". In open defiance of Spanish rule, he united the downtrodden and indigenous peasants in a revolt in 1910, thus beginning the War of Independence. Hidalgo was captured shortly after the uprising began and was publicly executed. His remains are now interred in a mausoleum at the base of the column mentioned above.