Mexican Pre Colombian Series

In the era before Columbus, the Aztec Empire was one of the most powerful and most dreaded of the city states of Mesoamerica. Centered around the palace of their Emperor and the huge pyramidal temple of their fierce warrior god, Huitzilopochtli – whose name means “Left-Handed Hummingbird” – the Aztecs could muster up to a hundred thousand warriors. Ferocious and cunning fighters, ruled over by a military dictatorship and a fanatical priesthood, and producing highly distinctive art and cultural artifacts, the Aztecs struck fear in all of their neighbors.

The Aztecs’ policy of leaving nearby city states semi-independent in order to prey on them (literally, since captives were not only sacrificed, but eaten garnished with chili peppers and other spices) was to prove their eventual undoing. The Tlaxcalans, another proud, warlike people nearly as strong as the Aztecs, eventually allied with the vigorous, highly intelligent Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes to bring down the Aztec Empire forever. From the ruins, the Spanish built their colony of New Spain, which eventually became the Mexico we know today.

Refreshingly, the Tlaxcalans were rewarded with semi-autonomy by the Spanish rather than being betrayed by them, and remained their staunch allies until the end of Spanish colonial rule. However, the pre-Columbian period produced some of the most colorful and striking images of Mexican history, ranging from the beauty of feathered cloaks and the splendor of palaces and causeways across the lake, to the grisly details of sacrificial pyramids and tzompantli (skull racks) where the trophies of Huitzilopochtli were displayed.

The powerful imagery of this distinctive culture are well suited to numismatic purpose, and the Mexican Mint has taken advantage of this to make an interesting series of pre-Columbian silver coins for collectors around the world to enjoy. You can own a piece of Mexican history and a high quality silver bullion coin at the same time, and expand your portfolio at the same time.

How to Buy the Mexican Pre-Columbian Silver Series

The Mexican Mint does not sell coinage directly to the public, although the Casa de Moneda de Mexico, as it is officially known, does maintain a website where potential purchasers and long-term collectors alike can view the latest numismatic offerings from the Central American nation. The website is well organized and includes an e-mail address for inquiries – such as questions about where to find a dealer who sells the Casa’s latest coins – though knowledge of Spanish is probably helpful when writing to the personnel at the mint, or at least a good translation program.

The pre-Columbian series was completed during the 1990s, however, so it is not exactly “hot off the presses” and a certain amount of searching may be needed to ferret out every coin. APMEX (the American Precious Metals Exchange) is a good starting point, since they keep many of the pre-Columbian series coins in stock. Some of the specific “collections” are complete, while others have gaps, which you will need to fill from other online sources or from eBay, if you are attempting to purchase every coin that exists in the series.

General Characteristics of the Pre-Columbian Silver Series

The pre-Columbian silver coins minted by the Casa de Moneda de Mexico are all uncirculated commemorative coins, meaning that they have never been used as legal tender and accordingly tend to be in brilliant uncirculated condition unless they have been in the hands of a particularly coarse and negligent collector who tossed them in the silverware drawer or some such.

Total mintage of each coin is very small, running to about 4,500 individual coins in most cases. There is perhaps an additional dollar or two of numismatic premium over and above what might be expected from a silver bullion coin of that size, but the value of the coins has not appreciated dramatically and seems unlikely to in the near future despite their rarity. They remain, essentially, a bullion investment rather than a speculative collectible whose premium over spot is apt to increase explosively.

The coins themselves are standard sizes for their weight, designed to match closely to international standards in order to make them properly salable. The five troy ounce coin in each “collection” weighs in at 5 troy ounces of .999 fine silver, and is a robust 2.6 inches in diameter (65 mm). Users of the metric system may wish to note that the weight of these coins is 155.515 grams.

The one troy ounce (31.1 gram) silver pre-Columbian coins are 1.6 inches (40 mm) in diameter, and 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. The one-half troy ounce (15.552 gram) coins are 1 1/3 inches (33 mm) in diameter, and the quarter-ounce (7.776 gram) fractional silver coins are 1 1/10 inches (27 mm) across. Regardless of their size, these coins are made out of 99.9% pure silver, and are available in two finishes, satin and proof. All have a nominal face value, but this varies by year of production, since some collections were produced under the old peso system and some denominated in “New Pesos”.

How are Mexican Pre-Columbian Coins Organized?

The releases of Mexican pre-Columbian coins were highly systematic, and the classifications used are still very useful for describing and collecting the series. The Mexican pre-Columbian series is divided into six collections, each dealing with a different portion of ancient Mesoamerican culture. Each of these collections, in turn, contains six coin designs in an array of metals and weights.
The six collections which make up the main part of the Mexican pre-Columbian coins are:

  • The Aztec collection
  • The Center of Veracruz collection
  • The Maya collection
  • The Olmec collection
  • The Teotihuacan collection
  • The Toltec collection

Within each collection, there are six different coin designs. These designs are highly organized, and each collection includes the following sizes and metals of coins:

  • A gold coin which is the main coin of the series, and which comes in three sizes, in 1 troy ounce, ½ troy ounce, and ¼ troy ounce sizes.
  • A large five ounce silver coin.
  • Three silver coins which come only in one troy ounce size.
  • One silver coin which is struck in 1 troy ounce, ½ troy ounce, and ¼ troy ounce weights.

What Coins are Included in the Aztec Collection?

The Aztec collection was the flagship collection in the series, which is perhaps not surprising, considering that the modern government’s capital city of Mexico City is the ancient site of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital as well. These coins were minted under the old peso, and so have nominal face values than more recent coins in the series which are denominated in new pesos. Honoring the fierce cannibal warriors who marched from the shadow of the temple of Huitzilopotchli, these coins include:

Jaguar Stone of the Sun (Gold). This gold coin, coming in the usual ¼ ounce, ½ ounce, and 1 ounce sizes, shows the fanged, gaping head of a stylized jaguar from Aztec art, surrounded by small spirals. The nominal face value is 1,000 pesos. The reverse also features the inscription “Jaguar Piedra de los Soles”.

Stone of Tizoc, 5 Ounce Silver. This coin is struck only in a 5 troy ounce size, and features two figures, one of which is the Emperor Tizoc dressed as Huitzilopotchli, holding another figure by the hair. The original “stone” is a carved stone bowl into which the still-beating hearts of sacrificial victims were thrown. Amusingly, the nominal face value of this coin is 10,000 pesos, higher than the far more valuable Jaguar Stone of the Sun gold coin. The words “Piedra de Tizoc” appear on this coin’s reverse as well.

Xochipilli, 1 Ounce Silver. A one ounce silver coin, the Xochipilli coin bears the image of the Aztec god of the same name in his human incarnation, as depicted in a statue from the height of Tenochtitlan’s reign. The god is shown sitting cross-legged and gazing slightly upward atop a blocky stone plinth, in the pose which is said to be characteristic of those deeply under the influence of peyote or other hallucinogenic drugs.

o The deity’s original portfolio included homosexuality and male prostitutes, as well as dance and flowers. One rather wishes that Xochipilli’s Lovecraftian non-human form had been shown instead, resembling as it does an alien combination of bat and toad as bizarre as anything from modern day science fiction or horror films.

o The coin’s nominal face value is 100 pesos, and the sole reverse inscription is “Xochipilli”.

Huehueteotl, 1 Ounce Silver. The ominous, wrinkled face of Huehueteotl, also known as the Old One, appears on this 1 troy ounce silver coin. This god, one of the aspects of the deity of fire, was placated by burning human hearts on a bed of coals, thus honoring his two symbolic elements, fire and blood. The god’s name and a 100 peso nominal face value appear on the reverse of this coin.

Effigy Brazier, 1 Ounce Silver. A brazier sculpted in the image of a rather menacing human head appears on this coin, one of the many ritual objects discovered archaeologically or preserved by the Spaniards during the conquest of Mexico. The coin is described simply as “Brasero Efigie”, which means Effigy Brazier, and has a 100 peso nominal face value (old pesos).

Eagle Warrior, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, or 1 Ounce Silver. The final coin in the Aztec collection, this coin shows the face of one of the Aztec’s elite warriors, an Eagle Warrior or Eagle Knight. Together with the Jaguar Knights, these soldiers represented the finest fighting men of the Aztec Empire, and were hand picked for their courage and skill from the ranks of ordinary soldiers. They wore light armor decorated to resemble and eagle, including a helmet resembling an eagle’s head, with the warrior’s face looking out through the beak. It is the image of one of these proud, aggressive warriors that appears on this coin.

o The Eagle Warrior coin comes in three sizes – regular 1 troy ounce coins, as well as fractional coins of ¼ ounce and ½ ounce size. The inscription reads “Guerrero Aguila”, and the nominal face value is 100, 50, or 25 pesos depending on size.

What Coins are Included in the Center of Veracruz Collection?

This collection focuses on the area of Veracruz, the site where Hernan Cortes first landed in Mexico. This area is famed mainly for this event, though it naturally had its own local lordships. The area was firmly under the thumbs of the Aztecs and supplied them with a tribute of people for sacrifices as well as more ordinary tribute from subject to conqueror.

The coins included in this series are:

Ceremonial Ax, Gold. This gold coin comes in 1 ounce as well as ½ and ¼ ounce fractional sizes for those who cannot afford quite as much gold as a full ounce coin contains. It shows an ax head fashioned in the shape of a blocky featured, grim human face with a bulging forehead. The coin bears the inscription “Hacha Ceremonial” and the nominal face value of 100 New Pesos.

Pyramid of the Niches, 5 Ounce Silver Coin. This 5 ounce silver coin shows the Pyramid of the Niches, a major temple in the abandoned site of El Tajin. This was once a populous and powerful city, but eventually fell victim to the Chichimecs, who burned the metropolis and exterminated its population so thoroughly that it was not rediscovered until 1785.

o The Pyramid of the Niches, which appears on this coin, is a seven story pyramid with niches that once held candles, and which is believed to have been dedicated to the rain god.

o The coin is inscribed with “Piramide de El Tajin” and has a face value of 10 New Pesos.

Palm with Crocodile, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. This silver coin shows an ancient Mesoamerican carving of palm leaves and an alligator from the Veracruz region. The inscription “Palma con Cocodrilo” and the nominal face value of 5 New Pesos appear on the reverse.

Elder with Brazier, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. The withered, crouching sinister figure of Huehueteotl puts in another appearance on this coin, bearing a large brazier on his head, in his role as divinity of blood and fire. This brazier was used to incinerate the hearts of sacrificial victims after they were slain with a blow of a flint knife, used to pry apart the ribs and give the priest access to the heart. The coin is inscribed “Anciano con Brasero”, and is stamped 5 New Pesos as well.

Smiling Carita, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. An enigmatic type of smiling human face image found only in the Center of Veracruz out of all Mesoamerica is depicted on this one ounce silver coin. The wide smile, strange features, and inevitable cap or ritual hairdo are all inevitable features of the many mysterious depictions of this figure in Veracruz’s ancient art.

o The exact nature of the figure is uncertain, but some speculation includes that it shows someone under the influence of euphoric hallucinogens, or that it shows a devotee of Xochipilli, the god of pleasure and homosexuality. The inscription “Carita Sonriente” and the nominal face value of 5 New Pesos appears on this coin as well.

Bas Relief of El Tajin, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, and 1 Ounce Silver Coins. The three-sized coin of the Center of Veracruz collection, the Bas Relief of El Tajin shows a section of the abandoned capital’s decoration. This particular example comes from a building known by the jaw-cracking name of the Great Xicalcoluihqui, and shows an inscription related to its builder, a monarch whose name translates as “Thirteen Rabbit”. The coin bears the words “Bajo Relieve de el Tajin”.

What Coins are in the Maya Collection?

The Mayans were another ferocious warrior culture who dwelt in the thick jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula, close to the place where the bolide impact that caused the Cretaceous extinction event likely occurred. Many of the sacred cenotes, which are sinkholes filled with clear, pristine water, are part of the crustal damage caused by the same event that created the adjacent Chicxulub crater. 65 million years later, the Maya built their pyramidal temples and ponderous stone cities near the site of this ancient catastrophe.

The coins included in the Maya series include:

Personage of Jaina, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, and 1 Troy Ounce Gold Coin. The island of Jaina in the northern Yucatan has yielded a startling group of baked clay figurines of a naturalism found nowhere else in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican art, suggesting that an unknown artistic genius dwelt in the nearby clay making center of Jonuta.

o This coin shows one of the most dramatic figures – a lordly-looking man in elaborate garb, seated on a throne and surveying the viewer with a calm, imperious gaze.

o The coin places this figure within an interesting hexagonal field, and bears the inscription “Personaje de Jaina”, as well as the nominal face value of 100 New Pesos. This value is for the 1 ounce size, of course; the smaller sizes are worth 50 and 25 New Pesos respectively.

Pyramid of Castillo de Teayo, 5 Ounce Silver Coin. In a slight archaeological gaffe, the 5 ounce silver coin in the Maya series actually shows a pyramidal temple, or teocalli, from the Toltec and Huastec tradition, not from the Maya. Nevertheless, the image of the Pyramid of Castillo de Teayo is a striking image to appear on a coin, and appears within a hexagonal field with square decorations around its fringe.

o The coin bears the legend “Piramide de Castillo” and has a face value of 10 New Pesos.

Great Mask of the God Chaac, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. Chaac was the Mayan god of rain, wielding his lightning ax, an item which was a subsidiary deity named Bolon Dzacab. Chaac may be shown in human form, although with reptilian scales covering his body, or in a bizarre troll-like form with an extended nose and large fangs. Sacrifices to the divinity were drowned in the sacred cenotes created millions of years before by the Chicxulub impact.

o The coin shows a mask of Chaac which is so stylized as to be almost unrecognizable as anything except an abstract design. The hexagonal field is repeated here. The coin bears the words “Mascaron del Dios Chaac” and a nominal face value of 5 New Pesos.

Sarcophagus Lid of Pakal, Lord of Palenque, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. The image on this one ounce silver coin shows the Ajaw, or King, Kinich Janaab Pakal, one of the most powerful monarchs of the Mayan city of Palenque, as depicted on the lid of his sarcophagus. Reigning until age 80, this monarch oversaw the city’s greatest period of accomplishment and expansion, and was finally buried beneath a pyramidal temple monument with a jade mask on his face and this heavily symbolic sarcophagus lid over him.

o The image shows Pakal reclining on the open jaws of an extremely stylized dragon, ascending towards the world tree. Again, a hexagonal frame is used for this image. The coin identifies the scene simply as “Lapida Tumba de Palenque” (“Tombstone of Palenque”). The nominal face value is 5 New Pesos.

Lintel 26, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. This rather drably named coin shows one of the more dramatic scenes from a temple or palace in Yaxchilan, a Mayan city. The image on the coin depicts Lady Kabal Xook giving a helmet to King Shield Jaguar before a military expedition. This scene is noteworthy because it is one of the few to show a powerful Mayan woman. The coin is inscribed “Dintel 26” and has a nominal face value of 5 New Pesos.

Chac-Mool, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, and 1 Troy Ounce Silver Coin. Many Mayan temples featured a prone statue named the Chac-Mool, which showed a figure reclining with raised head, looking to one side, and holding a stone bowl on the stomach with both hands. Though the purpose is unclear, most other Mesoamerican temple vessels were meant to serve as receptacles for freshly removed human body parts, so it likely that the Chac-Mool was used to hold a human heart, blood, or something similar.

o The coin bears the word “Chaac-Mool” and a value of 5 New Pesos. There are also ¼ ounce and ½ ounce sizes for this specific coin.

What Coins are in the Olmec Collection?

This portion of the pre-Columbian silver coin series shows images related to the Olmec culture. This culture existed at the same time as New Kingdom Egypt, and is best known today for the huge, pellet-like stone heads that it produced. The archaeological evidence suggests that ritual bloodletting and the ritual ballgame that were to be features of all later Mesoamerican cultures were fully developed in the Olmec period. The Olmecs produced both naturalistic and highly stylized art.

The Priest, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, and 1 Troy Ounce Gold Coin. This rather unremarkable looking coin shows an Olmec relief of a priest. The coin bears the inscription “El Sacerdote”, and largest of the three coins has a nominal face value of 100 Pesos.

Olmec Head, 5 Ounce Silver Coin. The 5 ounce silver coin of the series bears a far more spectacular image of the Olmec civilization than appears on the gold coin – one of the monumental carved boulder heads that are the “signature” of this ancient civilization in the modern world. These highly individualized heads, of which 17 have been found so far, are the portraits of Olmec monarchs, with symbols on them possibly being an untranslated script which identifies their names and accomplishments. These heads are up to 10 feet tall and may weigh up to 55 tons.

o The coin bears the words “Cabeza Olmeca” and a face value of 10 pesos.

The Wrestler, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. This coin shows a spectacular and controversial sculpture found in 1933, showing a lithe, muscular man with a bald head, a mustache, and a pointed beard seated cross-legged with his arms swung to one side.

o Though possibly showing a priestly figure, this striking statue may also be a fake, since it bears little resemblance to the usual Olmec style and Against this are the facts that it was one of the first Olmec artifacts to be discovered, so it is difficult to see how a fake could have been made for an ancient civilization that was unknown at that point, and that goatee beards occasionally appear on other, definitely Olmec artwork. The figure, in short, is enigmatic and mysterious.

o The coin is entitled “El Luchador” (“The Wrestler” or “the Fighter”), and has a nominal face value of 5 pesos.

Jaguar Man, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. This silver one troy ounce coin features the image of a seated “Jaguar Man” or “Were-Jaguar” statue from the Olmec tradition. Yet another enigmatic type of Olmec art, these statues appear to show a man with jaguar-like traits and a split headdress, as well as other oddities such as “braided”-looking ears. The figures are all carved out of stone – no clay examples exist despite numerous other examples of Olmec pottery.

o The Jaguar Man coin is labeled “Hombre Jaguar”, and has a face value of 5 pesos.

Ceremonial Ax, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. This silver coin shows an Olmec ceremonial ax of the type which were found in the El Maniti bog, together with tongue-piercing needles, wooden figurines with tall heads and extraordinarily pinched, wizened faces, and the bones of possible infant sacrifices. The original axes were made out of jadeite and placed carefully into the bog’s stinking muck.

o This coin bears the words “Hacha Ceremonial” and a face value of 5 pesos.

Las Limas Monument, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, and 1 Troy Ounce Silver Coin. The image on this numismatic product is the Las Limas Monument, also known as the Senor de las Limas. This is the figure of a fleshy adolescent, apparently covered in tattoos, sitting cross-legged and bearing in his arms a limp infant with features of both a human baby and a jaguar. This mysterious figure was stolen recently from the museum where it is housed but found abandoned in an El Paso motel room, useless to the thief because of its fame.

o The coin’s inscription runs “Senor de Las Limas”, with the largest coin worth a nominal 5 pesos.

What Coins are in the Teotihuacan Series?

Teotihuacan was once the site of a vast metropolis, numbering some 1/5 of a million human beings, centered around a huge religious complex known today as the Pyramid of the Sun. This vast and beautifully laid out city was already gone by the time of the Aztecs, swept away on the burning tide of war which ebbed and flowed constantly through pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

Teotihuacan is confirmed as being as ferociously militaristic as the later Aztecs by the finds of dozens of skeletons of sacrificial victims, some apparently bound and buried alive with living eagles and jaguars tied and buried around them. The symbol of power in Teotihuacan was the motif of the “feathered serpent”, which is to be found on some of the coins – coins made more interesting by knowledge of the dramatic scenes that their images recall.

The coins included in the Teotihuacan collection are:

Feathered Serpent, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, and 1 Troy Ounce Gold Coin. The gold coin of the collection shows the head of the Feathered Serpent, the Mesoamerican dragon, as it were, and the symbol of royal, military, and sacerdotal power. Feathered serpents adorned the main temple ziggurats, and sacrificial knives carefully arranged with the slain were made to resemble this legendary beast.

o “Serpiente Implumada” are the words that appear on this coin, along with a value of 100 pesos.

Pyramid of the Sun, 5 Ounce Silver Coin. The huge Pyramid of the Sun, 246 feet tall and originally crowned with an altar, is the centerpiece of the aptly named Avenue of the Dead, which is fringed by other sacred edifices as well. The Pyramid today gives a spectacular view over the ruins of the city, and is backed by a mountain named “Cerro Gordo”, which means “Fat Mountain”.

o The coin is labeled “Piramide del Sol” and has a nominal worth of 10 pesos.

Mask, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. A magnificent Teotihuacan ritual mask, the original made out of stone chips fastened together with copal, is the subject of this coin, showing the proud, stern features of a ruler, general, or high priest of the city.

o The mask coin bears the inscription “Mascara”, slightly amusing to English-speaking ears, and the nominal face value of 5 pesos.

The Ball Player, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. Rubber balls have been made for thousands of years and used for team sports for nearly as long in Mesoamerica, and this coin of the pre-Columbian series shows a ball player from Teotihuacan. These sportsmen were engaged in a literally deadly serious pursuit, since members of the winning team were occasionally sacrificed, as fitting messengers to the gods. The Ball Player is shown reclining one side, raised on his elbow.

o The coin is labeled “Jugador de Pelota”, and is worth 5 pesos (nominally).

Vessel, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. This coin shows a striking clay pot which extends on one side into a long-haired, sharp-nosed human figure, which was found in Teotihuacan. The figure appears female to modern eyes, but is probably male due to the lack of breasts. The coin is simply titled “Vasija” and includes a nominal face value of 5 pesos.

Disc of Death, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, and 1 Ounce Silver Coins. This three-sized silver coin, which completes the Teotihuacan collection, bears the sinister image of the Disc of Death, a stone emblem of a skull surrounded by rays which was half-shattered during the tumultuous battle that ended the history of this blood-stained ancient city. The coin bears the inscription “Disco de la Muerte” and the one ounce version has a value of 5 pesos.

What Coins are in the Toltec Collection?

The sixth and last pre-Columbian coin collection deals with the Toltecs, a people to whom the Aztecs ascribed much of their learning and artistic heritage. The Toltecs appear to have been only a moderately powerful nation of the Tula region, whose culture ended sometime in the 11th century A.D., under the usual Mesoamerican circumstances – war, burning, and conquest.

The Toltec collection includes the following coins:

Eagle, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, and 1 Ounce Gold Coin. This coin shows a fragment of a Toltec carving of an eagle. The bird’s head with its hooked beak can be seen bent to its quarry, while its leg can be seen at the middle of the image with a feathered shoulder above it. The coin bears the word “Aguila” and is nominally worth 100 pesos.

Toltec Warrior Pillars, 5 Ounce Silver Coin. The Toltecs made a series of blocky stone pillars carved to resemble warriors in Tula. These strikingly powerful figures are shown on this coin, with the row of figures dwindling into the distance through perspective. The coin is labeled “Atlantes” and has a nominal value of 10 pesos.

Quetzalcoatl, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. This silver coin bears the face of one of the most important Mesoamerican deities, Quetzalcoatl, with a gigantic, elaborate feathered headdress framing the small human visage at the center of the design. This motif is copied from a design in Teotihuacan. Quetzalcoatl was also shown as a feathered serpent, whose rearing, defiance-screaming image on many monuments from Teotihuacan and elsewhere makes claims that the god was the sole merciful and forgiving divinity amid a bloodthirsty pantheon somewhat difficult to credit.

o The Quetzalcoatl coin is labeled, naturally, “Quetzalcoatl”, and is worth 5 pesos.

Priest, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. This portion of the Toltec collection shows a figurine of a priest, in a high headdress and sacerdotal vestments. The title of the coin is “Sacerdote”, and the value is a nominal 5 pesos.

Serpent with a Skull, 1 Ounce Silver Coin. This coin shows the head of a serpent extending into the image from the left, its jaws gaping to engulf a human skull on the right. The coin is inscribed “Serpiente con Craneo” and has a 5 peso nominal face value.

Jaguar, ¼ Ounce, ½ Ounce, and 1 Troy Ounce Silver Coin. The final coin in the pre-Columbian series shows a Jaguar engraving from Tula. The jaguar was admired as symbolizing strength, ferocity, and courage, and was taken as a warrior symbol by many of the highly aggressive city states which dotted Central America for several thousand years. This coin is inscribed with the single word “Jaguar” and has a value of 5 pesos in its 1 ounce size.

What is the Aztec Calendar Coin?

This special coin, minted in Mexico in 2010, is a 1 kilogram silver coin which has been limited to a total mintage of 1,000. Worth some $2,400, this coin is 4.4 inches (110 mm) in diameter Twelve Aztec zodiacal signs are shown on one side of the coin. The other side shows the so-called “Aztec calendar stone”, a massive stone disc found in the late 18th century, featuring an elaborate carved surface around a central skull.

Ironically, the stone is not actually a calendar, but is most likely the stone to which prisoners were tied and given feeble weapons of cotton while their opponents, armed with real swords, hewed them to pieces as a form of sacrifice. However, the Mint of Mexico has interpreted the object as a calendar, and there can be no doubt that it makes a highly intriguing, if slightly bizarre, numismatic object.

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