States Of Mexico Silver Coin Series
The States of Mexico Silver coins are potentially a good numismatic investment. Besides containing the standard 1 troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver that the world’s silver bullion coins usually comprise, these coins constitute a collection, with each coin limited to 10,000 proofs. This makes it likely that their price will eventually climb sharply, once enough have been removed from circulation and hoarded to drive the price upwards from the current spot-plus-margin level.
Buying States of Mexico Silver Coins
Full collections of the coins are likely to be highly valuable in time, especially if all original boxes, documentation, and so on are preserved in mint condition along with the coins themselves. If you are looking for these coins as an investment, be sure to buy at least one complete set of all thirty-two coins (thirty-one for the individual states of Mexico, and one for the Federal District where the capital is located).
The same considerations apply to buying States of Mexico Silver coins as to buying other silver bullion coins. They should be bought from a reputable online or offline dealer – for example, APMEX, the American Precious Metals Exchange, has a full selection of these coins at a reasonable price. Since the coins were struck in 2005, some may be difficult to obtain unless you turn to Internet sources.
Description of States of Mexico Silver Coins
In general outline, the States of Mexico Silver coins are typical proof quality one troy ounce .999 fineness silver coins. They are produced in a denomination of “$10” (actually 10 pesos), and bear the ancient Aztec emblem of an eagle killing a snake while perched on a prickly pear cactus on the obverse, along with the legend “Estados Unidos Mexicanos”. They are 1.6 inches in diameter (40 mm), weight exactly one troy ounce (31.1 grams), and feature a reeded edge.
The difference between the 32 variations on these coins are the armorial achievements (often incorrectly called “coats of arms”, which is a term correctly applied to a cloth garment with armorial achievements embroidered on it) which appear on the reverse. The state name, nominal face value, and mintmark also appear on the reverse.
The 32 armorial achievements featured on the coins include:
• Aguascalientes: this shield bears the image of the Virgin Mary supported by two angels, together with a broken chain and a pair of surprisingly sensuous, apparently female lips representing freedom, and a fountain and bowl of coals represent the area’s hot springs, for which the state is named. Agriculture is indicated by a cluster of grapes, and labor by a bee inside a wheel.
• Baja California: this shield includes plowed fields, fish, the sun, a wheel of industry, and a man and woman holding emblems of energy, engineering, chemistry, and medicine. The woman has a nipple showing, continuing the curious Mexican numismatic fascination with showing unclothed female anatomy.
• Baja California Sur: this emblem is relative simple, with a seashell at its center, a fish, and a divided field. All the colors of the original armorial achievement have a symbolic meaning, but these are not visible on the coin.
• Campeche: the arms of this state consist of a quartered field with a tower in two of the quarters, and a sailing ship in the other two. A crown surmounts the entire piece.
• Chiapas: the symbols of Chiapas include the personal emblems of Emperor Charles V Hapsburg, for whom Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico – two lions and a castle. A river flows through a steep walled gorge with a palm tree perched at its edge.
• Chihuahua: this shield is divided into three parts. The topmost band shows mountains with a railway bridge, aqueduct, and palm tree in front of them. The middle band shows a conquistador in a typical high crest morion helmet, facing towards an Indian with a headband. The bottommost register features the Cathedral of Chihuahua.
• Coahuila: this amusing emblem shows a pair of heavily bearded wolves flanking a palm tree in one field, a lion apparently using a stone pillar as a scratching post in another, and a riverside grove of trees with the sun rising above them in the largest, lowest field.
• Colima: this bizarre emblem shows an Aztec hieroglyph partly constructed out of a human arm, and is topped by a 16th century European steel cavalry helmet.
• Durango: this shield shows an oak tree and two Biscayan wolves.
• Guanajuato: this shows a female figure (clothed, for once, so it is possibly the Virgin) with a chalice in one hand and a large crucifix in the other, surrounded by acanthus leaves.
• Guerrero: the emblem on this armorial achievement is an Aztec Jaguar Knight, one of the two elite bands of warriors who formed the core of the Aztec army. This figure bears a painted shield edged with feathers and an obsidian-bladed ax, or macuahuitl.
• Hidalgo: this interesting set of arms shows a mountain flanked by a Phrygian cap on one side, and a liberty bell on the other, which is practically identical to the American liberty bell, minus the crack.
• Jalisco: this features a large central oak tree flanked by two lions rampant, with a 16th century knightly helmet at the top of the shield.
• Michoacan: these are quartered arms, depicting, in the order they are usually blazoned, the Mexican revolutionary hero Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon, three Aztec headdresses, a factory with smokestacks belching smoke, and a library or school.
• Morelos: these simple arms show a cornstalk (maize) under a star.
• Nayarit: this rather complex shield has a small shield in its midst, with a bordure emblazoned with bare human footprints. The Mexican eagle and serpent appear in the midst of this tiny shield. The rest of the arms are divided into three quarterings, with a stalk of maize, a bow and arrow, and a mountain depicted therein.
• Nuevo Leon: this shield has four quarters, including an apple tree under a sunrise, a lion rampant, a church, and a stylized factory with five reeking smokestacks – practically a one-building ecological disaster.
• Oaxaca: this shield includes three quarterings, which show an Aztec mask with flowers sticking out of its nose; an ancient building which closely resembles a tzompantli, or skull rack, where the skulls of sacrificial victims were displayed in Aztec days; and a pair of hands breaking a chain.
• Puebla: another shield with four quarters, this one shows a factory with three polluting smokestacks; a hydroelectric dam; a hand brandishing a rifle in front of towering, uprushing flames; and a hand holding a plant seedling, though it appears more as though the plant is growing through a hole in the palm.
• Queretaro: this armorial achievement shows a sun with a face on it and a crucifix balanced atop it, flanked by two stars; a horseman with a banner bearing a cross; and a tree with several stalks of maize growing beside it.
• Quintana Roo: this emblem shows a twisted glyph supposed to represent a seashell, a star, and three triangles over a rectangle which apparently represents a forest being struck by a hurricane, according to the official interpretation.
• San Luis Potosi: this shield shows San Luis Rey standing with a large crucifix in one hand, a crown on his head, and what appears to be a small satchel in his other hand.
• Sinaloa: this confused, messy shield includes more bare human footprints, another oddity of Mexican heraldry, as well as small, overcrowded quarters which manage to include a human hand
holding a snake, a castle with broken weapons in front of it, a crescent moon, a broken chain link with a cross, flames, and a deer head with a tiny recumbent human figure near it as well as an anchor.
• Sonora: the intriguing armorial achievement of this state includes a crossed pick and shovel in front of a pile of dirt, sheaves of wheat, an Indian performing the deer dance with an antlered hat on his head, a cow’s head, and an apparently seriously deformed shark.
• Tabasco: the arms of Tabasco, a state named for a pre-Conquest chieftain, is also divided into four quarters, with a badge at the center bearing an image of the Blessed Virgin. One of the quarters shows four towers; another, a hand bearing a European sword; the third, a stylized Aztec warrior; and the fourth, a very stylized lion rampant.
• Tamaulipas: another highly crowded and unusual set of arms, those of Tamaulipas show maize, a crucifix, and three cattle in the three upper quarterings, and a volcano against a blue sky dotted with cumulus clouds, with a boat on blue water, a tractor plowing a field, and an oil derrick in the foreground.
• Tlaxcala: the dignified arms of Tlaxcala show a highly detailed triple-turreted castle flying the eagle flag of the Holy Roman Empire, with two crowns and the initials of Isabella, Ferdinand, and Karl (Charles V Hapsburg) above this emblem, and a pair of skulls and two crossed bones below. Two palms of victory flank the central field.
• Veracruz: the arms of Veracruz include a large cross, rising from a small fort supported by two Corinthian columns.
• Yucatan: this interesting armorial achievement shows a deer leaping over a yucca plant beneath the noon sun.
• Zacatecas: the arms of this state depict a cross on a mountaintop, flanked by the sun and moon; beneath this is the Blessed Virgin, flanked by four conquistadors.
• Mexican Federal District: Mexico’s equivalent of the American District of Columbia, the Mexican Federal District is also represented by a coin. In this case, the arms borne are of a castle approached by three bridges, supported by two lion rampant and surrounded by a bordure decorated with prickly pear cactus pads.
History of the States of Mexico Silver Coins
The States of Mexico Silver Coins were issued in 2005 to salute the 31 states and 1 federal district which make up the nation of Mexico, in honor of the 180th anniversary of the United Mexican States founding in 1824, with the drafting of a constitution and the election of the country’s first independent president, Guadalupe Victoria. Since then, Mexico has been torn by innumerable conflicts – including a massive revolution and civil war in the early 20th century over the attempt of the Mexican oligarchy to reduce a large portion of the Mexican population to literal slavery on plantations – but this is still considered to be the continuous history of the modern Mexican state.
The direct impetus for releasing the coins, of course, was the profit motive – silver and gold coin collecting has reached a frenzied pitch in recent years, and governments around the world are cashing in on it by offering unprecedented numbers of bullion coins for sale. The anniversary gave a good opportunity to mint interesting coins which would be highly attractive to collectors – so the Mexican Mint did exactly that.