The Mexican Peso – Viva Cuernavaca (2022)

The Mexican Peso is the legal tender in Mexico, a currency adapted to the market’s needs throughout the years. Currently, the peso is issued in nine different kinds of banknotes and nine coins of different value, ranging from 5 centavos to 1,000 pesos.

Origins and History

The origins of paper money in Mexico date back to the beginning of the 20th century, with the foundation of the Bank of Mexico, on 1st September 1925, which received the exclusive authority to issue money by minting metal coins and printing banknotes. This institution also regulated monetary circulation, interest rates, and exchange rates.

The Bank of Mexico was created at a time when it was necessary to reactivate credit in the country and introduce the use of banknotes in people’s daily life. For this reason, apart from the responsibilities of an issuing bank, the financial entity was empowered to operate as a standard credit banking institution.

Four years later, between 1929 and 1930, the banknote was finally set out as the main payment instrument in the country.

First Mexican Banknotes

The first banknotes issued by the Bank of Mexico were printed by the American Bank Note Company of New York (ABNC) in 180 x 83 mm. This first series (1925-1934) consisted of banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 pesos.

In general, the banknotes printed by the ABNC were designed by the staff of that company according to customer requirements. That is to say, in the case of Mexican banknotes, the Bank of Mexico established which elements and people it wished to depict in each denomination, and the American Bank Note Company designed the engravings, or else the Bank selected the engravings directly in the archives of the company.

The most recent family of banknotes, known as Series F or Type F, introduced changes in the security elements in the colors and sizes of notes compared to the previous series. Each has a different size and color; they all measure 66 mm wide, but their length varies. The note of the lowest denomination (20 pesos) is the smallest one, measuring 120 mm in length, and the note of the highest denomination (1,000 pesos) is the longest, at 155 mm long. From each denomination to the next one (20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000), there is a difference of 7 mm in length.

Within this family of banknotes, there are also unique issues of banknotes. These are the commemorative banknotes for the centennial of the Mexican Revolution (printed on polymer) and the bicentennial of Mexican Independence (printed on cotton paper), in denominations of 100 and 200 pesos. These legal tender banknotes do not replace the ordinary 100 and 200 peso notes. The idea is to withdraw commemorative banknotes from circulation gradually as they deteriorate in the future.

Updated Information

2013 – New 50 Peso Banknote

On 6 May 2013, the Bank of Mexico put into circulation a new 50 peso banknote that incorporates new security features, designed with the most advanced technology and other variations regarding the Type F banknote of the same denomination. This new banknote, the same as its predecessor, is printed on a polymer substrate; the predominant color is magenta, and it has the exact dimensions: 66 mm wide and 127 mm long, with the effigy of José María Morelos y Pavón, leader of the Mexican Independence, as its central decorative motif.

2018 – New 200 Peso Banknote

The previous 200 peso banknote included a portrait of Doña Inés de Asbaje y Ramírez de Santillana (1648-1695), better known as Sor Juana Asbaje who was a Mexican writer, philosopher, composer, and poet of the Baroque period, and Hieronymite nun. On the back was an illustration of the Hacienda De Panoayan. In 2018, the 200 peso banknote was replaced with a new banknote with illustrations of Don Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor (1753-1811), more commonly known as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla or Miguel Hidalgo, was a Catholic priest, leader of the Mexican War of Independence and recognized as the Father of the Nation and other individual shown was José María Teclo Morelos Pérez y Pavón (1765-1815), also known as José María Morelos y Pavón was a Mexican Catholic priest, statesman and military leader who led the Mexican War of Independence movement, assuming its leadership after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1811.

2021 – New 20 Peso Banknote

Banco de México’s new commemorative 20 peso banknote – issued on 24th September 2021 – is the latest in a series of polymer banknotes issued in the bank’s G series of notes. The new $20 note commemorates 200 years of the independence of Mexico from Spain. It depicts when the army of the three guaranties (Religion, Union, and Independence), under the command of Agustin de Iturbide, entered Mexico City on September 27, 1821.

Another benefit of the new note is its environmental performance. The notes start life as polymer pellets transformed into Propanote™ Clarity C, a bank-grade polymer substrate film used only for banknotes. Once the banknotes have completed their working life, they can be recycled by turning them back into polymer pellets. These are used for various secondary products, including packing cages for fruits and building materials. CCL Secure has a purpose-built recycling center in Zacapu, Michoacán.

Current Mexican Peso Coins and Banknotes

Regarding Mexican coins bearing the inscription “The United States of Mexico,” unlike the banknotes which bear the inscription “Banco de Mexico,” they have experienced various changes in design, both in the national coat of arms displayed on the obverse, as on the reverse face of the coin.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, the purchasing power of coins was reduced because of an inflationary process. This led the Bank of Mexico to mint high denomination coins, so high that they even surpassed the denomination of fifty pesos, and at one time, there were even coins of one thousand and even five thousand pesos. Because of this situation, and to simplify the management of large amounts of the national currency, on 18 June 1992, a new monetary unit was established for the Monetary System of the United States of Mexico, equivalent to 1,000 of the former pesos. This new unit was named the “Nuevo Peso,” identified with the symbol “N$” or by putting the word “Nuevo” before it. In compliance with this disposition of the decree, in 1992, the Bank of Mexico issued a new series of coins in denominations of ten, five, two, and one peso and fifty, twenty, ten, and five centavos.

These coins are bimetallic. Ten peso coins have a silver center, and five, two, and one peso coins have in cupronickel outer ring and aluminum bronze center. Later on, the silver center of the ten-peso coin was changed for an industrial metal.

Interesting Facts

  • In Spanish, money is generally referred to as pesos or 20 pesos. The word appears on all money, both paper and coin, but one can go on a diet and lose 20 pesos in weight. This is because the word peso means weight. Originally all money in Mexico was in the form of metal coins, minted in different weights. Thus a 100 peso coin weighed five times that of a 20 peso coin. The word peso stuck and is still in usage, although today, it has nothing to do with the weight of the coins.
  • The minting of official money in Mexico started in 1535, with the foundation of the “Casa de Moneda”.
  • The dollar sign was first used on money in 1847 on the 100 Mexican banknotes. It was not until 1869 that it appeared on the reverse of the 1000 United States note.
  • The Mexican peso was the first coin in the world to use the “$” sign before the US dollar. The dollar sign did not appear on U.S. coinage until February 2007, when it was used on the reverse of a $1 coin authorized by the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005.
  • The bird on the national coat of arms is not an Eagle, but a Caracara, a bird of prey in the Falconidae family. Caracaras are principally South and Central American birds, just reaching the southern United States. They are common in Central and South Texas.
  • Until recently, if you ask most Mexicans who is depicted on the 500 peso banknote, they will quickly tell you it was the painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). They would think for a moment when pushed to explain who else was on the banknote. Then tell you it was Kahlo’s husband and painter Diego Rivera (1886-1957). Today, Frida Kahlo is more famous than her husband in Mexico and worldwide. However, both famous artists were recently replaced on the 500 peso banknote by Benito Juarez.
  • A 20 peso polymer banknote has an average life of 32 months, whereas the 50 peso note in the same material lasts some 39 months.

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Ms. Lucile Johns

Last Updated: 01/16/2023

Views: 6031

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ms. Lucile Johns

Birthday: 1999-11-16

Address: Suite 237 56046 Walsh Coves, West Enid, VT 46557

Phone: +59115435987187

Job: Education Supervisor

Hobby: Genealogy, Stone skipping, Skydiving, Nordic skating, Couponing, Coloring, Gardening

Introduction: My name is Ms. Lucile Johns, I am a successful, friendly, friendly, homely, adventurous, handsome, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.