Member Journal Entry:

Raising Dust over Mexican Silver

Posted: 2/18/2009 11:02:32 PM | Views:496

Getting Mexican Libertads for my signature set.

When I made the decision to start working towards my signature set, there was at least 1 coin that I knew was bound to be a miserable pain to acquire. That coin was, naturally, the early design of the Mexican Libertad series. It was redesigned around 1996. For a nice example of the new design all you have to do is buy some of the most recent year at close to melt. The old design is a slightly bigger problem. A really nice, good looking example of a Pre-1996 Libertad is pretty hard to find. When I say “really nice” I’m talking in the MS66-MS67 range. The MS69s that have been the standard for most of the other coins are pretty unheard of. These coins are also rarely sent in for grading, so if I wanted a graded example, I’d probably have to buy raw and submit it myself. Even so, I knew that this coin ultimately had to join my set and so I would have to reconcile the problem one day. Well, in my spare time (what exists of it the last 2 weeks), I’ve been trying to finally acquire the coin(s).

I ordered a 1986 Libertad for a seller on eBay. The picture he had up was of a really pristine looking coin and he described the coins he had in glowing terms. I thought that this might finally be an opportunity. I bought the coin at a low enough price so that even if it was butt-ugly it still wouldn’t be a bad deal on the basis of the silver value (just in case). Well, shortly after I won that auction I did some checking and (of course) it turns out that those pictures are just a stock image that he uses and he sells one every week. He uses the same pictures and description every time. And just my luck, the coin I get in the mail has a wonderful reverse, but the obverse has no less than 5 significant dings and scratches. The coin would probably get about an MS63. It remains a wonderful piece to carry around with me in its airtite and show off to friends, but it’s not good enough to send in to NGC for my signature set.

Undeterred, since I also need a few nice examples of the newer design, I decided to order 2 of the 2008s (from 2 other sellers) after making myself very clear that I was only interested in nice, clean, undamaged examples. I’m still waiting for those to arrive in the mail, hopefully sometime later this week. Hopefully they’ll pass my standards. Again, I’m not necessarily after MS69s, but I ultimately want the coin in my set to be no lower than MS68 for that slot.

I have subsequently been trying to track down a new, good, early example. I’ve been asking around in the marketplace forums of the NGC chatboards and I’ve been emailing every seller willing to sell the coins at a reasonable price if they could give me what I’m looking for. It hasn’t been an easy process. Some say they don’t have what I’m looking for, some don’t want to give me the time of day to check, and some just don’t respond. Sunday night I finally got a response back for a seller who seems willing to work with me. He was coming back from vacation the next day and said he would check to see if he had anything that would fit the bill. I haven’t heard back from him yet but I’ll give it another day or two before I follow up.

If I can get some coins that look good enough to hazard at NGC then I’ll send them in with a 2006 Chinese Panda that a society member generously provided (You’re great by the way, Jackson) when I go home for Spring Break. Yes, I know, everyone else gets drunk and buck-wild and I’m looking forward to submitting some coins. There must be something wrong with this 22 year old.

I’ve attached a picture of the obverse of my Libertad. The reverse is just the Mexican coat of arms. If you’ve seen their flag, you’ve seen it. The Obverse features the “Angel of Independence” with the 2 volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuati in the background. Popocatepetl (the Smoking Mountain) and Iztaccihuatl (the White Lady) are volcanoes at the south end of the Valley of Mexico. According to Aztec myths, the two volcanoes were lovers that could not bear to be separated. Some claim that the figure on the coin is the “Winged Victory.” That explanation doesn’t seem to hold much water to me. Overall, it is a lovely design.

If anyone has a few stunning examples of a 1983-1995 Libertad that you'd be willing to sell, let me know.

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