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How to Buy Gold Mexican Centenario Coins
 Contributed by OffshoreWorld
Sunday, 05 October 2008
Last Updated Tuesday, 26 January 2010




Quite a number of our clients have asked us recently about how or where to buy gold offshore. A lesser known but
equally valid alternative to Krugerrands, Maple Leaves and so on is the Mexican Centenario gold coin....



FAQ ON BUYING MEXICAN CENTENARIO GOLD BULLION COINS



As a safe haven or store of wealth in troubled times, GOLD has never looked better!



But how can you buy gold coins? It is not as easy as it sounds. As of early 2009 the world financial crisis has resulted in
government mints such as the US, South African and Perth mints restricting access to gold coins. Therefore the spread
(premium between buy and sell price) on popular gold coins such as Gold Eagles, Krugerrands and Maple Leafs has
become too expensive. Here at Offshore World we've been looking into Investing in Gold.




New: Learn How to Buy, Sell and Secure Gold Bullion Offshore




A great but lesser known alternative is the 50-peso gold centenario from Mexico. We created this FAQ because we
ourselves were interested in buying these coins myself but we could find very little information about them out there on
the internet.




Where Can I Buy Mexican Centenarios?



In Mexico, of course! You can buy these coins over the counter, in cash, at most banks and money exchange houses
(known in Mexico as casas de cambio). Many of them will have these gold coins in stock. Big Mexican banks include
BBVA Bancomer, Banorte and Santander. Smaller banks are IXE, Mifel, Bansi, and Banjercito which is owned by the
Mexican armed forces but is open to the public. Casas de Cambio include Banco Monex, Intercam, Sterling Casa de
Cambio, Consultoria Internacional (now known as CI Banco ) and ByB Casa de Cambio. Banco Azteca, located in the
‘Elektra’ electrical stores, also sells bullion coins but usually their stocks are very limited. Banco Azteca
however is a great place to buy Mexican silver bullion coins. Banco Azteca are also present in Panama.




Where Can I check Current Buy and Sell Rates for Mexican Centenarios?



We recommend the site of Banco Nacional de Mexico (Mexico’s biggest bank, part of Citigroup, which is better
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known as Banamex) you will see they have a daily buy and sell rate for Centenarios.




Can ordinary small investors buy Centenarios?



Yes. Anyone, Mexican or non-Mexican, no matter where you live, you can buy these gold coins. There are no
restrictions. Ordinary people find them attractive for savings purposes.



In which currencies are Mexican Centenarios quoted?



Typically the price is quoted in Mexican Pesos (the international currency code is MXN) but once you are there you can
pay normally pay in other major currencies including US dollars, Canadian dollars and Euros. Of course, the price
depends on the world price of spot gold, as Mexico is part of the global economy.



Can I buy Mexican Gold Centenarios with a Credit Card?



Most people prefer to pay with cash or travellers checks. However, all Mexican banks allow you to use foreign or
domestic Visa or MasterCard credit cards. If you buy Centenarios with a credit card, however, you will be charged as if
you are requesting a cash advance, not a retail purchase. If you are traveling to Mexico especially to buy coins, it is
advisable first to call your bank or credit card company at home and tell them that you will be requesting large cash
advances in Mexico, otherwise the transactions might be blocked by your bank’s automatic fraud prevention
procedures.



Do I need to show ID when I buy Gold Bullion Coins in Mexico?



In theory it is not obligatory, however for larger transactions you are likely to be asked for a passport or other form of
government issued ID. If you are interested in purchasing gold bullion anonymously then check Q Wealth Report.




Can I buy Centenarios online without having to travel to Mexico?



Yes, it is possible, if you can find a dealer willing to ship internationally. However this may be difficult, especially if you do
not speak Spanish. International shipment of gold coins is a complicated matter. Shipping companies like UPS, Fedex
and DHL will not accept gold bullion shipments, while the Mexican Postal Service (Sepomex) is not reliable and their
insured mail rates are extremely expensive. It is therefore advisable to travel to Mexico in person.



Is it Physically Safe to Buy Gold in Mexico?



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This of course is a major concern for most people. I think if you take reasonable precautions it is safe. If you are thinking
of buying a lot of gold coins for export, you can travel to Mexico City airport. There within the security of the airport
terminal you will find branches of most of the banks and casas de cambio linked above. However, how much gold they
actually have in stock I don’t know. It would certainly be wise to call ahead.



Can I buy Mexican Centenarios in border states such as Texas or Arizona?



Yes, it is likely you can find coin dealers along the US border and in major US cities selling these coins in smaller
quantities. Most of them, however, are to be found within Mexico.



Can I buy Gold Coins by Wire Transfer in Mexico?



Yes, absolutely. Generally it is easier and quicker with one of the casas de cambio mentioned above. Simply ask them
for their wire details.



How much gold does the Centenario actually contain?



One Centenario contains 37.5 grams (1.2057 oz) of pure gold. Like most coins from major mints, the coins are an alloy of
90% gold and 10% copper.



What is the difference between the Mexican Centenario and the American Eagle?



The Centenario is 20% bigger than the American Eagle which contains 1 ounce of gold.



What does the design on the Centenario represent?



One side of this Mexican Gold Coin (50 Pesos) has an image of Winged Victory. There is a laurel wreath in her right
hand, and broken chains in her left hand. Two well-known Mexican volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihautl, rise in the
background. The year 1821 commemorates the year of Mexico's independence. The date on the right indicates year of
mintage of the coin, which of course can vary. The reverse depicts the Mexican Coat of Arms, which is an eagle perched
on a cactus eating a serpent using its beak.



Do I have to Declare Gold Coins to Customs when entering or leaving Mexico?



According to my understanding of the law, these coins have a face value of 50 Mexican Pesos which is about $5 in US
funds. If that is right, you would have to declare them if you carry more than $10,000 worth (US dollars) at face value. But
I may be wrong. You should check on this or take legal advice, or simply ask a customs inspector as you pass through
the airport or border post. The question is simply whether you should declare them. It is not illegal to carry them.



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Does Mexico charge sales tax or VAT on Gold Coins?



No.



What about the plan to use silver coins as legal tender in Mexico?



For more information on this see my private blog where I wrote about Hugo Salinas Price and his campaign to encourage
Mexicans to use real money.



Is Gold likely to be confiscated by the Mexican or US governments?



Things have been very tight lately, and historical precedent says that yes, this is a political risk. But I think the idea of
banning gold ownership is unlikely to gain momentum, as there are simply too many vested interests seeking to support
the gold price. You can read more about this risk and the views of some of my colleagues on this matter at The Q Wealth
Report Gold and Precious Metals Investment page.




Other Resources:




Mexican Centenario Homepage


Buying Gold Bullion in Panama


Opening an Offshore Safe Deposit Box in Panama to Store Gold Bullion


Offshore World Mexico index




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