|Coin||Gold Quarter Ounce 2004 Libertad|
La Casa de Moneda de México (the Mexican Mint) was established in 1535 and is the oldest mint in the Americas. Apart from manufacturing all the circulation coinage for Mexico, the mint also strikes coins in the internationally popular one quarter of an ounce of gold format. The best known of these is the Libertad series of bullion coins, which has been issued in a number of sizes in gold since 1981 and in silver 1982.
The Libertad gold quarter ounce (1/4 onza in Spanish) was one of the first formats introduced in 1981. The obverse of the coin depicts the Coat of Arms of Mexico: a Mexican golden eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus, devouring a rattlesnake. The reverse design is based on the 1921 gold Centenario, a coin issued to mark the centennial of Mexican independence (Libertad means Liberty in Spanish); it depicts the winged Nike (Victory, or Victoria in Spanish) - the statue which tops The Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City (built in 1910); in the background the volcanoes Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl are seen.
Libertad coins do not have a fixed face value; they are accepted as currency and guaranteed by Banco de México based on the market value of their precious metal content (similarly to the South African Krugerrand).
The obverse of the coin shows at its centre the Coat of Arms of Mexico, which depicts a Mexican (golden) eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus, facing left, devouring a rattlesnake. The cactus is on a pedestal immersed in the Aztec symbol for water. Below, a wreath of oak and laurel leaves tied at its centre with a ribbon representing the flag of Mexico.
The design is rooted in the legend that the Aztec people would know where to build their city once they saw an eagle eating a snake on top of a lake. To the people of Tenochtitlan (the pre-European capital), this symbol had strong religious connotations, and to the Europeans it came to symbolise the triumph of good over evil (with the snake sometimes representative of the serpent in the Garden of Eden).
Around above, the legend ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS, meaning United Mexican States in Spanish - which is the full official name of Mexico.
The border is toothed, with staggered sizes of the teeth.
The reverse of the coin shows at its centre the statue of Nike (the Greek goddess of Victory, in Spanish: Victoria) from the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City - commonly known simply as The Angel. She is represented as a young bare-breasted winged woman holding a laurel wreath in her outstretched right hand, and a broken chain (a symbol of freedom) in her left hand. Visible below the figure is the pedestal which tops the monument.
The volcanoes Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl can be seen in the background.
Around above, interrupted by the wings of the angel, the inscription 1/4 ONZA ORO PURO 2004 LEY .999 (one quarter of a troy ounce of pure gold with purity 99.9%, issued in 2004).
The Mo mint mark of the Mexican Mint (large letter M above which a small o) is in the upper right field.
The border is plain.
||1/4 ONZA ORO PURO 2004 LEY .999
Mintage comprised of 1,500 bullion coins plus 1,000 proofs.
This is the first year when a proof version of the denomination was issued.