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The 1971 un peso (one peso) coin was minted in the oldest mint in the Americas – La Casa de la Moneda, the National Mint of Mexico. An iconic design which was produced between 1970 and 1983, this one peso coin features the Mexican coat of arms and the head of an iconic figure in Mexican history – José Maria Teclo Morelos y Pavón.

While the 1971 un peso is a very common coin, the most frequently found of all one peso coins of this series, it is still a desirable coin to have in any numismatic collection. It has a very low value overall, averaging less than $1. This makes it an easy coin to get your hands on when beginning a collection.

Join us to find out more about the history of the one peso coin, how to identify a 1971 one peso coin and its associated value in different conditions. We will also provide a coin grading guide, as well as a buying and selling guide.

Mexican Peso: Brief History

Let’s start with the basics: what is a Mexican peso? When was it first minted? And how did it originate?

The Mexican un peso, or 1 peso, uses the sign $ (or sometimes Mex$) or the currency code MXP. The currency originated from the Spanish official currency, the “real”, also known as the Spanish dollar. When Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, the country retained peso as their everyday currency.

Pesos were used as an official currency in the US until as late as 1857. From 1863, the peso could be officially sub-divided into 100 centavos. What is commonly called the “old Mexican peso” was minted between 1863 and 1992. From 1993 onwards, when Mexico revalued their currency, the “new peso” (nuevo peso) was brought into circulation. The new 1 peso coin is worth 1000 times the old 1 peso coin.

1971 Un Peso: Coin Design & Specifications

The 1971 one peso coin has the same design as all one peso coins minted between 1970 and 1983. Of these years, it has the highest mintage – 426,222,000 coins were minted in total during this year! This makes it one of the, if not the most common coin of this series.

According to Numismata, the 1971 one peso has a frequency of 53%, the highest of all pesos produced between 1970 and 1983. It also has a Rarity Index value of 3; the index runs from 0 to 100 with 0 being the most common and 100 being the rarest coin or banknote in comparison with other coins and banknotes.

Reverse

1971 Un Peso Reverse
Credit

The reverse (or tails side) of the 1971 one peso coin features the denomination “UN PESO”, and the portrait of José Maria Teclo Morelos y Pavón to the right of center. José Maria Teclo Morelos was an important military leader in the Mexican War of Independence. He was a Catholic Priest and statesman, and the second ever President of the Republic of Mexico between 1806 and 1817.

Below the portrait is the date of issue, and to the right is the mint mark. The so-called MO mint mark belongs to La Casa de la Moneda, the National Mint of Mexico. It was the first mint established in the Americas and began minting coins in 1535. This makes it the oldest mint in the entire Americas. The mint mark features a small uppercase “O” above a larger uppercase “M”.

Obverse

1971 Un Peso obverse
Source

The obverse (or heads side) of the 1971 one peso coin features the classic Mexican coat of arms. A Mexican (golden) eagle perches on a prickly cactus, clutching a snake in its beak and one set of talons. Below the cactus is a wreath, and above the eagle are the words “ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS”, United Mexican States.

Specifications

The 1971 un peso weighs 9.0g. It has a diameter of 28.98 mm, and a thickness of 1.77 mm. It is round in shape with a reeded edge. This coin is composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel.

1971 Un Peso Coin Value

So how much is the 1971 1 peso coin worth? The value of this coin is very low for 2 main reasons.

  1. It has a relatively high mintage, the highest for all old one peso coins, which makes it a very common coin on the market today.
  2. The new peso replaced the old peso at 1000 times the value of the old peso. This greatly devalued the old peso to below its original face value.

Just because the value of the 1971 1 peso is very low does not mean it is worthless. It is a great coin to add to your collection or to start a collection because it is cheap and has an interesting history. Many believe than no numismatic collection is complete without it.

1971 One Peso Value Chart

Here, we have sorted the current average value of 1971 un peso in different conditions. Please note that values are subject to change and may fluctuate with time. Values stated are correct at the time of writing according to Numista. Values are in USD.

Year Good Very Good Fine Very Fine Extremely Fine Almost Uncirculated Uncirculated
1971 $0.10 $0.16 $0.16 $0.32 $0.53 $0.54 $0.72

Those coins in the absolute best uncirculated condition may reach up to $1 but are unlikely to value more highly.

The absolute auction record for a 1971 un peso was $49.99 in 2022. This coin was graded by NGC and deemed to be in MS65 condition.

Quick Coin Condition Guide

Perhaps you have a 1971 un peso and you would like to grade its condition? Or you might like to find out how much to expect to pay for such a coin in some pre-defined condition?

Numismatists commonly use the Sheldon Scale when grading coins. This scale ranges from P1 (Poor 1) to MS70 (Mint State 70). It can get incredibly complicated and coin grading usually requires a professional for accurate appraisal. However, there are a few simple tips that can help you get an idea of the rough grade of your coin based on a condition rating of poor to uncirculated. Some coins may also be Proof coins, meaning they were not intended for circulation but for the purposes of collection.

In general, coins are separated into 3 buckets (or groups): circulated, about uncirculated (AU) and uncirculated (MS).

Circulated Coins

Circulated coins are split into categories from P1 to EF49:

  • Poor (P) – these coins can barely be identified with major damage and wear. The date and mintmark are just about visible.
  • Fair (FR) – these coins have been majorly worn and will appear very smooth. They are more easily identifiable compared to Poor coins.
  • Good (G) – coins in Good condition are still heavily worn with some details smoothened so they “run into” one another. Still, the main features can be identified.
  • Very Good (VG) – the main features of the coin can be seen but may be quite faint on coins in Very Good condition. These coins are still pretty worn through usage.
  • Fine (F) – the rims are fully separated from the design elements, and all features can be seen with an albeit even wear over the coins’ surfaces.
  • Very Fine (VF) – coins in Very Fine condition can be described as moderately worn with all major details visible and some minor details visible.
  • Extremely Fine (EF) – the best condition coins in the circulated category, Extremely Fine coins are lightly worn. All details can be seen but the finer pattern details are worn down a little.

About Uncirculated Coins

About Uncirculated (AU) coins run from AU50 to AU59. They may or may not have been circulated, but they are no longer in mint condition because of handling marks:

  • About Uncirculated (AU50) – these coins will have some very small traces of damage on the most raised parts of the coin surfaces. Otherwise the coin is eye appealing.
  • Very Choice About Uncirculated (AU58) – the best AU coins will have only the tiniest wear on the raised points of the surfaces. Otherwise the coin has an almost original luster and great eye appeal.

Uncirculated Coins

Uncirculated, or Mint State (MS), coins run on a scale entirely of their own with 11 grading points (MS60 to MS70). All of these coins are strictly uncirculated, no matter their condition. Some of these points include:

  • Mint State Basal (MS60) – these coins may have some contact marks but no signs of wear that comes with handling.
  • Mint State Choice (MS65) – these midpoint coins will have a eye appealing mint luster, almost no visible contact marks and an above-average strike.
  • Mint State Perfect (MS70) – in theory these coins typify the perfect coin. No flaws or damages can be found even when the coin is magnified 8x. Everything about the detail – the strike, luster and centering – are perfect. The eye appeal is exceptional. These coins are very rarely found!

Tips On How To Grade Coins

Grading coins yourself, and hence getting the “right” price for a coin is a tricky process. Professional appraisal is recommended, and if a coin can be certified by authorities such as PCGS it is likely to fetch a higher price.

There are some basic steps you can take in order to grade a coin yourself:

  1. Light Source – Find a top-notch light source which will illuminate all the tiny details and difference in coloration on the face of the coin. Bright white bulbs are recommended.
  2. Magnifier – Ideally, a magnifier with 5x to 8x magnification is recommended. You will not be able to see all the microscopic flaws with a magnification below 5x.
  3. Which bucket? – try to determine whether your coin is circulated, almost uncirculated, or uncirculated by identifying all the flaws including wear, scratches, and other damages.
  4. Comparison – check your coin against other examples of coins with different grades. Perform a thorough search online to find detailed images of examples. Thus, you can check the condition of your coin against certified graded coins to get an idea of where it fits on the scale.

Grading your coin will allow you to place a price on it when trying to sell it. Otherwise, becoming an expert in coin grades will allow you to make coin purchases yourself to add excellent coins to your collection.

1971 Un Peso: Buying And Selling Guide

Buying rare and valuable coins online is relatively easy if you know what you are looking for. Make sure you conduct thorough research so you know how to look out for fakes and the exact ID features of the coin you are looking for.

Always ensure you buy coins from a reputable seller, ideally someone who includes detailed information and photographs in the coin listing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to find out more about the coin – most coin enthusiasts are happy to share information and spread their knowledge. Look out for valid certification in the listing.

Likewise, when you are selling coins make sure you include as much detail as possible, and reply promptly to interested buyers. A provenance story is a real bonus, so if you inherited the coin or if you know who the coin had been handed to and why the various owners were in possession of the coin you can add value to your listing.

Three sites you can try are:

  • eBay – here you can search for the exact type of coin you are looking for, and get an idea of the kinds of prices they are sold for. You can filter by certification, grade, date, price, and more! Selling through eBay is also recommended. Bear in mind you will build your reputation through successful selling, so if you have already sold good through eBay and received 5 stars you are already considered a reputable seller.
  • Numista – through this site, you can find out a lot of information about coins from around the world. You can also swap coins with other members (Coin Swappers) and track down listings for the coin you are interested in purchasing.
  • NGC Coin – this site includes thorough information on coin values, and provides links to buy your desired coin from various auction sites.

You can also try antique or vintage stores specialising in coins and paper money, or ask around on specialised numismatic forums for advice and coin swaps.

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