If it weren’t for Mexico’s vast deposits of silver and gold, the international powers of the 16th century might have completely lost interest in the New World. But once its riches were discovered, there was no turning back – and in 1535, a royal order from the Spanish Crown established the Casa de Moneda de Mexico, now the oldest continuously operating mint in the Western hemisphere.

Mexico’s exceptional silver and gold coins have circulated around the world for more than four centuries, earning international prestige that the Mexican mint retains to this day. One of its most celebrated creations?  The Silver Libertad – Mexico’s signature silver coin since it was first struck in 1982.

In Spanish, “libertad” translates to freedom or liberty.  The reverse of every Mexican Silver Libertad features an image of El Angel – the Winged Victory statue celebrating Mexico’s War of Independence that soars high on a pedestal in the center of Mexico City.  Behind her stand two volcanoes – Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl.  Often compared to the America’s Lady Liberty, El Angel is also known as Nike (or Nicé) – a symbol of liberty in both battle and peaceful competition.

The obverse design includes Mexico’s official seal: an eagle with a snake in mouth, standing on a cactus.  The emblem is surrounded by Mexico’s official name “Estados Unidos Mexicanos”, or United Mexican States. Each Silver Libertad features the mint’s distinctive “oM”  or “Mo” mintmark on the reverse.  Just don’t look for a face value on these silver coins – since even though each is legal tender in Mexico, none are marked with a specific denomination.