Exchange Currency

Mexican peso

The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most traded currency in Latin America.

The peso is subdivided into 100 centavos, represented by "¢". The name was originally used in reference to pesos oro (gold weights) or pesos plata (silver weights). The literal English translation of the Spanish word peso is weight. As of August 1, 2012, the peso's exchange rate was 16.37 per euro and 13.38 per U.S. dollar.

Summary info

Summary information about Mexican peso
ISO 4217 Code:
Currency sign:
$ or Mex$
5 centavos, 10 centavos, 20 centavos, 50 centavos, 1 peso, 2 pesos, 5 pesos, 10 pesos
20 peso, 50 peso, 100 peso, 200 peso, 500 peso, 1000 peso
Central bank:
Banco de México


The peso was originally the name of the eight-real coins issued in Mexico by Spain. These were the so-called Spanish dollars or pieces of eight in wide circulation in the Americas and Asia from the height of the Spanish Empire until the early 19th century. After Mexico gained its independence in 1821, the new government continued the Spanish monetary system of 16 silver reales = 1 gold escudo, with the peso of 8 reales the largest silver coin. Paper money was also issued, denominated in pes.

In 1863, the first issue was made of coins denominated in centavos, worth one hundredth of the peso. This was followed in 1866 by coins denominated "one peso". Coins denominated in reales continued to be issued until 1897. In 1905, the gold content of the peso was reduced by 49.3% but the silver content of the peso remained initially unchanged (subsidiary coins were debased). However, from 1918 onward, the weight and fineness of all the silver coins declined, until 1977, when the last silver 100-peso coins were minted.

Throughout most of the 20th century, the Mexican peso remained one of the more stable currencies in Latin America, since the economy did not experience periods of hyperinflation common to other countries in the region. However, after the Oil Crisis of the late 1970s, Mexico defaulted on its external debt in 1982, and as a result the country suffered a severe case of capital flight, followed by several years of inflation and devaluation, until a government economic strategy called the "Stability and Economic Growth Pact" (Pacto de estabilidad y crecimiento económico, PECE) was adopted under President Carlos Salinas. On January 1, 1993 the Bank of Mexico introduced a new currency, the nuevo peso ("new peso", or MXN), written "N$" followed by the numerical amount. One new peso, or N$1.00, was equal to 1000 of the obsolete MXP pesos.

On January 1, 1996, the modifier nuevo was dropped from the name and new coins and banknotes – identical in every respect to the 1993 issue, with the exception of the now absent word "nuevo" – were put into circulation. The ISO 4217 code, however, remained unchanged as MXN.

Thanks to the stability of the Mexican economy and the growth in foreign investment, the Mexican peso is now among the 15 more traded currency units in recent years. Since the late 1990s the peso has traded at about 9 to 15 pesos per U.S. dollar.

The Spanish dollar or Mexican peso was widely used in the early United States. By a decree of July 6, 1785, the value of the United States dollar was set to approximately match the Spanish dollar, both of which were based on the weight of silver in the coins. The first U.S. dollar coins were not issued until April 2, 1792, and the peso continued to be officially recognized and used, along with other foreign coins, until February 21, 1857. In Canada, it remained legal tender, along with other foreign silver coins, until 1854 and continued to circulate beyond that date. The Mexican peso also served as the model for the Straits dollar, the Hong Kong dollar, the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan. The term Chinese yuan refers to the round Spanish dollars, Mexican pesos and other 8 reales silver coins which saw use in China during the 19th and 20th century. The Mexican peso was also briefly legal tender in 19th century Siam, when government mints were unable to accommodate a sudden influx of foreign traders, and was exchanged at a rate of three pesos to one Thai baht.


The first coins of the peso currency were 1 centavo pieces minted in 1863. Emperor Maximilian, ruler of the Second Mexican Empire from 1864–1867, minted the first coins with the legend "peso" on them. His portrait was on the obverse, with the legend "Maximiliano Emperador;" the reverse shows the imperial arms and the legends "Imperio Mexicano" and "1 Peso" and the date. They were struck from 1866 to 1867.

The New Mexican republic continued to strike the 8 reales piece, but also began minting coins denominated in centavos and pesos. In addition to copper 1 centavo coins, silver (.903 fineness) coins of 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos and 1 peso were introduced between 1867 and 1869. Gold 1, 2½, 5, 10 and 20-peso coins were introduced in 1870. The obverses featured the Mexican 'eagle' and the legend "Republica Mexicana." The reverses of the larger coins showed a pair of scales; those of the smaller coins, the denomination. One-peso coins were made from 1865 to 1873, when 8 reales coins resumed production. In 1882, cupro-nickel 1, 2 and 5 centavos coins were issued but they were only minted for two years. The 1 peso was reintroduced in 1898, with the Phrygian cap, or liberty cap design being carried over from the 8 reales.

In 1905 a monetary reform was carried out in which the gold content of the peso was reduced by 49.36% and the silver coins were (with the exception of the 1 peso) reduced to token issues. Bronze 1 and 2 centavos, nickel 5 centavos, silver 10, 20 and 50 centavos and gold 5 and 10 pesos were issued.

In 1910, a new peso coin was issued, the famous Caballito, considered one of the most beautiful of Mexican coins. The obverse had the Mexican official coat of arms (an eagle with a snake in its beak, standing on a cactus plant) and the legends "Estados Unidos Mexicanos" and "Un Peso." The reverse showed a woman riding a horse, her hand lifted high in exhortation, and the date. These were minted in .903 silver from 1910 to 1914.

Between 1917 and 1919, the gold coinage was expanded to include 2, 2½ and 20-peso coins. However, circulation issues of gold ceased in 1921. In 1918, the peso coin was debased, bringing it into line with new silver 10, 20 and 50 centavos coins. All were minted in .800 fineness to a standard of 14.5 g to the peso. The liberty cap design, already on the other silver coins, was applied to the peso. Another debasement in 1920 reduced the fineness to .720 with 12 g of silver to the peso. Bronze 10 and 20 centavos coins were introduced in 1919 and 1920, but coins of those denominations were also minted in silver until 1935 and 1943, respectively.

In 1947, a new issue of silver coins was struck, with the 50 centavos and 1 peso in .500 fineness and a new 5-peso coin in .900 fineness. A portrait of José María Morelos appeared on the 1 peso and this was to remain a feature of the 1-peso coin until its demise. The silver content of this series was 5.4 g to the peso. This was reduced to 4 g in 1950, when .300 fineness 25 and 50-centavo and 1-peso coins were minted alongside .720 fineness 5 pesos. A new portrait of Morelos appeared on the 1 peso, with Cuauhtemoc on the 50 centavos and Miguel Hidalgo on the 5 pesos. No reference was made to the silver content except on the 5 pesos. During this period 5 peso, and to a lesser extent, 10 peso, coins were also used as vehicles for occasional commemorative strikings.

In 1955, bronze 50 centavos were introduced, along with smaller 5-peso coins and a new 10-peso coin. In 1957, new 1-peso coins were issued in .100 silver. This series contained 1.6 g of silver per peso. A special 1 peso was minted in 1957 to commemorate Benito Juárez and the constitution of 1857. These were the last silver pesos. The 5-peso coin now weighed 18 grams and was still 0.720 silver; the 10-peso coin weighed 28 grams and was in 0.900 silver.

Between 1960 and 1971, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of brass 1 and 5 centavos, cupro-nickel 10, 25 and 50 centavos, 1, 5 and 10 pesos and silver 25 pesos (only issued 1972). In 1977, silver 100 pesos were issued for circulation. In 1980, smaller 5-peso coins were introduced alongside 20 pesos and (from 1982) 50 pesos in cupro-nickel. Between 1978 and 1982, the sizes of the coins for 20 centavos and above were reduced. Base metal 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000-peso coins were introduced between 1984 and 1988.

As noted above, the nuevo peso (new peso) was the result of hyperinflation in Mexico. In 1993, Presidente Carlos Salinas de Gortari stripped three zeros from the peso, creating a parity of $1 New Peso for $1000 of the old ones.

The transition was done both by having the people trade in their old notes, and by removing the old notes from circulation at the banks, over a period of three years from January 1, 1993 to January 1, 1996. At that time, the word "nuevo" was removed from all new currency being printed and the "nuevo" notes were retired from circulation, thus returning the currency and the notes to be denominated just "peso" again.

Confusion was avoided by making the "nuevo peso" currency almost identical to the old "peso". Both of them circulated at the same time, while all currency that only said "peso" was removed from circulation. The Banco de México (Bank of Mexico) then issued new currency with new graphics, also under the "nuevo peso". These were followed in due course by the current, almost identical, "peso" currency without the word "nuevo".

In 1993, coins of the new currency (dated 1992) were issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 nuevos pesos. The 5 and 10 centavos were minted in stainless steel and the 20 and 50 centavos in aluminium bronze. The nuevo peso denominations were bimetallic, with the 1, 2 and 5 nuevos pesos having aluminium bronze centres and stainless steel rings, and the 10, 20 and 50 nuevos pesos having .925 silver centers and aluminium bronze rings. In 1996, the word nuevo(s) was removed from the coins. New 10 pesos were introduced with base metal replacing the silver centre. The 20, 50, and 100-peso coins are the only currently circulating coinage in the world to contain any silver.

In 2003 the Bank of Mexico began the gradual launch of a new series of bimetallic $100 coins. These number 32 – one for each of the nation's 31 states, plus the Federal District. While the obverse of these coins bears the traditional Coat of arms of Mexico, their reverses show the individual coats of arms of the component states. The first states to be celebrated in this fashion were Zacatecas, Yucatán, Veracruz, and Tlaxcala. In circulation they are extraordinarily rare, but their novelty value offsets the unease most users feel at having such a large amount of money in a single coin. Although the Bank has tried to encourage users to collect full sets of these coins, issuing special display folders for the purpose, the high cost involved has worked against them. Bullion versions of these coins are also available, with the outer ring made of gold, instead of aluminium bronze.

The coins commonly encountered in circulation have face values of 50¢, $1, $2, $5, and $10. The $50, 10¢ and 5¢ coins are rarely seen and largely disliked by users. The $20 coin is not as widely used as the $20 banknote. As of late 2006 and early 2007, the usage of 20¢ coins is also gradually declining. Small commodities are priced in multiples of 10¢, but stores may choose to round the total prices to 50¢. There is also a trend for supermarkets to ask customers to donate those cents to charities so that they can round the amount to 50¢ or 1 peso.


The first banknotes issued by the Mexican state were produced in 1823 by Emperor Iturbide in denominations of 1, 2 and 10 pesos. Similar issues were made by the republican government later the same year. Ten-peso notes were also issued by Emperor Maximilian in 1866 but, until the 1920s, banknote production lay entirely in the hands of private banks and local authorities.

In 1920, the Monetary Commission (Comisión Monetaria) issued 50-centavo and 1-peso note whilst the Bank of Mexico issued 2-peso notes. From 1925, the Bank issued notes for 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos, with 500 and 1000 pesos following in 1931. From 1935, the Bank also issued 1-peso notes and, from 1943, 10,000 pesos.

Production of 1-peso notes ceased in 1962, followed by 5 pesos in 1971, 10 and 20 pesos in 1977, 50 pesos in 1984, 100 pesos in 1985, 500 pesos in 1987 and 1,000 pesos in 1988. 5,000-peso notes were introduced in 1981, followed by 2,000 pesos in 1983, 20,000 pesos in 1985, 50,000 pesos in 1986 and 100,000 pesos in 1988.

n 1993, notes were introduced in the new currency for 10, 20, 50, and 100 nuevos pesos. These notes are designated series B by the Bank. (It is important to note that this series designation is not the 1 or 2 letter series label printed on the banknotes themselves.) All were printed with the date July 31, 1992. The designs were carried over from the corresponding notes of the old peso.

In October 1994, Series C was issued with brand new designs. The word "nuevos" remained. And 500 nuevos pesos were added. All were printed with the date December 10, 1993.

The next series of banknotes, designated series D, was introduced in 1996. It is a modified version of series C with the word "nuevos" dropped, the bank title changed from "El Banco de México" to "Banco de México" and the clause "pagará a la vista al portador" removed. There are several printed dates for each denomination. In 2000, a commemorative series was issued which was like series D except for the additional text "75 aniversario 1925-2000" under the bank title. It refers to the 75th anniversary of the Bank. While series D includes the $10 note and is still legal tender, they are no longer printed, seldom seen, and the coin is more common. $10 notes are rarely found in circulation.

Starting from 2001, each denomination in the series was upgraded gradually. On October 15, 2001, in an effort to combat counterfeiting, Series D notes of 50 pesos and above were further modified with the addition of an iridescent strip. On notes of 100 pesos and above, the denomination is printed in color-shifting ink in the top right corner. On September 30, 2002 a new $20 note was introduced. The new $20 is printed on longer-lasting polymer plastic rather than paper. A new $1000 note was issued on November 15, 2004. The Bank of Mexico refers to the $20, $50, and $1000 notes during this wave of change as "series D1".

On April 5, 2004 the Chamber of Deputies approved a measure to demand that the Banco de México produce by January 1, 2006 notes and coins that are identifiable by the blind population (estimated at more than 750,000 visually impaired citizens, including 250,000 that are completely blind).

On December 19, 2005, $100, $200, and $500 MXN banknotes include raised, tactile patterns (like Braille), meant to make them distinguishable for people with vision incapacities. This system has been questioned and many demand that it be replaced by actual Braille so it can be used by foreigners not used to these symbols. The Banco de México, however, says they will continue issuing the symbol bills.

MXN banknotes pictures gallery

20 Mexican peso
Banknote of 20 Mexican peso has dimensions 120×66 mm and main colors are steel blue, pearl aqua, dark gray, platinum, lavender mist and pale cerulean. The banknote of 20 Mexican peso was issued on the 20 august 2007.
20 Mexican peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 20 Mexican peso is showing the portrait of Don Benito Juárez García (1806 – 1872), who became president of Mexico in 1858 and issued the reform laws with the support of the radical liberals the following year. Because of his defense of human freedoms, which served as an example to other Latin American countries, he was proclaimed “Benemérito de las Américas”. In a famous speech, he said: “The people and the government should respect the rights of all. Among individuals, as among nations, respect for others' rights is peace”. The image of Don Benito Juárez is accompanied by a drawing composed of: a balancing scale in the foreground, which symbolizes equilibrium and justice, and book, which represents the reform laws enacted in 1859.
20 Mexican peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 20 Mexican peso is showing a panoramic view of the archeological zone of Monte Albán (built by the Zapotec culture), located in the state of Oaxaca and declared by UNESCO as part of the cultural patrimony of humanity. To the left of this scene is a detail from an earring found in tomb number 7 of the archeological site, and to the lower right is a fragment of a large mask of the God of Rain and Thunder (Cocijo, the main Zapotec god).

50 Mexican peso
Banknote of 50 Mexican peso has dimensions 127×66 mm and main colors are puce, pale chestnut, rosy brown, champagne, languid lavender, magnolia and lavender mist. The banknote of 50 Mexican peso was issued on the 21 November 2006.
50 Mexican peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 50 Mexican peso is showing the portrait of José María Morelos y Pavón, who in 1810 joined Miguel Hidalgo's independence movement and in 1813 convened and installed the Chilpancingo Congress. Before this assembly the “Sentiments of the Nation” were presented, a document in which Morelos set aside his authority and declared himself “servant of the nation.” In addition, the document established, among other propositions, independence, a republican regime, the prohibition of slavery, and equality for all citizens. In 1814, the Congress finished its work and promulgated the Constitution of Apatzingán, Mexico's first constitution.
50 Mexican peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 50 Mexican peso is showing the image of Morelos is accompanied by an illustration comprised of two cannons one on top of the other, the standard used by Morello's forces, as well as a bow and arrow with the word “SUD.” The key visual feature is the aqueduct of the city of Morelia, Michoacán, constructed by Bishop Manuel Escalante Columbres in the eighteenth century—a construction which has become an icon of the city. Three monarch butterflies appear in front of it. To the left side of the aqueduct is a representation of the pre-Hispanic symbol of the state of Michoacán (Mechoacan, which means “those of the land of fish,” taken from the codex telleriano remensis).

100 Mexican peso
Banknote of 100 Mexican peso has dimensions 134×66 mm and main colors are pale gold, macaroni, cheese, antique brass, dark terra cotta and banana mania and bisque. The banknote of 100 Mexican pesos was issued on the 9 august 2010.
100 Mexican peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 100 Mexican peso is showing an effigy of Nezahualcóyotl, accompanied by an allegory to the verses “I love the song of zentzontle/bird of four hundred voices” which appear on the banknote. The allegory comprises the drawings of a zenzontle, four symbols of the word, a piece of jade, a flower and two seated men.
100 Mexican peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 100 Mexican peso is showing a Nezahualcóyotl-styled glyph vignette next to the drawing of an aqueduct from the High Temple of the México-Tenochtitlán main plaza.

200 Mexican peso
Banknote of 200 Mexican peso has dimensions 141×66 mm and main colors are tea green, beige, mint cream, thistle, timberwolf, liver and wenge. The banknote of 200 Mexican peso was issued on the 29 March 2009.
200 Mexican peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 200 Mexican peso is showing the image of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla with a banner, which later on became the flag of the rebel army. This image was taken from the art work done by Jesus Enrique Emilio De La Helguera Espinoza entitled “Don Miguel Hidalgo”, which represents the beginning of the War of Independence.
200 Mexican peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 200 Mexican peso is showing the Independence Angel, presently located in Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, and next to it there is a stylish image of the shining Phrygian cap as the symbol of freedom. This image has been used in numerous occasions in the metal coins of the Independent Mexico.

500 Mexican peso
Banknote of 500 Mexican peso has dimensions 148×66 mm and main colors are peach puff, pale silver, beaver, rosy brown, bazaar, tea rose and champagne. The banknote of 500 Mexican peso was issued on the 30 august 2010.
500 Mexican peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 500 Mexican peso is showing a self-portrait of the muralist Diego Rivera, painted in 1941, complemented with a vignette comprised of his painting “NUDE WITH CALLA FLOWERS” (1944), three paint brushes and a palette, representing the tools he used to create his works of art.
500 Mexican peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 500 Mexican peso is showing the portrait of Frida Kahlo, accompanied by one of her works of art entitled “LOVE’S EMBRACE OF THE UNIVERSE, EARTH, (MEXICO), I, DIEGO AND MR. XÓLOTL”.

1000 Mexican peso
Banknote of 1000 Mexican peso has dimensions 155×66 mm and main colors are light thulian pink, pink pearl, lilac, dark lavender, pastel gray, classic rose and thistle. The banknote of 1000 Mexican peso was issued on the 7 April 2008.
1000 Mexican peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 1000 Mexican peso is showing he image of the first and main head of Mexico's independence movement, Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. His image is accompanied by a drawing composed of the Dolores church bell and two towers from the same church. The illustration refers to the cry of Dolores, when Miguel Hidalgo rang the bell to call the people to start the independence movement. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.
1000 Mexican peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 1000 Mexican peso is showing a scenic view of the University of Guanajuato, together with the university's interior window and a relief drawing of one of its doors, as well as a frog that refers to Guanajuato, and a representation of the city's architecture.

Useful links

About Banco de México:
Banco de México
List of currencies:
Security and design features of MXN banknotes:
MXN banknotes
MXN currency on Wikipedia:
Mexican peso
Official Website of Banco de México:
Commemorative coins:
Commemorative Coins