Welcome to Mexico

By Victoria Schmidt

Mexican Currency

 

mexicanbanknotesI admit it. I am dumbfounded by the currency of Mexico, coming from the USA where all currency was green and on cotton fiber and uniform size for the notes, and the coins while in various sizes, were uniform in color. The currency from my first trip to the ATM in Mexico reminded me of Monopoly money. The bills were various sizes, different colors and some of it felt like plastic.

As I began to accumulate them, the coins themselves were even more confusing. There were several different sizes but everything looks incredibly alike. The 1¢, 2¢ and 5¢ all looked the same to me at first glance, and I was constantly confused about the $10 peso coin and the 10¢ coin until I realized the $10 peso coin was big, and therefore worth more. Duh.

But now, nearly four years later, I have additional conundrums. Why does the Bank of Mexico reissue money so frequently? There are two different sizes of $100 and $200 pesos notes…and several different designs. One design has no real obverse or reverse. Some $200 peso notes have what looks like statues on both sides. And the $500 peso notes have two different men on two different notes, and one has a woman on the opposite side. But at least so far, the colors have stayed consistent.

However, what drives me round the bend are the centavos! The newest issues of the 10¢ and 20¢ are the worst. They look like tiny buttons! The printing is so small I can’t tell the difference between the 10¢ and 20¢, because the size seems virtually the same—miniscule! I can’t even see them when I drop them on the floor!

Like everyone else in Mexico, I have that container where I collect the coins that are useless to carry, and wonder what I will do with them as they mount in numbers. Personally, I think the centavos are getting smaller because it costs more to produce them than they are actually worth. Ever curious, I looked up the content of the 1992 series 10¢. Ready? They’re made of stainless steel, chromium, nickel, carbon, silicon manganese, sulfur, phosphorous and iron. Who knew so many items of the periodic table of elements could be fused into a tiny coin? I don’t know what the more recent issues are made of, but I think the final products are more valuable as products used in arts and craft projects. Maybe they could be used to form chainmail.

No one I’ve met seems to be thrilled with these little nuisances. Most businesses round up or down to the nearest 50¢. Fine by me. Banks only take them because they have to, and did you know that Mexico doesn’t use those wonderful little paper rolls to organize their coins? Nope. They use scotch tape. Imagine the dexterity it takes to roll ten 10¢ coins together? Those little buggers roll everywhere, and are so small they could be lost under a fingernail! Imagine being the unlucky employee at the bank that must roll those coins. I bet the tape is worth more than the coins by the time they get done with them!

Since most businesses seem to round to the nearest 50¢ perhaps the 10¢ and 20¢ should be permanently retired from circulation. Until then, I’m moving my stash into the empty five-gallon water bottle!

Comments   

#1 Wes 2011-09-07 22:03
I'll buy that loose change off you by the pound if you live in the US and the price and shipping is right. I collect coins, so hoarding them is a terrible habit of mine. Let me know.
Wes

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Welcome to Mexico! By Victoria Schmidt April 2016 Embarrassment of Necessities March 2016 Changes February 2016 Orale! January
Welcome to MEXICO By Victoria Schmidt El Diablo—The Clock from Hell While moving to Mexico, I packed our alarm clock. The thought of the necessity
Welcome to Mexico! By Victoria Schmidt Battle of the Bands   Recently I had the most unusual dining experience yet in Mexico. My husband and I walked
Welcome to Mexico! By Victoria Schmidt Be Prepared   As retirees, we’ve reached one very uncomfortable stage in our lives. Our friends are becoming
Welcome to Mexico By Victoria Schmidt Parking in Mexico   Nowhere have I witnessed the type of parking I’ve seen in Mexico on a daily basis.  An
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
LAKESIDE LIVING Kay Davis Phone: 376 – 108 – 0278 (or 765 – 3676 to leave messages) Email: kdavis987@gmail.com November
Front Row Center By Michael Warren    The Pajama Game By Richard Adler and Jerry Ross Directed by Peggy Lord Chilton Music directed
LEGERDEMAIN—Italian Style By Jim Rambologna   Enzio Grattani was the Editor-in-Chief of a local rivista (or magazine) in Ajiermo, Italy. Locals
Every Word  Important By Herbert W. Piekow   Every word a writer writes has meaning yes, sometimes they never get published or the book

Visit our Advertisers

Our Issues

March 2016

july2011-ojo

February 2016

july2011-ojo

January 2016

july2011-ojo

December 2015

july2011-ojo

November 2015

july2011-ojo

October 2015

july2011-ojo

September 2015

july2011-ojo

 

 

More....