Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The peso is the currency of Mexico. It is divided into 100 centavos. The symbol used for the peso is "$", while centavos are represented by "¢". Its current ISO 4217 code is MXN (prior to 1993 the code "MXP" was used).
The name peso means weight, and this is a reference to the principal characteristic of the coin. The silver mines of Mexico supply ample sources of pure silver and, more importantly, the peso was the first coin to have a border that made it easy to detect if the coin had been tampered with. It was a common practice to cut or wear down the edges of gold and silver coins, thus obtaining raw precious metal. Since the peso was a coin of pure silver with an exact weight, it became very popular.
Nowadays, due to the stability of the Mexican economy, and the growth in foreign investment, the Mexican peso is among the 15 most traded currency units in the world, and the most traded in Latin America.
On 1 January 1993, Mexico adopted a new currency, the nuevo peso ("new peso", or MXN). The new peso was equal to 1000 of the obsolete MXP pesos. The change was necessitated by the violent and massive devaluations the currency had suffered over the previous quarter century.
On 1 January 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.
The coins currently in circulation have face values of 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, $1, $2, $5, $10, and $20. A $50 coin also exists and is legal tender, but it was not included in the 1996 issue. It is extremely rare and largely disliked by users (the $20 coin is slightly less rare, but disliked just as intensely). Coins worth 5¢ were also introduced at the changeover; they are now rare, however, and might even have been withdrawn from circulation. All the coins incorporate design elements from the Aztec Calendar.
Banknotes are issued in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500, and, since November 2004, a new $1000 note. A $10 note existed during the early days of the changeover; while still legal tender, they are no longer printed and it has been a very long time since anyone got one in their change.
These banknotes depict the following figures from Mexican history:
Current MXN exchange rates
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