Introduction of New 500 Peso Banknotes Launches New Series

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by Michael Alexander

September 27, 2018 – The Banco de Mexico have introduced new 500 Peso banknotes on the 28th August 2018 into circulation which launches a new series of currency notes and initiates three important changes to Mexican banknotes. The new 500 Peso banknote (US$ 26.30) introduces new designs, colours and themes for the denominations that will be included in the new series. The notes will also incorporate new and updated security features since the last family of banknotes which were introduced almost twenty years ago.

Of particular interest to the new “G” banknote series is that the 20 Peso denomination will no longer be issued as a banknote, this value will now circulate only as the bi-metallic type coin first introduced in 1996. The figure depicted on the current twenty Peso banknote, that of President Benito Juarez (1806-1872) will now transition onto the 500 Peso denomination and replaces the figure of internationally renowned artist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) seen on the “F” series banknote. 

The new 500 peso banknote features an image of Benito Juárez. Courtesy of the website of the Banco de Mexico.

The effigy of Benito Juárez, 26th President of Mexico has often been seen on Mexican national currency – both coins and banknotes and is perhaps universally remembered for his example of defence of sovereignty, national, liberal and republican values as well as for his unrelenting effort to move from a country of confrontation and instability to one of the rule of laws and supporting institutions.

As the twenty Peso banknote is being discontinued, there are provisions for the issue of a 2000 Peso banknote in the future and within this new series as and when the Banco de Mexico and the economy deems it necessary.

The new series will emphasise the various chapters of Mexican heritage and history from its origins as a Spanish colony to a sovereign Republic whose independence was declared in 1810 and initially achieved in 1821. The Historical chapters will focus on Old Mexico, the Colony, Independence, Reformation and the Restoration of the Republic, the Revolution and finally, Contemporary Mexico. The 500 Peso banknote highlights the chapter of Mexican history when the second Republic was proclaimed in 1867 following the collapse of the second Empire. 

As the obverse of each new banknote features historical chapters in Mexico, the reverse designs will highlight the six most representative ecosystems of Mexican geography. Featured will be rivers and lakes, temperate and dry forests, thickets or dense bushes or trees and deserts, coasts, seas and islands, and rain forests. Each scene or location will be recognised sites on the “World Heritage” list of the Organisation of the United Nations for Education, Science and Culture or, UNESCO. Also included on the reverse side will feature an element of fauna and flora identified with each one of the six ecosystems.

The banknote is printed on a cotton-based fibre paper and includes the date “19 MAY 2017” which measures 146 / 65 mm. with an overall blue colour-scheme and various corresponding colour underprints. Security features include:

When viewed from the front, a watermark of the portrait of Benito Juarez is placed to the right of Juarez’s effigy.

Multi-colour application: 
The banknote’s numeral of “500” which is placed to the upper right corner changes colour when tilted, the note’s denomination is also seen within the numbers. 

Holographic security strip:
A segmented and holographic vertical strip seen near the far left half of the banknote displays moving numerals of “500” when the note is tilted.

Tactile features:
As part of the identification process for visually impaired persons, a series of horizontal dashes can be felt which are located on the upper half of the note towards the edges.

Obverse theme: The process of Reformation and the Restoration of the Republic. Illustrated is a portrait of President Benito Juárez (1806-1872), hero and leader of the Liberal Reformation. To the left of the effigy of President Juarez is a vignette of the engraving created by Alberto Beltrán which depicts the triumphal entry of Juarez into Mexico City and which began the period known as the Restored Republic which was achieved after the fall of the Second Empire headed by Emperor Maximillian I.
The text: “Presidente Benito Juárez, impulsor de las Leyes de Reforma, en su entrada triunfal a la Ciudad de México el 15 de julio de 1867, simbolizando la restauración de la República” (engl. President Benito Juárez, leader of the law of reform in his triumphal entrance into Mexico City on the 15th July 1867, symbolizing the restoration of the Republic).

Reverse theme: The ecosystem of coasts, seas and islands. The Biosphere Reserve of El Vizcaíno, natural heritage site is located on the peninsula of Baja California Sur. To the centre of the banknote and as a primary design is the image of a grey whale with its calf.
On the right is the legend “Ecosistema de costas, mares e islas, representado por la ballena gris, su ballenato y pastos marinos, en la reserva de la biósfera el Vizcaíno en Baja California Sur, patrimonio natural de la humanidad” (engl. Ecosystem of coasts, seas and islands, represented by the grey whale, its calf and marine pastures, in the reserve of the Biosphere of Vizcaíno in Southern Baja California, a natural heritage of humanity).

The Banco De Mexico are scheduling the release of the complete series which is scheduled over a period of five years. The issue of the 200 Pesos and 1000 Pesos banknotes will be issued in the second half of 2019 and 2020 respectively. For additional information on this and the current banknotes presently in use in Mexico, please visit the website of the Banco de Mexico.

The author, Michael Alexander is president of the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre.

The Mexican news channel Noticieros Televisa asked some people what they think of the new 500 peso banknote. Many voiced the concern that it might be confused with the 20 peso note. The video is available in Spanish only.