Mexico City Mint Medal of 1939

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Al Kowsky, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    The Mexico City Mint (Mo mint mark) is the oldest continually operating mint in North & South America, & they have a rich tradition of striking medals for special events, important personages, expositions, scholastic awards, & commercial entities. In 1939 they struck a medal commemorating the International Congress of the Americanists, a study group devoted to advancing historical & scientific knowledge of North & South America & its people. The original focus of the group was the period before 1492, but this was later expanded to include post European expansion of the New World. The medal pictured below was struck in silver, had a mintage of 400 pieces, diameter of 39 mm, & weight of 26.40 gm. The obverse pictures a Mexican national treasure, the Mayan ball court marker found at Chinkultic, in the state of Chiapas. It is carved from limestone, is 22 in. in diameter, & depicts a young ball player hitting a rubber ball with his hip. The inscription dedicates the new ball court at Chinkultic, & is dated 591 CE. The Mexican ball game is well over 3,000 years old & most likely originated in the tropical lowlands by the Olmec people who were the first to make rubber. The Mexican ballgame was more than a simple sport, it had strong ritual significance too. The rules of the game varied depending on place & time, using a rubber ball weighing as much as 9 pounds that could be struck by hip, elbow, or knee, sometimes using bats or hand stones. It was played by teams of 2 to 4 players who wore protective belts, chest, knee & elbow pads. The weight & size of the ball made it a very dangerous sport. On many occasions the team captain or the entire team who lost the game were sacrificed & beheaded :nailbiting:! It is also said that important ball players who were beheaded had their heads made into rubber balls :eek:. Much has been written about the Meso-American ball game & anyone interested can do a google search & find a wealth of information.

    Getting back to this medal, I purchased it in 1975 from Richard Long, a well known specialist & author of Mexican coinage. The official mintage of the medal was 400, however, we don't know how many of these were actually sold or melted down & today the medal is considered a rarity. Only 1 example has been slabbed by PCGS (the one in my collection) & only 1 example, an MS61, has been slabbed by NGC. The NGC example is presently for sale on ebay for $275.00.
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    Below is the Chinkultic ball court marker in the National Museum of Mexico City


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  3. V. Kurt Bellman

    V. Kurt Bellman Yes, I'm blunt! Get over your "feeeeelings".

    The Mexico City Mint does do some beautiful work. I STILL challenge anyone to come up with a better 1 ounce silver than the Libertad.
     
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