The head of the family was a 69 years old man, Mr. Alex, an open-walking history book and a numismatic expert, a person that study and collects currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects.
Walking through the Paseo Esteban Huertas at Casco Viejo we found a coin collection from 1904. Mr. Alex already had it but he stopped to chat with the vendor about other items displayed.
Listening to that interesting conversation I learned about "the pill" (la píldora) from 1904 and I did a further research.
Here are some facts that I gathered:
- Panama made the first coins back in 1904 right after we separated from Colombia. The denominations were 2½, 5, 10, 25 y 50 cents, all silver. They were mint in the US
- In 1931 appeared the first Balboa coin mint in Panama. The material of this coins was 90.9% silver.
- In 1966, Panama followed the U.S. in changing the composition of their silver coins, with copper-nickel clad 1⁄10 and ¼ balboa, and .400 fineness ½ balboa. 1 balboa coins, at .900 fineness silver, were issued that year for the first time since 1947
- Panama had the highest denomination coin in the world in the 70´s. It was the 20 balboas denomination coin.
- Emphasizing our Panama treasures, flora and wildlife, a 500 balboas gold coin was mint in 1979.
- In 1982 a $20 gold coin was made as well.
- In addition to the circulating issues, commemorative coins with denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, and 500 balboas have been issued.
Wow.. . there is so much information about this.
I have to admit that I passed many times in front of this vendor in this old town built in 1670´s but for the first time I realize how knowledgeable he is when it comes to currency.
Every day I learn something new and I am loving it.
Thanks Mr. Alex... It was a pleasure to meet you and your lovely family from Santa María California.
I am Sorhay Mariel, a former journalist (with college education but no degree), nature lover, a dreamer, a passionate woman that wants to show the world my beautiful, colorful, at times loud but amazing country.