Synonymously called Libra Peruana De Oro, which translates to Peruvian gold pound, the libra coin was Peru’s unity of currency from 1898 to 1931. Thus, the debut year of the gold Peru was 1898 based on the British sovereign standards of 113 pure gold grains. However, Peru took up the gold standard worth ten soles based on the libra. Peru kept the gold standard till 1931 although coin issuance had ceased in 1930.
The Gold Peru Libra coin is available in denominations of one, half and one-fifth libra. The one libra denomination coin was minted for circulation between 1898 and 1930. The half libra was issued from 1902 to 1913 while the one-fifth libra was issued from 1905 to 1930. The coins are all demonetized, were minted at equal gold purity of 91.67% and are all round in shape. The one libra weighs 7.9981 grams and has a diameter of 22 millimeters and is demonetized. The half libra weighs 3.994 grams and is 19 millimeters wide. The one-fifth libra weighs 1.6 grams and has a diameter of 15 millimeters.
The obverse of all three denominations features a radiant sun towards the top. The radiant sun is above the Peru’s National Coat of Arms. A wreath of palm and a cereal-like branches surround the wreath to the left and right respectively. The inscription, “·REPUBLICA PERUANA LIMA ·Z·B·R·”, runs clockwise from the bottom left of the obverse to the bottom right sandwiching the year of mintage. The reverse features the effigy of an indigenous man facing to the right adorned with two feathers tucked in a headband. The texts, “VERDAD I JUSTICIA” and, “· [FACE VALUE] LIBRA ·” run clockwise around the effigy to the top and anticlockwise below the effigy.
The Gold Peru Libra coin was minted by the Lima Mint. The Mint was established by King Phillip II of Spain in 1565 and began producing silver “cobs” in 1568. Although Gold Peru Libra coins are not the most scarce of coins due to their high mintage over the years, they appeal to investors because they are sales tax or VAT exempt.