The Uruguay Gold Peso coin features the head of the former head of state Jose Gervasio Artigas who ruled the country from 1815 to 1820. Revered as a national hero, he is still referred to as the “Father of the Country’s Independence.” The peso, with a strong .2501/ounce in gold content, was minted for only one year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Uruguayan Constitution. The peso is inscribed with words that translate to the Uruguay Oriental Republic. The term “oriental” refers to the eastern banks of the Uruguay River near the border with Argentina.
Uruguay boasts a European descended population of 3.3 million mostly from Italy and Spain, but the gold peso was minted at the Paris Mint in France in 1930. The Uruguayan constitution, which was written and approved in 1830, was borrowed from the United States, and to commemorate it, only 14,415 gold peso coins were released in 1930. But subsequently, in the 1990s, an additional 80,000 coins were reportedly issued by the Argentine Central Bank. The Uruguay Gold Peso has been a collectors’ choice for many years and still trade with minimum premiums against gold.
Listed as the only design of its type in the authoritative “Catalogue of Gold Coins,” most of the Gold Peso coins ended up in the hands of private investors and collectors and today only a few pesos are known to exist, making them some of the rarest commodities in the gold market. The pesos rarely surface and when they do, only in very small quantities fetch up to $475 per piece. The term “obverse” is the actual name used to describe the front facade of the coin. It contains the image of the national hero, Artigas. Besides the “Oriental Republic of Uruguay” is a phrase in Spanish which means the same. The backside or reverse features a striking image of the sun. At the top, a semi-circle arc is printed in Spanish a translation of “Centenary of 1830.” And in the middle of the peso, is printed 5 pesos. Under the sun rays is the inscription of the date 1930.
The one year issue of the gold peso impressed both investors and collectors alike because of their low mintage. The 100,000 Gold Peso coins issued were unheard of by bullion standards and the pieces themselves proved to be slightly bigger than the prevailing weight standards of the day. Although hugely anticipated by collectors, most of the pieces never saw public availability and their scarcity meant those in times of peak demand, their premiums against the gold cold are potentially higher.