Markets and Trade, Money

Calculating the Value of Old Mexican Banknotes

Old Mexican bank notes can be exchanged for their present-day value at the Bank of Mexico, or sold to collectors who seek to acquire them

Old Mexican Bank Notes

Rummaging through old papers, notes, and travel memories you might stumble upon some bank notes with the words “Banco de Mexico” printed on them.  Glancing at the values —$1,000 pesos, $50,000 pesos, $100,000 pesos— you may also wonder, what are they worth today?

This article explains what these old Mexican bank notes are worth, and how you can exchange them, or sell them to collectors.

Devaluation during the 1980s and 1990s

Mexico encountered two significant economic crises in recent decades: one in the mid-1970s that spilled over into the early 1980s, and another in the mid-1990s.  Both events had different causes although each imposed the same penalty on Mexico’s peso: devaluation.

In the 1980s Mexico’s currency was denominated not in ones and tens, but in hundreds and thousands.  $50,000 peso notes were commonplace and in the early 90s, the Bank of Mexico issued a $100,000 peso bank note; at the time, these were worth about US$16.50 and US$33 respectively.

Mexico’s peso is rebased in 1993

On January 1, 1993 Mexico re-based its currency by removing three zeros from all denominations and launched the New Peso.  A new series of bank notes appeared, looking exactly like the old ones, with two exceptions: the new ones had three zeros missing from the numerals and the words Nuevos Pesos were added for clarity.

In October 1994 a brand-new series of bank notes was released in which the word “Nuevos” was dropped as Mexico’s currency stabilized and people got used to the new currency.

Exchanging old Mexican bank notes

The Bank of Mexico honors all genuine notes it issues, regardless of their date of emission, at present-day values.

Present-day values of old Mexican bank notes

Notes: The present-day value is given on this page of the bank’s web site.

Coins: For the present-day value of old Mexican coins, see this page.

Examples of present-day values

Here are some examples of present-day value of old Mexican banknotes, calculated using Bank of Mexico information (see links above):

  • a $1,000 peso note dating back to the late 1970s/early 1980s is worth one Mexican peso today;
  • a $100,000 peso note dating back to 1991 is exchangeable today for a current-day $100 peso note;
  • $1 and $5 peso notes dating back to pre-1975 are worth fractions of a Mexican cent and are now no more than museum pieces and collectors’ items.

Key points about dealing with old bank notes

Here are some practical matters in regard to dealing with old bank notes you might have in your possession.

Exchanging old notes at the banks

Stores and traders won’t accept old bank notes.  If you have old bank notes you want to exchange for present-day notes/coins, you need to take them to any of one Mexico’s retail banks, or to the the Bank of Mexico if the quantity/value exceeds the retail bank ‘exchange limit:’ the exchange limit at a retail bank is 500 individual notes or a present-day value of $3,000 pesos.  You don’t have to be a customer of the bank to request the exchange.

Old bank note collectors’ markets

A trade exists in collectors’ markets for historical bank notes, including old bank notes from Mexico.  Some older notes, and especially those which are in pristine condition, can command a premium over their present-day monetary value when sold to collectors.

If you have old Mexican bank notes and want to know if they may have some value in collectors’ markets, visit a site like eBay to browse old Mexican bank notes that will help you to assess their current value.

Learn about money and banknotes in Mexico

Mexperience offers you a wealth of information about Mexico’s money, banking services, and banknotes.

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