Coins of Panama

Monedas de Panamá


Below is a list of catalogs based on denomination, for some of the coins issued by Panama. More are in the process of being added.

Summary

The Republic of Panama gained its independence in November of 1903. The first official coins of the new republic were issued with the date of 1904, although the coins were not placed in circulation until 1905. Panama chose to honor Vasco Nuńez de Balboa, the Spanish conquistador who was the first European to discover the Pacific Ocean, by naming their money after him. One Balboa is equal to 100 centésimos. Panama's circulation dimes, quarters and halves have consistently featured a portrait of Balboa. The circulation pennies have consistently featured the Indian chief Urraca, admired for his resistance against the Spaniards during the conquest of Panama. The exchange rate to American dollars is one to one. With one interesting but minor exception, Panama has not issued any paper money and uses American dollar bills. American coins also circulate freely side by side with their Panamanian counterparts. Since 1929, Panamanian circulation coins have been designed to match the size, shape and metal content of American coins.

Numbering System

Although Panama's coins can be divided several different ways, I have organized them in this catalog by denomination. Even when a denomination is written different I have grouped them together (for example, 25 centésimos coins are grouped with 1/4 Balboa coins). All the Panama Coins have been designated with the letters "PC", and grouped by denomination and then by type or variety. Numbers start at PC-005.1 for the half centésimo coin, progress through PC-01.n for the one centésimo coin through PC-100.n for the one Balboa coins. Larger denominations incorporate a lowercase b for Balboa. The number with the "b" start at PC-5b.n for the 5 Balboa coins and progress through PC-500b.n for the 500 Balboa coins, with one exception. PC-20b.n is used for the silver 20 Balboa coins and PC-21b.n is used for the gold 20 Balboa coins. Permission is hereby granted to anyone to use the numbers below in referring to these coins, in print or electronic media. I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge my contribution by calling them Plowman's numbers at least once, or referencing www.coins-of-panama.com. I reserve the right to assign all new numbers. Please contact me via when a new number is needed.

Determining Obverse versus Reverse

A major catalog of world coins uses rules of thumb such as the location of the name of the country to determine the obverse and reverse of coins from around the world. They cover so many countries and coins, that it would be time consuming for them to consult country experts to determine the correct placement. In the case of Panama, their rules of thumb fail to determine the sides correctly most of the time. In this catalog I will use the correct orientations. How do I know the correct orientations? I lived in Panama, and know what the people of Panama consider to be the obverse and reverse sides of their coins. One easy method for collectors is to look at the proof and uncirculated sets. The obverse side is the side which is face up when you open the case. In general, the side with a portrait of Balboa, Urraca or another person is the obverse, and the coat of arms is the reverse.


Click on the coin image or denomination name below to go to the catalog page for that denomination.

Coin ImageCatalog Name
Picture of a Medio Centésimo Coin Medio Centésimo Catalog. Medio Centésimo de Balboa (half cent, half centésimo) coins were only issued in 1907. The design featured the plumed hat portrait of Balboa on the obverse and the denomination on the reverse. At 16mm in diameter, this is Panama's second smallest coin type.
Un Centésimo Catalog. Un Centésimo (one cent, one centésimo, one penny, un centavo) coins were first issued in 1935, and continue through the present. The design consistently features a portrait of the Indian chief Urraca.
Picture of a Uno y Cuarto Centésimos Coin Uno y Cuarto Centésimos Catalog. Uno y Cuarto Centésimos (1¼ cents, quartillo, 1¼ centésimos) coins were only issued in 1940. This unusual denomination was issued near the end of the worldwide 1930's Great Depression and was intended for the very poor. The design featured a portrait of Balboa on the obverse and the denomination on the reverse.
Dos y Medio Centésimos Catalog. Dos y Medio Centésimos de Balboa (2½ cents, 2½ centésimos, Panama "Pill") coins were issued from 1904 through 1984. The first type of this denomination was the famous Panama "pill", so-called because of the size and shape. This is the smallest coin Panama has issued, and the denomination that has been issued in the most different formats.
Picture of a Cinco centésimos Coin Cinco Centésimos Catalog. Cinco Centésimos de Balboa (5 cents, 5 centésimos, un real, nickel) coins have been issued since 1905 (dated 1904).
Picture of a Un Decimo de Balboa Coin Diez Centésimos Catalog. Diez Centésimos de Balboa (Un Decimo de Balboa, 10 cents, 10 centésimos, dime) coins have been issued since 1905 (dated 1904). The design has consistently featured a portrait of Balboa on the obverse and the national coat of arms on the reverse.
Vienticinco Centésimos Catalog. Vienticinco Centésimos de Balboa (Un Cuarto de Balboa, 25 cents, 25 centésimos, quarter) coins have been issued since 1905 (dated 1904). The design has consistently featured a portrait of Balboa on the obverse and the national coat of arms on the reverse.
Cincuenta Centésimos Catalog. Cincuenta Centésimos de Balboa (Medio Balboa, 50 cents, 50 centésimos, peso, half-dollar) coins have been issued since 1905 (dated 1904). The design has consistently featured a portrait of Balboa on the obverse and the national coat of arms on the reverse.
Un Balboa Catalog. Un Balboa (100 cents, 100 centésimos, dollar) coins have been issued since 1931. The design has varied over time and includes commemorative designs which were used in circulation.
5 Balboas Catalog. 5 Balboas (5 dollars) coins have been issued on occasion since 1970. All of them were intended to be non-circulation issues made for collectors, but at least one variety ended up seeing circulation.
10 Balboas Catalog. 10 Balboas (10 dollars) coins have been issued on occasion since 1978. All of them were intended to be non-circulation issues made for collectors, but at least one variety ended up seeing circulation.
20 Balboas Silver Catalog. 20 Balboas (20 dollars) coins were issued in silver between 1971 and 1985. All of them were intended to be non-circulation issues made for collectors. When first issued, they were the largest coins in the world, which was the intent of the promoters involved.
20 Balboas Gold Catalog. Viente Balboas (20 Balboas, 20 dollars) coins were issued in gold between 1980 and 1985. All of them were intended to be non-circulation issues made for collectors, and very few were made. The obverse design was changed each year. Featured designs were a butterfly, two different birds, fish and a puma.
50 Balboas Catalog. 50 Balboas (50 dollars) coins were issued in gold between 1980 and 1985. All of them were intended to be non-circulation issues made for collectors. A different Christmas design was used each year.
75 Balboas Catalog. 75 Balboas (75 dollars) coins were issued in gold only in 1978. This unusual denomination was issued in honor of the 75th anniversary of Panama's independence from Colombia. This coin was a non-circulation issue made for collectors.
100 Balboas Catalog. 100 Balboas (100 dollars) coins were issued in gold starting in 1975. All of them have been intended to be non-circulation issues made for collectors.
150 Balboas Catalog. 150 Balboas (150 dollars) coins were issued in 1976 and 1980 in platinum and gold respectively. This unusual denomination was issued in honor of two different 150th anniversaries. Both varieties were intended to be non-circulation issues made for collectors.
200 Balboas Catalog. 200 Balboas (200 dollars) coins were issued in 1979 and 1980 in platinum. Both varieties were intended to be non-circulation issues made for collectors.
500 Balboas Catalog. 500 Balboas (500 dollars) coins were issued from 1975 to 1985 in gold. All of them have been intended to be non-circulation issues made for collectors.