Obverse Design

The legend along the top says "VN DECIMO DE BALBOA" with little diamond-shaped separators between the words. The "V" is actually a Roman letter "U". This is the denomination and means "ONE TENTH OF A BALBOA". The word "DECIMO" is derived from the same root as "decimal" or "dime". The center of the coin has the bust of Vasco Nunez de Balboa wearing a morion helmet and corselet armor (typical equipment for a Spanish foot soldier of the time of Balboa). On one side of the bust are a laurel leaf wreath design and on the other an oak leaf wreath design. The coin has a smooth plain raised rim with no dentures or beads.

Reverse Design

The central design is the coat of arms of Panama. Panama's coat of arms is divided into two cantons at the top, two cantons at the bottom and a double wide canton in the center. The upper left canton is a crossed rifle and sword. It originally meant "Good bye forever to civil wars, cause of our ruin". In 1914 the meaning was changed to "Attitude of alertness in defense of our sovereignty." The upper right is a crossed hoe and shovel refering to the labor required to build the republic. The lower left is a cornucopia horn of plenty symbolizing richness and agriculture. The lower right has a wheel with wings symbolizing the speed of progress. The center canton shows land (the isthmus of Panama) between two oceans (the Atlantic and Pacific) with a sea level canal between the oceans. The sun is setting on the mountains in the west and the moon is rising over the waves in the east. This represents the solemn hour of Panama's declaration of independence from Columbia in 1903. An eagle with spread wings, wingtips going up, is standing on the shield which has the coat of arms. It holds a banner in its mouth which is draped along the upper edge of the shield. The banner has the latin motto "PRO MUNDI BENEFICIO" meaning "FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WORLD" and referring to the Panama Canal. Above the eagle are nine stars representing the nine provinces of Panamá. On either side of the center shield are two draped flags, which end in four flag tips under the shield.

The legend along the top says "REPVBLICA DE PANAMA" which means "REPUBLIC OF PANAMA". On the left in two lines is the legend "LEY 0.900" which refers to the fact that the coin is 900/1000 fineness by law. On the right in two lines is the legend "GR. 2.50" which refers to the weight of the coin which is 2.50 grams. The bottom of the coin has the date in the center with a wreath design on either side. The coin has a smooth plain raised rim with no dentures or beads.

Edge Design The coin edge is reeded.
Metal An inner copper core is sandwiched between two outer layers of copper-nickel alloy (75% copper, 25% nickel). The combined composition is 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel. Weight 2.26 grams. Size and Shape Round, 18 mm in diameter.
Dates Issued and Mintage
Date Issued Regular Mintage Proof Mintage
1966 6,955,000 12,701.
Mint Royal Mint in London, United Kingdom. Other Catalog Numbers Asociación Numismático's M-24a, Grigore's #56, Stickney's P-19.

The decimos of 1930 through 1996 use the same design on both sides, and generally speaking are therefore all very similar to one another. The different varieties were generated by different mints and sculpturs concept of the basic design.

The Vn Decimo of 1966 Type 1 was minted at the Royal Mint in London. It is exactly the same design as the Vn Decimo of 1962 except for its metal composition and date, with the square diamonds and more pronounced details. As well as this variety minted in London, Vn Decimo coins for 1966 were also minted in San Francisco. San Francisco used the original Noble design from 1930-1947 with the elongated diamonds and less pronounced details. This resulted in two varieties being produced in the same year.

Availability The Vn Decimo of 1966 Type 1 is fairly common and available.