Diez Centésimos and Un Decimo Panama Coin Catalog (PC10)

Catálogo de Monedas de Diez Centésimos y Un Decimo de Panamá


Below is a catalog or list of all known Diez Centésimos and Un Decimo coins issued by Panama.

History of the Denomination

Once Panamá won independence from Colombia, it needed to create a new coinage system that would fit the needs of the people of Panamá and the be acceptable to the United States which was about to start construction on the Panama Canal (and intended to pay the majority of the canal workers in Panamanian money). The system Panama developed was a hybird between the Colombian pesos that people were used to and the United States dollar. Several background factors are important to remember:

  • Colombia had had several periods of bad inflation, primarily affecting their paper money.
  • Silver was relatively cheap, such that a United States silver dollar had less than 50 cents worth of silver in it.
  • The exchange rate of Columbian pesos to American dollars was about 2.30 pesos to 1.00 dollars.

To help facilitate the construction of the Panama Canal, the government of Panamá established parity or a ratio of one-to-one between Panamanian and American currency. Panamá went on the gold standard (although no gold coins were issued for the next 70 years) with one gold Balboa equivalent to one gold American dollar. American money was made legal tender in Panamá. American servicemen, Navy crews and American workers could now spend their money and potentially, in the future, use Navy loans while in Panamá, contributing to the local economy.

Looking back on the inflation of bills issued by Colombia, Panamá selected to issue only coins and rely on American bills. With silver being so cheap and desiring to impress the world with a stable currency, Panamá choose to put twice as much silver in its coins as the United States had at that time. Thus Panamá's first coins were similar in size to the next highest denomination of American coins. The Panama five centésimos coin was about the size of an American dime, the Panama ten centésimos coin was about the size of an American quarter, the Panama twenty-five centésimos coin was about the size of an American half-dollar and the Panamá fifty centésimos coin was about the size of an American silver dollar.

This double-size coinage made the replacement of the Columbian coins easier. The exchange rate of 2.30 pesos to one Balboa was not too far from 2 to 1. So the new crown-size fifty centésimos coin was worth just a little more than the Colombian peso. In fact, the fifty centésimos coin is called a peso to this very day. The new half-crown-size twenty-five centésimos was worth just a little more than the Colombian half peso, and so on down the line. Interestingly those who could not read the denominations on the Panamanian coins, such as illiterate Panamanians and Americans who could not read Spanish, thought there was a 2 to 1 exchange rate between Panamanian and American money. Some of the early Canal histories include this error.

So initially the diez centésimos coin was about the size of an American quarter. This variety was only issued with the date of 1904.

Around 1917 there was a steep rise in the value of silver due to World War I. It had no effect on American money, but the precious metal content of the double-size Panamanian money quickly surpassed the face value of the coins. Lots of Panamanian coins were shipped out of the country to be melted down for their silver content, including the diez centésimos. The Panamanian government acted by doing away with the double-size coinage and selecting parity of size with American coins. When this denomination was issued again in 1930 and subsequent years, it was the size and weight of an American dime, and called "Un Decimo de Balboa" which means one tenth of a Balboa, or one dime. This denomination has been issued up to the present day, and like the American dime is one of the coins most used in circulation.

Pricing

Pricing is based on several factors, which ultimately are supply and demand. How many specimens are available and how many collectors want them. For the medio centésimo prices, I have obversed and tracked recent sales. These catalog values are based on retail values (not wholesale).

Numbering System

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 medio (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 Panama Coin catalog numbers I have defined on this website 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 at least once in your auction or publication. I reserve the right to assign all new numbers. Please contact me via when a new number is needed.


Click on the image or catalog number below to go to the full listing for that piece.

Diez Centésimos and Un Decimo Panama Coin Catalog

Image#Description
PC-10.1 Diez Centésimos of 1904
DateQuantity Very GoodFineVery FineExtra FineAUUncProof
1904 1,125,000 $ 2.50 $ 5.00 $ 10.00 $ 20.00 $ 40.00 $80.00 $1200.00
Image#Description
PC-10.2 Vn Decimo of 1930-1947
DateQuantity Very GoodFineVery FineExtra FineAUUncProof
1930 500,000 $ 1.50 $ 2.00 $ 4.00 $ 8.00 $12.50 $35.00 $1000.00
1931 200,000 $ 2.00 $ 3.00 $ 6.00 $15.00 $30.00 $75.00 n/a
1932 150,000 $ 2.00 $ 3.50 $ 7.00 $16.00 $35.00 $90.00 n/a
1933 100,000 $ 3.50 $ 7.00 $12.00 $25.00 $50.00 $150.00 n/a
1934 75,000 $ 4.00 $ 7.50 $15.00 $35.00 $70.00 $180.00 n/a
1947 1,000,000 $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.50 $ 3.00 $ 6.00 $18.00 n/a
Image#Description
PC-10.3 Vn Decimo of 1953
DateQuantity Very GoodFineVery FineExtra FineAUUncProof
1953 3,350,000 $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.50 $ 2.00 $ 3.00 $ 5.00 n/a
Image#Description
PC-10.4 Un Decimo of 1961
DateQuantity Very GoodFineVery FineExtra FineAUUncProof
1961 2,500,000 $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.50 $ 2.00 $ 3.00 n/a
Image#Description
PC-10.5 Vn Decimo of 1962
DateQuantity Very GoodFineVery FineExtra FineAUUncProof
1962 5,000,000 $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.00 (BV) $ 1.50 $ 2.00 $ 3.00 $500.00
Image#Description
PC-10.6 Vn Decimo of 1966 Type 1
DateQuantity Very GoodFineVery FineExtra FineAUUncProof
1966 Type 1 6,955,000 $ 0.10 $ 0.10 $ 0.20 $ 0.35 $ 0.50 $ 1.00 n/a
Image#Description
PC-10.7 Vn Decimo of 1966-1993
DateQuantity FineVery FineExtra FineUncProof
1966 Type 2 1,000,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1967 7,000,000 n/a n/a n/a n/a $ TDB
1968 5,000,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1969 7,000,000 n/a n/a n/a n/a $ TDB
1970 7,500,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1971 7,000,000 n/a n/a n/a n/a $ TDB
1972 7,000,000 n/a n/a n/a n/a $ TDB
1973 10,000,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1974 7,000,000 n/a n/a n/a n/a $ TDB
1975 500,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1980 5,000,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1982 7,740,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1983 7,750,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1986 1,000,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1993 --- $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
Image#Description
PC-10.8 Diez Centésimos of 1975-1982
DateQuantity FineVery FineExtra FineUncProof
1975 (RCM) 50,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1975 FM 13,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1976 (RCM) 20,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1976 FM 6,250 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1977 FM 6,250 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1979 FM 10,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1980 FM 40,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
1982 FM 2,500 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB
Image#Description
PC-10.9 Diez Centésimos of 1978
DateQuantity FineVery FineExtra FineUncProof
1978 FM 20,000 $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB $ TDB