Obverse Design

The legend along the top says "UN DECIMO DE BALBOA" and has a five-point star on either side. 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). Under the bust of Balboa are a laurel leaf wreath and an oak leaf wreath connected in the center. 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 "REPUBLICA 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 Silver alloy (90% silver, 10% copper). Weight 2.50 grams. Size and Shape Round, 18 mm in diameter.
Dates Issued and Mintage
Date Issued Regular Mintage Proof Mintage
1961 2,500,000 None.
Mint Casa de Moneda in México City, México. Other Catalog Numbers Asociación Numismático's M-26, Contre Porras page 73, Grigore's #45, Stickney's P-18.

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 Un Decimo of 1961 was minted at the Casa de Moneda in México City, México like its predecessor in 1953. The design is very similar with most of the same differences to the Noble design of 1930-1947. The only significant change is that the "CINCUENTENARIO" (50th Anniversary) legend was replaced by oak and laurel leaf wreaths.

Availability The Un Decimo of 1961 is fairly common and available. However, the great silver meltdown of the 1960's and after took did take a toll on this coin. A lot of the circulated coins were melted down and those retained are frequently in AU or UNC condition.