The obverse design features a Star with Rays, the single prominent star is representative of Cuba's independence. On the outer periphery are the words “PATRIA Y LIBETRAD” or Homeland and Liberty. Also on the outer periphery (separated by dots) are the year of issue, coin weight (5G), and the silver fineness (.900).
The reverse design features Cuba's National Coat of Arms. The coat of arms consists of a shield divided into three sections. The lower left section of stripes represents the different states during colonial times. The palm tree in the lower right section displays Cuba's national tree. The upper section is a depiction of two rock masses separated by water with a key in between to represent that Cuba is the “Key” point of access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Americas. Behind the shield are a bundle of rods with a Phrygian Cap or liberty cap. The bottom of the bound rods are flanked by a laurel branch at its left representing strength, and an oak branch at its right representing victory.
All varieties for the series were for 1915 issues and consisted of 2 different die changes.
The first of the die changes was in the relief of the obverse design where coins were initially issued in a high relief and changed part way through 1915 to a low relief.
The second of the die changes featured the often overlooked coin edge. Initially the coin edge, which is reeded, had reeding that was spaced further apart giving it the nickname “coarse reeding”. Later in 1915 the reeding was modified to a more standard spacing of the reeding giving it the nickname of “fine reeding”.
Since the die changes to both the relief and edge reeding occurred at different times it allowed for a combination of four different varieties:
- High Relief with Coarse Reeding
- High Relief with Fine Reeding
- Low Relief with Coarse Reeding
- Low Relief with Fine Reeding
General Market Notes
Excluding proofs and errors, the key coin for the series is the 1932 issue with a mintage of only 184,000 and the semi-key is the 1915 high relief with coarse reeding variety.