The 2 centavos were all minted and issued by the Mexico City Mint on large (25mm) bronze planchets. Coins were issued intermittently from 1905 to 1941 and after 1941 Mint officials ceased issuing coinage of the denomination.
The denomination of 2 centavos was first introduced in 1882 but with a copper nickel composition and a small diameter of only 18mm. The coin at that time proved unpopular and was quickly cancelled. After failed attempts in the past one would wonder why the second attempt.
Without any official documentation we can speculate by piecing together some clues. Prior to the revolution, the Republic had switched centavo coinage over from large size planchets to the smaller 20mm planchet which would also be used after the revolution by the United Mexican States. The new small centavo coin was quickly adopted and heavily used.
The second clue is the revolution itself. The banking system and economy, with the switch in governments and war, was in chaos likely resulting in coinage issues and shortages. The quickest way to stabilize was for the United Mexican States to rapidly coin replacement currency. Without having access to mint records, one can only assume that to achieve this they must have inventoried all available blank planchets and assigned denominations to be minted for each composition and size.
The third clue was in the failure of the previous series. The coins small size and composition was not well liked and was one of the major contributors to its demise. Since most people were comfortable with the previous large size centavo coin, which was no longer in use at that time, it would make sense to issue the 2 centavos using the same size & composition as the previous large centavo to encourage acceptance and use.
The obverse design features the Mexican coat of arms, an eagle clutching a snake while it perches on a prickly pear cactus. On the outer periphery is the phrase “ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS” or as translated to english “United Mexican States”.
The reverse design features the denomination “2C” encircled within a wreath with the year of issue at the top and the mint mark for the Mexico City Mint “Mo” at the bottom of the design.
During 1915 a special set of coinage was minted for the revolutionary forces of Zapata. These issues featured the same design and composition as other 2 centavos except it was smaller in diameter (20mm) and lighter (3 grams).
Type 1 – Large Diameter 1905-1941
Type 2 – Zapata Issue 1915
General Market Notes
Excluding proofs and errors, the key to the series is the 1922 issue and the semi-keys are the 1905 and 1929 issues.