The Philippines were transferred from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1898), which closed the Spanish-American War.
The Tydings-McDuffie Independence Act of 1934 granted the Philippines Commonwealth status. The Act provided for complete independence of the islands in 1945 after 10 years of self-government under U.S. supervision.
The obverse was designed by Melecio Figueroa and features an adolescent male native seated at an anvil and holding a hammer in his right hand. In the background is the Mayon volcano, with billowing smoke coming from the crater, located on the main island of Luzon. On the upper periphery of the coin is the denomination “FIVE CENTAVOS” and on the lower periphery is the word “FILIPINAS”.
The reverse design features an eagle perched atop a shield with a banner below it which is inscribed “COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES.” On the outer periphery are the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and the year of issue. To the left of the year is the mint mark “S” for San Francisco or “M” for Manila.
There are two major varieties for the series:
1937-1941 – weight was 4.8 grams
1944-1945 – weight was 4.92 grams
General Market Notes
There are no rarities in the series and all issues are readily available. For a potential sleeper coin look for a 1937-M issue, it has the lowest mintage for the series and is a first year issue.