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Eisenhower in Acapulco: An American-Mexican Numismatic Memento

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

Author: Jeremy Bostwick / Wednesday, January 20, 2021 / Categories: World Coin of the Week

The post-World War II period saw an increase in American influence in global affairs, with President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the helm during his two terms in office. Having played a vital role in the allied victory in Europe the decade prior, Eisenhower provided a steady hand in this era when technology brought together a world that had so recently been severely fractured. Further advancements in aviation made visiting other world leaders faster, easier and more reliable; the call sign of "Air Force One" was first utilized at the beginning of Eisenhower's presidency in 1953. These factors, by the later years of Eisenhower's second term, resulted in what was billed as the "Flight to Peace" goodwill tour—an 11-nation, 19-day whirlwind of diplomacy that covered some 22,000 miles. In all, Eisenhower would make 16 international trips during his eight years as president. One such trip that likely carried a bit less fanfare was a visit with Adolfo López Mateos, the recently inaugurated president of Mexico, in February 1959.

Based in Acapulco, the meeting between the two presidents involved conversations about the cotton trade, the vast disparity in the standards of living between the two nations, the rapidly growing population of Mexico, and economic investments in Mexico by American businesses. Though various photos mark this conference, an item in our February Collectors Choice Online (CCO) auction celebrates the event in a numismatic context, and is quite likely unique in its manufacture. Utilizing the massive gold 50 Pesos as its host, this engraved memento commemorates the state visit of President Eisenhower with his Mexican counterpart. Though the reverse retains its normal eagle motif, the obverse has been completely shaved down, presenting a blank canvas to the engraver who skillfully etched the following in four lines:

ACAPULCO, GRO.

Dwight Eisenhower

A Mateos

II - 19 – 59

The top line, curving in a semi-circular arrangement around the upper border, indicates the location of the meeting—the Hotel Pierre Marques in Acapulco, Guerrero—while the bottom line, similarly curving around the lower border, relates the timing of the event. What is even more remarkable is the manner in which each president's signature is rendered, with the engraver mimicking the exact penmanship of the leaders in the two central lines reading horizontally. For additional use in wearing, a clasp was added at the top. Given the numerous collecting interests for an item like the present piece—collectors of the 50 Pesos series, aficionados of presidential memorabilia, and those who seek out engraved coin art—this memento from the final year of the 1950s should evoke a great deal of fanfare.

To view our upcoming auction schedule and future offerings, please visit StacksBowers.com where you may register and participate in this and other forthcoming sales.

We are always seeking coins, medals, and paper money for our future auctions, and are currently accepting submissions for our June Collector's Choice Online (CCO) auction as well as our Official Auction of the ANA World's Fair of Money in August. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact one of our consignment directors today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.