The beautiful Mexican peso coins are a window into the proud nation’s culture, history and identity.
A viral Facebook meme has gone so far as to claim that stacking some of the peso coins will form an image of the Aztec calendar or Sun Stone.
The claim is false. Although some of the coins do contain stylised elements of the Aztec Sun Stone, stacking them will not recreate it.
The claim is likely a misinterpretation of a 2019 educational Twitter thread by HSBC Mexico. The bank used composite images to demonstrate the coins’ connection to the important cultural emblem.
The meme’s text says: “If you stack the 1, 2, 5 and 10 Mexican peso coins, they form the Aztec calendar,” and features a composite image made to look like the Aztec Sun Stone using elements of the coins.
Randy Beck, from Mexican coin dealer Pochteca Coins, told AAP FactCheck the claim is “definitely not true”.
“I have those coins in front of me here and can say that they cannot be stacked in a way that would recreate the Aztec Sun Stone,” Mr Beck said in an email.
Professor Camilla Townsend, specialises in the history of indigenous peoples of Mexico and the Andean region at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told AAP FactCheck the claim is false.
“Each of the coins includes a stylised view of one of the ‘rings’ or elements of the Aztec sunstone, or another aspect of the Aztec calendar. But you can’t stack them together to have the total be visible as the sunstone,” Prof Townsend said in an email.
The stone is composed of a series of distinct rings and a central image of what scientists believe to be the Aztec sun god Tonatiuh. The Tonatiuh image appears at the centre of the 10 peso coin, and the surrounding ‘rings’ of the Sun Stone appear on the one, two and five peso coins.
Mr Beck noted in his email that for the claim to be true the 10 peso coin would have to be the smallest of those four coins. In reality, the 10 peso coin is the largest, with a diameter of 28mm, and would completely block the rest of the coins if they were stacked.
The image used in the meme was originally created by HSBC Mexico as part of its financial education program, according to this El Pais Verne article.
In a 2019 Twitter thread, the HSBC Mexico account used a series of images clearly edited to demonstrate if the rings of the one, two and five peso coins and the centre of the 10 peso coin were joined, they would form the Aztec Sun Stone.
The claim that the Aztec Sun Stone can be recreated by stacking the one, two, five and 10 Mexican peso coins is false. A historian of the Aztec peoples confirmed stacking the coins would not form an image of the Sun Stone, and a Mexican coin dealer said the 10 peso coin would have to be the smallest coin for the claim to be true, but it is the largest.
False – The claim is inaccurate.