Obverse. Image Courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS.com)
  • 500 Pesos 1990, KM# 457, Cuba, Latin American Figures, Christopher Columbus
  • 500 Pesos 1990, KM# 457, Cuba, Latin American Figures, Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was an Italian explorer and navigator who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for the widespread European exploration and colonization of the Americas. His expeditions, sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, were the first European contact with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

Western imperialism and economic competition were emerging among European kingdoms through the establishment of trade routes and colonies. Columbus proposed to reach the East Indies by sailing westward, and this eventually received the support of the Spanish Crown, which saw a chance to enter the spice trade with Asia through a new westward route. During his first voyage in 1492, he reached the New World instead of arriving at Japan as he had intended, landing on an island in the Bahamas archipelago that he named "San Salvador". Over the course of three more voyages, he visited the Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Caribbean coast of Venezuela and Central America, claiming all of it for the Crown of Castile.

Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas, having been preceded by the Viking expedition led by Leif Erikson in the 11th century, but his voyages led to the first lasting European contact with the Americas, inaugurating a period of European exploration, conquest, and colonization that lasted several centuries.


Cuban coat of arms within a laurel wreath. Country name above, weight and finess on sides, face value below.

The Cuban coat of arms consists of a shield, in front of a Fasces crowned by the Phrygian Cap, all supported by an oak branch on one side and a laurel wreath on the other. The coat of arms was created by Miguel Teurbe Tolón and was adopted on April 24, 1906.

The shield is divided into three parts: In the chief, a key charging a sea between two rocks, symbolizing Cuba’s geographical position between Florida and the Yucatán Peninsula. A bright rising sun in the background symbolizes the rising of the new republic. A key is a symbol of Cuba as Cuba is the key to the Americas. On the left are the stripes of the flag of Cuba but turned so as they are bendwise. On the right is a common Cuban landscape, Royal Palm tree, a symbol of Cuba with mountains in the background.

Engraver: Charles E. Barber

5 OZ 500 PESOS AU 0.999


Depicts a bust of Christopher Columbus 3/4 left, within a circle of nautical symbols. Curved legends: on top event name "5th Centenary", on bottom figure name "Cristopher Columbus", date below the bust to right, surrounded by the nautical rope.

"C C" are the Initials of Cristopher Columbus. The key on top of the date is a mintmark of the Havana Mint.

Engraver: Belisario Alvarez Collado




500 Pesos

KM# 457
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Gold
Fineness 0.999
Weight 155.5 g
Diameter 60 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Havana Mint

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