Paper Money of Chihuahua

.. by Simon Prendergast

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Home The History El Banco Mexicano

El Banco Mexicano

$10 Banco Mejicano

Luis Terrazas began to extend his interests into banking in 1878. On 8 March the Chihuahuan government, then headed by Angel Trias, gave Terrazas, Félix Francisco Maceyra and Antonio Asúnsolo permission to establish a bank of issue under the presumptuous name El Banco Mexicano.

The bank could issue up to 300,000 pesos in twenty-five centavos, fifty centavos and one peso notes, payable in legal tender or in hard cash at an 8% discount (en moneda corriente ó en pesos fuertes al 8 por ciento de cambio). The bank was given eight months to establish itself or the concession would lapsePeriódico Oficial, 10 March 1878. The bank also had to satisfy the government that its issue was backed by mortgages on property, though this proviso was probably more a sign of growing refinement in drafting legislation than that this was the first concession granted to native Mexicans.  Later legislation, on 31 July 1882, inter alia, enabled the state government to appoint interventors for the bankPeriódico Oficial, 12 August 1882.

Terrazas had yet to establish his pre-eminence in Chihuahua and Maceyra and Asúnsolo, his partners in this venture, were wealthy landowners in their own right. All three had been assessed at $2,000 in Trias’ forced loan of 1876Boletín Militar, 1 July 1876 and the last two were associates in the business firm of Asúnsolo y MaceyraLa República, 28 August 1868. In 1879 the principal shareholders were Félix Francisco Maceyra, Luis Terrazas, Luis Faudoa, Miguel Salas and Ramón Luján. By 1881 the bank was advertising that it bought ‘cattle hides, copper, lead, cotton, sugarcane’ and made advances on these itemsBoletín Militar, 1 January 1881 indicating that in the beginning these banks were not just concerned with financial transactions but also acted as brokers and commodity dealers.

The bank was also connected with the Chihuahua mint. In 1879 a group of businessmen who were the main shareholders of the Banco Mexicano, through their solicitor Gustavo Sommer, sought for the decree banning the lease of mints to be revoked. As soon as the government gave its assent  the shareholders negotiated a lease for five years of the mint in Chihuahua. The lease was dated 30 December 1879 and obtained Presidential approval on 5 January 1880. The contract was extended on 12 July 1883 for six years and again on 4 February 1888. It was rescinded on 21 February 1895AP papers, Box 3:1 “Historia Numismática de Chihuahua”.

National Bank Note Company notes

The bank's earliest notes (with the legend ‘Banco Mejicano’) were dated 1878. They were ordered by Ramón Luján and printed by the National Bank Note CompanySome people saw the formation of the American Bank Note Company in 1858 as a threat, because a firm formed by the merger of seven companies suggested monopoly. Four principal employees of Danforth, Perkins and Company, one of the seven companies, resigned over the terms of the merger. These four, two employees from its earlier firm (Danforth, Wright and Company), and three bankers organised the National Bank Note Company in 1859.The company faced fierce competition from the American Bank Note Company and finally capitulated to a consolidation with Continental Bank Note Company and American Bank Note Company in 1879 in September 1878.

The print run was:

fromto
25c 0001 200000
50c 0001 150000
$1c 0001 175000

These early 25c has small serial numbers. Most of the 50c have a brown seal as part of the background but this was changed between [133734?] and 133810 to an orange sealIt is highly probable that the preceived colour change is just the result of aging of the ink. The $1 note was printed in sheets of twelve notes with the range of series letters A-L thus:

A B
C D
E F
G H
I J
K L

and the notes were numbered sequentially in columns before the sheets were cut, thus Series A was 1, 13, 25, 37…, Series C 2, 14, 26, 38…, Series B 7, 19, 31, 43… and so onIn total, one 25c face plate, one 25c back plate and one 25c tint plate (with 21 notes on each); one 50c face plate, one 50c back plate and one 50c tint plate (with 21 notes on each); and one $1 face plate, one $1 back plate and one $1c tint plate (with 12 notes on each, were made on an order (Nat. #7711) on 10 September 1878. These were cancelled on 14 March 1932 (ABNC)..

Signatories

The signatories are Félix Francisco Maceyra as President and Ramón Luján as Accountant (Contador).

Félix Francisco Maceyra: Maceyra was born in Chihuahua City in 1832 but after studying in Paris he set up in business in the mining town of Jesús María (now Ocampo). He became ‘one of the leading capitalists in the state, enjoying unlimited credit in Mexico and the United States’Francisco Almada, Gobernadores de Chihuahua, Chihuahua, 1980. In 1880 he was one of the founding shareholders of the bank and as manager in May 1881 inaugurated the first telephone line in the city between the bank and the mint (Casa de Moneda). He was substitute governor in 1885 and afterwards represented Chihuahua in the Senate for three terms. He died in 1897.

Ramón Remigio Luján: He appears as contador on the Banco Mejicano notes and later as cashier (cajero) of the Banco Mexicano from September 1888 until December 1890 and again between May 1893 and December 1895. Born in 1833, Luján was the owner of the Corralitos mines, a state deputy, and jefe político of Galeana. He died in 1899.

Offices

El Banco Mexicano

The bank's offices were originally the premises used by Félix Francisco Maceyra at [      ]  and in 1881 were at the corner of Independencia and Victoria.