Paper Money of Chihuahua

.. by Simon Prendergast

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Movie money

Until 1958 the United States prohibited any full-scale photographic reproduction of its paper money. This included the use of American money in films because it was feared that a single frame of the negative could be enlarged onto a printing plate from which passable counterfeits could be made.

Film studios therefore had to use alternatives, especially the worthless but colourful leftovers from the Mexican revolution. The most common were the genuine $5, $10 and $20 Banco del Estado de Chihuahua, which were in such large supply that many of them continued to masquerade as American dollars well into the 1940s. As the hoards of obsolete notes became depleted, however, the film industry produced their own issues, often modifying the revolutionary currency.

These included the following based on Chihuahua notes.

Notes based on the $5 Banco del Estado de Chihuahua

DenomSeriesNumberfront back
$1 M 80397
$5 A 103774 black on white
black on white
103777 black on white
black on white
103779 black on white
black on white
242093 black on white
black on white
$50 A 110581 black red
M 80397

Notes based on the $10 Banco del Estado de Chihuahua

DenomSeriesNumberfront back
$1 A 147886 black
green
black and orange
green
$10 A 147886 black on grey paper, very crude printing, note has been cut down so a large portion of the design is missing
$100 A 004187 black on white with green serial number, small size (155mm x 68mm) green with same design
black red
green red
brown red
Villa on horseback:  brown blue
$1000 A 182825 black red
purple red/orange
blue red
green crimson

Notes based on the $20 Banco del Estado de Chihuahua

DenomSeriesNumberfront back
$20 A 056117 black and orange orange
$20 A 005045 red green

Notes based on the $1 dos caritas

DenomSeriesNumberfront back
$1 L 6908963 UN PESO, black on white green
6908959 ONE DOLLAR black on white
green

Notes based on the $10 dos caritas

DenomSeriesNumberfront back
$10 N 1881253 10 TEN DOLLARS, black on white
green
$50 N 1327924 FIFTY DOLLARS, black on white
green
FIFTY DOLLARS, black and green, small size (155mm x 68mm) dark green
FIFTY DOLLARS, black and green, small size (150mm x 70mm) light green
1201597 FIFTY, black and grey
black and grey

Notes based on the $20 dos caritas

DenomSeriesNumberfront back
$20 K 4476884 black on white green

Many of these notes came on to the market when the stock of Ellis Props & Graphics, the largest prop supply house in Hollywood, was auctioned.