Paper Money of Chihuahua

.. by Simon Prendergast

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home The History The Ejército Constitucionalista notes

The Ejército Constitucionalista notes

As soon as Carranza had taken the step of disowning Huerta, he realised that financing his revolution would be a problem. He could not merely requisition food, clothing and other military supplies as this action would have created social chaos and cash was needed to buy arms and ammunition from foreign sources. Carranza realised that he had to organise a fiscal system that would establish a means of payment acceptable to the people of Mexico and to obtain the gold for foreign expenditures. The banks would not help him, but anyway he was opposed to obtaining foreign loans or loans from individuals or banks because he felt this would put the revolution at the mercy of the lenders.

Officially, financing his revolution depended upon a combination of paper money, which created a public debt that did not directly affect a given group of Mexicans or foreigners, and export taxes used to obtain hard currency to spend on munitions. His decree issued at Piedras Negras, Coahuila on 26 April 1913 ‘considering it the duty of all Mexicans to contribute proportionally towards the expenses of the army until the re-establishment of constitutional order, and considering finally that the best way to achieve these ends, without causing direct and material injury to the people of the country, lies in the creation of paper money’ specified the creation of an internal debt of $5,000,000. All the inhabitants of the Republic were obliged to receive these notes as legal tender, and at their face value, in all civil and commercial transactions. As soon as order was re-established, laws would be promulgated on the redemption of the notes that had been issued. On 28 December while at Hermosillo, Sonora Carranza decreed (decreto núm. 14) a second issue of fifteen million pesos (in notes of $1, $5, $10 and $20). This decree also prohibited the use of scrip (fichas, tarjetas ó vales) as currency, with punishment for anyone who issued or used them. Finally, on 12 February 1914, while he was at Culiacán, Sinaloa, Carranza added a further issue of ten million pesos (decreto núm. 18), bringing the total at this time to thirty million pesos. By the end of March 1914 Carranza and his government had moved from Sonora to Ciudad Juárez.

In his informe to Congress in 1917 Carranza said that the first five million pesos were the Monclova issue whilst the remaining twenty-five million pesos were the Ejército ConstitucionalistaInforme of Carranza, 15 April 1915. However, the Monclova issue was at least thirty million pesos, as there were at least two issues and the second order, for twenty-five million pesos, was made before the 12 February decreeCONDUMEX, Fondo XXI, carpeta 6, legajo 767. Unless there was only the original issue of five million pesos, the second order was not fulfilled, and all other 'Monclova' notes are counterfeit. See Print runs of the Monclova issue. Serial numbers (see below) suggest that the genuine Ejército Constitucionalista totalled 48.5 million pesos, thus:

Number Serial number Total value
$1 1,200,000 1 1200000 1,200,000
13,800,000 1200001 15000000 13,800,000
1500001 10000000 8,500,000
$5 2,000,000 1 2000000 10,000,000
2,000,000 20001 2020000 10,000,000
$10 300,000 00001 300000 3,000,000
$20 100,000 0001 100000 2,000,000
34,400,000 $48,500,000

The Dallas Morning NewsDallas Morning News, 4 July 1914 reported that in April 1914 Villarreal signed a contract with Norris Peters for 17,400,000 notes while in a telegram to the State Department Rafael Zubarán Campany stated that in the early part of May Villarreal contracted for $30,000,000SD papers, 812.5157/56 telegram Zubarán, Saltillo to Secretary of State, 4 July 1914. Putting these two pieces of information together it is obvious that the (first) contract was for:

Number Serial number Total value
$1 15,000,000 1 15000000 15,000,000
$5 2,000,000 1 2000000 10,000,000
$10 300,000 1 300000 3,000,000
$20 100,000 1 100000 2,000,000
17,400,000 $30,000,000

So Carranza was either mistaken or deliberately untruthful.

The Ejército Constitucionalista notes are a vast improvement on the original Monclova issue that had all the hallmarks of an emergency. The notes have a firm appearance, a patriotic motif and now it is the Constitutionalist Army, not the Government, that has given its imprimatur to the issue, perhaps suggesting a firmer backing but at the very least making one more hesitant to refuse them. Since the central design of the Mexican eagle with mountains in the background was reused on the later Gobierno Provisional notes, this earlier issue was referred to as ‘Aguilas Viejas’.

On 25 February 1914 Carranza commented to Felicitos Villarreal that the notes needed to refer only to the decree of 12 February 1914 (as that decree itself referred to the earlier enabling decrees of 26 April and 28 December 1913)CONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, telegram Carranza, Santa Ana to Villarreal, Washington, 25 February 1914.  On 1 March 1914 Villarreal reported from Washington that he has seen proofs that he felt satisfied Carranza’s conditions and would discourage counterfeitingCONDUMEX, Fondo MXV, telegram Villarreal, Washington to Carranza, Nogales, 1 March 1914 and the following day Carranza instructed him to start the workCONDUMEX, Fondo MXV, telegram Carranza, Nogales to Villarreal, Washington, 2 March 1914. Thus the original notes were printed by Norris Peters in Washington: in April 1914 Villarreal entered into an agreement with them to print 17,400,000 notesDallas Morning News, 4 July 1914.

The notes are signed by Serapio Aguirre as Treasurer General (Tesorero General de la Federación) and Felicitos Villarreal as Head of the Finance Department (Jefe de Departamento de Hacienda).

Serapio Aguirre: Born in Saltillo, at the beginning of the 1910s he was Interventor (government-appointed auditor) of the Banco de Coahuila, and his signature appears on $20 notes dated 7 June 1910 and $10 notes dated 5 May 1912. He was the Maderista Presidente Municipal of Saltillo and then an early adherent to the Constitutionalist cause. He was appointed Tesorero General on 25 June 1913 when Carranza was in Sonora but removed from office in July 1914.

Felicitos F. Villarreal: Villarreal was administrador de la Metalúrgica and president of the Club Democrático Reyista in Torreón in 1909. He was Carranza’s agent in the United States, then took over as Subsecretario de Hacienda y Crédito Público, Encargado del Despacho on 16 August 1914 for a few days before renouncing on 18 September. When Villa disowned Carranza, Villarreal threw in his lot with Villa.

As a security measure the notes have the monograph ‘FFV’ (for Felicitos F. Villarreal) as part of the design. On the $1 the monogram appears in red on both ends of the line ‘con el decreto de 12 de Febrero de 1914’; on the $5 it is in green in the lower corners of the central rectangle; on the $10 there is a red monogram on the left before the word ‘PESOS’ and another on the right after Villarreal’s signature, and the $20 have a orange monogram on the left before the word ‘PESOS’ and another on the right after Villarreal’s signature.

To validate the notes Alberto Pani crossed the border to El Paso, Texas and bought three electric Multigraph machinesThe Multigraph, made by the American Multigraph Company, was a  combined rotary type-setting and printing machine for office use. It was a small machine with a revolving drum operated by a handle. Around a cylindrical drum printing was effected by short type with a special shaped body which slid into slots on the drum or from curved plates. The impression was made by printing ink or, for better facsimile of typewriting, through a ribbon. It was designed by typewriter salesman H. C. Gammeter in 1902, and parts were still being sold in 1965. The Villistas later bought their own maquina selladora from the American Multigraph Co. for $675 on 24 October 1914 (LG papers, 4-A-10). The future President of Mexico, Pascual Ortíz Rubio, was in charge of Oficina Selladora de Billetes in Ciudad Juárez.. On 4 April Pani told Carranza that he had telegraphed Villarreal with instructions as to how he should send the notes in order to quadruple the performance of the machinesCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, telegram Pani, Ciudad Juárez, to Carranza, Chihuahua, 4 April 1914.

On the same day Pani told Chao that he was expecting the new notes that weekCONDUMEX, Fondo MXV, telegram Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Chao, Chihuahua, 4 April 1914.  Newspapers had picked up some details: a report from Agua Prieta on 31 March mentioned that a new Constitutionalist issue was expected from New York within two weeksVida Nueva, 3 April 1914) and on 1 April the El Paso Morning Times reported that eight million pesos of new Constitutionalist currency in $50, $25, $10 and $5 denominations (sic) were to be distributed in Chihuahua within a few daysEl Paso Morning Times, 1 April 1914.

American authorities' attitude to exportation of paper currency to Mexico

On 23 August 1913 the first shipment of $1 Monclova money from  Washington to Mexico was seized by the military authorities at Eagle Pass, Texas, as a contraband of war Dallas Morning News, 24 August 1913. The authorities had advance notice when the money would arrive and the Commanding Officer seized one box after a citation was issued against The Wells-Fargo Express Company by the District Court of Maverick County, Texas. He took steps to transfer the case to the United States Court by proceeding against Luis Meza Gutíerrez, the Constitutional consul in Eagle Pass, who was the consignee, and having the United States Commissioner issue a subpoena duces tecum to the Military Officer. Later, seven additional boxes, weighing 140 pounds each, arrived and were also seizedDallas Morning News, 27 August 1913. An affidavit was filed before the United States Commissioner against Gutíerrez, charging a violation of President Taft’s proclamation under the Joint Resolution of 14 March 1912. A preliminary hearing was set for September 1SD papers, 812.5157/8 and 812.5157/9.

On 25 August José M. Rodríguez, the Constitutionalist Consul in San Antonio wrote to Senator Morris Sheppard, in Washington, describing the shipment as “printed blanks for an issue of Constitutional currency”.  Rodríguez stated that as printed matter was not "munitions of war" and did not come under President Taft’s proclamation, and as it did come under section 171 of the U. S. penal laws, as the notes were are not similar to any United States or foreign coins, the seizure was unlawful and arbitrary and asked the Senator to submit the matter to the attention of the War Department and Department of Justice to get the matter rectified and the shipment releasedSD papers,  812.5157/9. On the same day  the Constitutionalists' lawyers, Hopkins and Hopkins, sent a memorandum arguing that the seizure was unwarranted for the following reasons:
1. the notes were not in the slightest degree similar to any notes issued by the banks of Mexico.
2. the Joint Resolution of 14 March 1912, and the President’s proclamation thereunder, prohibited the exportation of “arms or munitions of war”. Notes, currency, or securities of any sort could not be classed as either, although under circumstances, such as a blockade, they might be considered as contraband. The law was specific in referring to “arms or munitions of war”. Bouvier described “arms” as “anything that a man wears for his defence”, and the Century Dictionary referred to “munitions” as “materials used in war for defense or for attack”.
If the seizure was justifiable, then all remittances from the United States of money or other things of value to agents of the Constitutionalist Government, must be considered as “arms and munitions of war", which according to law they were not; and the lawyers were not aware of a single precedent justifying such a constructionSD papers, 812.5157/6.

For its part the American government reasoned that:
"The Joint Resolution of 14 March 1912 and the President’s proclamation thereunder prohibited the exportation of “arms or munitions of war". The meaning of this phrase was discussed in an opinion of the Attorney-General of 25 March 1912, which concluded, “As a practical working definition for the use of the officials on the border, without embracing all of the items enumerated in the first list adopted at the Conference of London, I suggest the following as embracing all that is within the practical purpose which the joint resolution and the proclamation are intended to accomplish, namely: “articles primarily and ordinarily used for military purposes in time of war, such as weapons of every species …”"

"Accordingly, paper money did not fall within the prohibition, but authority existed for holding that it did constitute contraband of war. In the case of the Bermuda (8 Wallace, 514, 552) it was held by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1865 that printing presses and materials, paper, and Confederate States postage stamps, destined to the Confederate Government were to be treated as contraband. In the case of the United States vs. Diekelman (92 U.S. 520, 526) which was decided in 1875, the same court said: “What is contraband depends upon circumstances. Money and bullion do not necessarily partake of that character, but, when destined for hostile use or to procure hostile supplies, they do. Whether they are so or not, under the circumstances, of a particular case, must be determined by some one when a necessity for action occurs.”"

"From the text of Carranza’s decree authorising the issue there appeared to be no doubt that the paper held at Eagle Pass was intended for hostile use and to obtain hostile supplies. It has been determined by high authority that the making of paper money for use in a foreign country in support of insurrection, actual or intended, against the Government of such country is an unlawful act which may be enjoined in the courts at the suit of the foreign sovereign within whose dominions it is intended that the papers shall be used. This was held by Vice Chancellor Stuart in the case of the Emperor of Austria vs. Day and Kossuth (2 Gifford, 628). In this case the defendants had manufactured a large quantity of printed paper to represent the public paper money of the Kingdom of Hungary in order to use it, when opportunity should occur, for purposes hostile to the sovereign ruling power of that Kingdom. The Vice Chancellor, Sir John Stuart, held that, the laws of nations being part of the common law of England, and money being the medium of commerce, a foreign sovereign at peace with the crown of England might sue in the courts of Chancellery to protect his prerogative right of issuing coin or paper money. An injunction was granted decreeing that the plates from which the printing was done should be delivered up to be destroyed and that the so-called money should be delivered up and cancelled. This judgment was confirmed by the House of Lords on appeal (The Emperor of Austria vs. Day and Kossuth, # De Gex, F. and J., 216). In this case the grounds on which the previous decision was based was somewhat modified. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Campbell, who delivered the first opinion, based his judgment in favor of the plaintiff chiefly on the theory of protecting a property right which would be injured by the attempted use of unauthorized money. It was indicated that the suit might equally have been brought, for example, by a bank in Austria or Hungary whose interest in its circulation might have been injured by the revolutionary notes. This was the view of the Lord Chancellor. Lord Justice Turner, also declared that the plaintiff, as representing his subjects, was entitled to relief on account of the pecuniary injury which a spurious circulation would inflict on them. He doubted whether the plaintiff would have been entitled to relief on the ground of the loss arising to the State from such spurious circulation."

The Department of State argued that in the present state of things there appeared to be no doubt that the Carranza notes were to be regarded as spurious money. "By Article 28 of the Mexican Constitution the right of the Federal Government to coin money has declared to be an “exclusive right.” By Article 111 of the same Constitution the States are expressly forbidden to “coin money, issue paper money, or create stamped paper.” This clause was amended on 1 May 1896, so as to declare that the States have no power “ to coin money, issue paper money, stamps, or stamped paper.” If Carranza be regarded as a civil and military chief in rebellion against his government, the money issued by him in that capacity is spurious; if he be regarded as a Governor of a State, the money is equally unlawful."

In addition, "its circulation is injurious not only to the property interests of Mexicans but also to those of Americans residing in Mexico within the territory controlled by Carranza. Indeed, by Article 5 of Carranza’s decree, it is declared that any person who refuses to receive or circulate any of the bills issued under the decree shall be punished with one month's imprisonment for the first refusal and six months in case of its repetition. By Article 6 it is further provided that persons who receive the bills at a discount, that is to say for part of the value they represent, shall suffer half of the penalty prescribed in the preceding Article."

"It would seem to follow from what has been set forth that the shipment of the bills to Mexico might be enjoined at the suit of a proper party and the bills themselves decreed to be canceled. The question remains who would be a proper party. Any bank in Mexico would seem to be qualified. That the Mexican Government itself could sue is rendered doubtful solely by the fact that the present Government of Mexico has not been recognized by the United States. Perhaps it would not necessarily follow from this fact that the Government could not maintain suit in the United States, since, although we withhold the formality of diplomatic recognition, we conduct diplomatic correspondence with it and recognize it, for example, in extradition cases, as the representative of law and social order. Perhaps recognition in this sense and to this extent might suffice for the purposes of a suit in such a case as that now under consideration."

"The question may also be suggested whether the Government of the United States could under the Act of 1888 prosecute a suit for an injunction to prevent the shipment of the bills and to secure their cancellationSD papers, 812.5157/8."

The question was referred to the Federal court at Del Rio, with a Mr. Belden representing the Constitutionalists. On the advice of the Acting Secretary of State, John Basset Moore, the Department of Justice did not argue that the money were “munitions of war” but, rather, that the United States had an international obligation to prevent its exportation and circulation in Mexico because of the great harm it could causeAIF, memorandum of S. G.Hopkins to Pérez Romero, Constitutionalist agent, Washington, 14 October 1913. However, the court ordered that the money be turned over to the Constitutionalists. The Department of Justice declined to appeal the decision, so on 10 January 1914 the military commander handed over the moneySD papers, 812.5157/40.

Consignments of Ejército Constitucionalista notes

We do not have any primary documentation for consignments but can attempt to reconstruct the information from newspaper and other reports. However, such reports can be vague or inaccurate. The Maverick-Clarke dos caritas were delivered in early May whilst the first Norris Peters dos caritas were delivered in the last week of August, so the following references should relate to Ejército Constitutionalista notes. However, it should be noted that Rafael Zubarán states that by 30 June only $1 and $5 Ejército Constitutionalista had been receivedSD papers, 812.5157/56 telegram Zubarán, Saltillo to Secretary of State, 4 July 1914and that these reported consignments contain fractional cartones and might include Monclova notesOn 21 April Lazaro de la Garza asked Chao to send him $5,050.85 U.S. dollars to cover the first shipment of 225,000 $1 notes, which were already at the Express office and which he would send on as soon as they were paid for (LG papers, 3-C-59: telegram from L. de la Garza, Ciudad Juárez, to Chao, Chihuahua. 21 April 1914). Chao sent Juan Perches Enriquz with $3,500 oro (LG papers, 3-C-60: telegram Chao, Chihuahua, to L. de la Garza, Ciudad Juárez. 23 April 1914). What does this refer to?.

The first consignment of 600,000 pesos was sent on 11 April 1914 and Villarreal promised Zubarán Campany daily deliveries in future, if possibleCONDUMEX, Fondo MXV, telegram Zubarán, Ciudad Juárez, to Carranza, Chihuahua, 11 April 1914. Zubarán erroneously states 650,000 pesos. The El Paso Morning Times reported that the first shipment was received by Rafael E. Muzquiz, the Constitutionalist consul in El Paso for forwarding to Chihuahua where it was to be distributed by Treasurer Sebastian Vargas "as the Villa currency is recalled"El Paso Morning Times, 19 April 1914. The report states that "the new currency resembles that of the United States. It is well printed on durable paper and will be much more difficult to counterfeit than that now in use"..

As an extra security measure the notes had a scalloped Ejército Constitucionalista seal, control letters and Roman numerals printed on the reverse. On 15 April 1914 Zubarán wrote to Carranza that the notes would arrive that evening, and that he had acquired a machine to stamp themCONDUMEX, Fondo XXI, carpeta 8, legajo 883. Zubarán left Pani in charge of the work, which started on 20 AprilCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, telegram Zubarán, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Chihuahua, 19 April 1914. Pani had to set up a workshop for the stamping machines and find people who could work them, but by 24 April he had validated a million pesos and felt he could keep pace with the daily deliveries from WashingtonCONDUMEX, Fondo XXI-4, telegram Pani, Ciudad Juárez, to Zubarán, Chihuahua, 23 April 1914. The Tesorería General de la Nación was set up in the former branch of the Banco Minero in Ciudad Juárez.

Details of known consignments are:

Date sent Received Total Serial number Value Comment
to El Paso
11 AprilCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Villarreal, Washington to Carranza, Chihuahua, 12 April 1914
18 AprilCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, S. Aguirre, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Chihuahua, 18 April 1914 $5 120,000 1 120,000 $600,000 to Esquerro, c/o Rafael E. MúzquizRafael E. Múzquiz, Jr., Carranza’s nephew, served as the Constitutionalist representative in El Paso. In October 1914, however, Carranza appointed Múzquiz inspector de consulados and charged him with supervising all Carrancista consular offices in the United States, including their “secret service” operations., Constitutionalist consul in El Paso. To be sent to Chihuahua, 20 AprilAlbuquerque Journal, 20 April 1914
The El Paso Morning Times reported that "there was about 1,000,000 pesos in the consignment received yesterday. The bills are in five and ten pesos denominations"El Paso Morning Times, 19 April 1914 but I believe they were mistaken.
12 AprilCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Villarreal, Washington to Carranza, Chihuahua, 12 April 1914 -
23 AprilCONDUMEX, Fondo XXI-4, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Zubarán, Chihuahua, 23 April 1914 $5 c.300,000 c.$1,500,000 $600,000 promised by Villarreal on 12 AprilCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Villarreal, Washington to Carranza, Chihuahua, 12 April 1914
three consignments (remesas) had arrived by 23 AprilCONDUMEX, Fondo XXI-4, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Zubarán, Chihuahua, 23 April 1914
during May $5 c.1,580,000 c.$7,900,000 From the details of the distribution of notes once they had been stamped (see below) it seems that the whole print run of 10,000,000 $5 notes was delivered by 23 May. Some poorly printed notes had to be returned to WashingtonCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, telegram Pani, Ciudad Juárez, to Carranza, Durango, 23 May 1914
1 JuneCONDUMEX Fondo MVIII, Zubarán, Washington to Carranza, Durango, 28 May 1914 $1 300,000 1 300000 $300,000 Zubarán promised first delivery on 1 June and similar quantities daily thereafterCONDUMEX Fondo MVIII, Zubarán, Washington to Carranza, Durango, 28 May 1914
by 10 JuneCONDUMEX Fondo MVIII, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Saltillo, 10 June 1914 $1 1,350,000 $1,350,000 Zubarán reports that he has sent 1,650,000 $1 notesCONDUMEX Fondo MVIII, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Saltillo, 10 June 1914. This is probably a cumulative total.
16 June 14,000,000 fourteen cases (castañas) bought from Washington by Ismael WinfieldFlores Urbina, Urbano, Odisea de Ciudad Juárez in Revista Coahuilense de Historia, no. 21, March-April 1990
to Laredo (change of destination because of deterioration in relationship between Villa and Carranza)
16 JuneCONDUMEX Fondo MVIII, Melquíades García, Nuevo Laredo to Carranza, Saltillo, 19 June 1914 $1 six cases (petacas), all that could be salvaged, sent to Seguin, Eagle Pass and held at the Constitutionalist consulate
17 JuneCONDUMEX Fondo MVIII, Melquíades García, Nuevo Laredo to Carranza, Saltillo, 19 June 1914 $1 two more cases (petacas)
19 JuneCONDUMEX Fondo MVIII, Melquíades García, Nuevo Laredo to Carranza, Saltillo, 19 June 1914 $1 two more cases (petacas)
30 JuneCONDUMEX Fondo MVIII, Melquíades García, Nuevo Laredo to Carranza, Saltillo, 30 June 1914 $1 360,000 $360,000CONDUMEX Fondo LXVIII-4, Pablo González, Saltillo to Jefe de Hacienda, Monterrey, 3 July 1914: CONDUMEX, Fondon MVIII, Melquiades García, Nuevo Laredo to Carranza, Saltillo, 4 July 1914 twelve cases (petacas)
3 July $1-$50 6,000,000 twelve trucks passed through San Antonio to Laredo consigned to T. R. Galiardo, internal revenue agent at Nuevo LaredoPrensa reported that twelve trunks had been sent from Washington to esta ciudad (El Paso) and consigned to Laredo at the beginning of July (Prensa, 9 July 1914)
July $1-$50 14,000,000
9 July $1 and $5 8,000,000 twenty boxes"On 9 July 1914 the third consignment of notes received in the last ten days from Chicago were delivered to the customs agent at Laredo, Y. R. Galindo. This consignment consisted of twenty cashboxes of $1 and $5 notes and 5c, 10c, 25c and 50c cartones. The three consignments to Galindo consisted of around $23,000,000" (Prensa, 16 July 1914)
to El Paso
13 July 4,000,000
15 July 13,000,000 ten trunks, consigned to Rafael E. Muzquiz, held at the Wells Fargo Express office in El Paso along with the other currency trunks which arrived a week earlier. By 19 July, the money had been delivered to Ciudad Juárez.
25 JulyCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Zubarán, Washington to Carranza, Tampico, 25 July 1914 $1 3,600,000 $3,600,000

On 4 July Zubarán reported that out of the $30,000,000 contract, Santiago S. Winfield had properly remitted $13,800,000 but that when he disappeared on 30 June (see below) the balance remaining of $16,200,000 had disappeared with himSD papers, 812.5157/56 telegram Zubarán, Saltillo to Secretary of State, 4 July 1914. The outstanding notes consisted of

Number Serial number Total value
$1 11,200,000 3800001assuming that they were dispatched in sequential numbering
15000000 11,200,000
$10 3,000,000 1 300000 3,000,000
$20 2,000,000 1 100000 2,000,000



Onward distribution

As stated, the El Paso Morning Times reported that the first consignment was to be forwarded to Chihuahua, where they would be distributed by State Treasurer Sebastian Vargas hijo as the Villa currency was recalledEl Paso Morning Times, 19 April 1914. Other onward consignments were

DateSent toatDenomNumberValueComment
25 AprilCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Enrique Breceda, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Chihuahua, 25 April 1914
Nogales, Arizona $5 90,000 $450,000 taken by Enrique BrecedaSome of this (or other consignments to Sonora) was later moved to Agua Prieta. On 26 August a Douglas newspaper reported that five or six dry goods boxes filled with $400,000 in Constitutionalist paper money was at the office of the Sonora war tax commission, being counted preparatory to its removal to Agua Prieta, where the office of E. Breceda, paymaster for the Constitutionalist troops in Sonora and his assistant, Bonfiglio, and A. J. Lagarda, federal tax collector of Sonora, was to be moved from Nogales. Assistant Paymaster Bonfiglio piled the money into an automobile and fled from Nogales, Sonora to Nogales, Arizona, when, upon the approach of Maytorena and the Yaqui troops, he was asked to turn the money over to the governor, or else give him his cheque for the amount. The currency was largely in notes of small denominations (Douglas Daily International, 26 August 1914).
By 4 MayCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Chihuahua, 4 May 1914 Sonora $5 110,000 $550,000 $1,000,000 in total to Sonora
Chihuahua $5 200,000 $1,000,000
Piedras Negras, Coahuila
$5 20,000 $100,000
Jesús Carranza Matamoros, Tamaulipas
$5 2,000 $10,000
5 MayCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Chihuahua, 5 May 1914 Pablo González Matamoros $5 56,000 $280,000 through (por conducto) Jesús Carranza
6 MayCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Chihuahua, 5 May 1914 Pablo González Matamoros $5 44,000 $220,000 through Jesús Carranza
7 MayCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Serapio Aguirre, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Torreón, 7 May 1914 Pablo González Matamoros $5 100,000 $500,000 completing order of $1,000,000. On 11 May Jesús Carranza handed over $680,000 to the Jefatura de HaciendaCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Cervantes, Brownsville to Carranza, Durango, 11 May 1914
Rafael Muzquiz Piedras Negras $5 20,000 $100,000
9 MayCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Serapio Aguirre, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Torreón, 9 May 1914 Alvaro Obregón $5 100,000 $500,000
10 MayCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Durango, 11 May 1914: Carranza, Durango to Villa, Torreón, 11 May 1914 Francisco Villa Torreón, Coahuila
$5 100,000 $500,000 via Adolfo Huerta Vargas. On 13 May Carranza told Villa he could take $400,000 and should tell the courier to deposit the remaining $100,000 in the Administración Principal de TimbreCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Carranza, Durango to Villa, Torreón, 13 May 1914

Torreón $5 10,000 $50,000 on 23 May Eugenio Aguirre Benavides reported that his Pagaduría had received $50,000CONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Benavides, Torreón to Carranza, Durango, 23 May 1914
22 MayCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Durango, 23 May 1914
Matamoros $5 40,000 $200,000
Nogales $5 40,000 $200,000
23 MayCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Pani, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Durango, 23 May 1914 Torreón $5 100,000 $500,000
30 MayCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Serapio Aguirre, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Chihuahua, 30 May 1914 Carranza Chihuahua $5 200,000 $1,000,000

instructions from Carranza via Jesús AcuñaCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Serapio Aguirre, Ciudad Juárez to Carranza, Chihuahua, 30 May 1914
On 27 May Carranza promised Obregón $1,000,000 for his troopsCONDUMEX, Fondo XXI, Carranza, Durango to Obregón, Tepic, 27 May 1914

G. M. Seguín Piedras Negras $5 20,000 $100,000
Pablo González Matamoros $5 200,000 $1,000,000
Alvaro Obregón Tepic $5 200,000 $1,000,000

By 18 May Pani had $1,700,000 in sellados and about $2,300,000 without resello, all in the $5 denominationCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, telegram Pani, Ciudad Juárez, to Carranza, Durango, 18 May 1914. By 23 May he had finished stamping all the $5 notes. As he had had to return some poorly printed notes to Washington, he had $2,800,000 readyCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, telegram Pani, Ciudad Juárez, to Carranza, Durango, 23 May 1914. The above table records the distribution of $8,260,000, so over 80% of the $5 notes.

On 11 June, having finished stamping the first lot of dos caritas (see Maverick Clarke), they began to stamp the $1 notes.

DateSent toatDenomNumberValueComment
11 JulyCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Francisco Villarreal, Monterrey to Carranza, Saltillo, 11 July 1914 Felipe Riveros Sinaloa

$50,000 sent via Eagle Pass and Nogales. Carranza had promised $100,000CONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, Francisco Villarreal, Monterrey to Carranza, Saltillo, 11 July 1914

Tension between Villa and Carranza

During June 1914 relations between Carranza and Villa worsened. In anticipation Pani instructed Washington to make future consignments via Laredo and also asked Carranza whether he should transfer the office to Monterrey or SaltilloCONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, telegram Pani, Ciudad Juárez, to Carranza, Saltillo, 11 June 1914. Carranza ordered the Tesorero and Pani to collect all the sealed and unsealed notes and the entire Treasury, but they only managed to send six cases (petacas) of unstamped $1 notes to Seguin at Eagle PassOn 17 June they received two more petacas, and on [   ] a further two, which were deposited in the consulate (CONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, telegram Melquíades Garcia, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas to Carranza, Saltillo, 19 June 1914).. On 16 June Villista forces under Héctor Ramos surrounded the Tesorería General de la Revolución and removed all the funds (a total of $14,540,000), machinery and personnel, including Serapio Aguirre, Alberto Pani, and Pascual Ortiz Rubio, who was in charge of the revalidating machines. The employees, apart from Pani and Ortiz Rubio, who were released after intervention from Adrian Aguirre Benavides, were transported to Chihuahua, where they were held for twenty-seven days.

On 21 June 1914 Pani left El Paso with four trunks of notes to put into circulation in Saltillo. The rest had been captured by Villa in Ciudad JuárezPrensa, 25 June 1914.

Carranza ordered Pani to interview Villa and redeem the printing equipment and currency and obtain the release of the men. Pani went to El Paso and requested an interview so Villa sent his car to bring Pani to his headquarters in Ciudad Juárez. According to Pani’s accountAlberto J. Pani, Apuntes Autobiográficos, México, 1943, Villa’s headquarters were full of roughnecks armed with pistols, guns and bullet-belts across their chests. He went to Villa’s room where he was talking with about five or six people. Villa dismissed them, locked the door with a key and put the key in his pocket. He turned around and faced Pani, who by that time had given up his life as he knew that Villa had a habit of settling his arguments with bullets. They started talking about everything, sometimes in a normal voice but mostly in Villa’s loud angry voice. After two hours Villa had blown off some of his steam and had calmed down. Suddenly he asked Pani, "On what basis do you wish us to remain? Friends or enemies?" "As you wish", replied Pani controlling himself. "Fine! Let us keep it on a friendly basis." They left headquarters in Villa’s car and headed for the railway station where all the printing equipment had already been loaded onto a box car. Villa told the men in charge to turn over everything, including the printed currency, to Pani. Villa casually mentioned he had no money to pay his soldiers so Pani suggested they telegraphed Carranza to give him the good news and obtain his authority to leave a million pesos for Villa’s payroll. Pani asked Villa for a train engine and crew, an honest and reliable courier to deliver the precious cargo and a detachment of crack soldiers to escort the convoy. Villa was feeling generous and granted everything requested. Eventually the train with its cargo of five million pesos and the stamping machines reached Ciudad Juárez on 12 July safe and soundST papers, telegram from Villa (in Torreón) to Avila in Chihuahua ordering him to release to Pani the money "that Lazaro de la Garza took from Carranza with the object of restamping it in Chihuahua", 6 July 1914. Also later request to send $1m. to Torreón. Denver Post, 9 July 1914, says five million pesos was returned, though $1m was released for Villa to use in TorreónST papers, telegram, Villa, 7 June 1914. Pani says in his memoires (Apuntes Autobiográficos) that he also left a revalidating machine(s) (de una parte de las maquinas selladoras). The San Antonio Express reported that the money was to be shipped to Carranza’s headquarters in MonterreySan Antonio Express, 12 July 1914.

The next day Villa sent for Pani again as he wanted his opinion on a project that he had been discussing with friends. Villa had been told that he should establish a bank in Chihuahua to provide money for the needy people. Pani explained that if Villa did that all the other revolutionaries in Sonora, Sinaloa, Durango etc. would feel entitled to do the same and they would bring the country to economic chaos. It was better to wait until the revolution was over and then open a central bank to take care of the nation’s needs. Similarly Serapio Aguirre, in his memoirs, records that on 15 July Villa asked him to join him to manage the Banco de Agricultura y Minería that he was going to establish. According to Villa, Silvestre Terrazas was already studying the project. Aguirre diplomatically replied that he was interested but wanted first to finish his work in the Secretaría de HaciendaUrbano Flores Urbina, Prisoneros de General Villa in El Legionario, 31 July 1959; Urbano Flores Urbina, Odisea de Ciudad Juárez in Revista Coahuilense de Historia, 21, 22, March-April, May-June, 1980.

When Villarreal placed his order with the Norris Peters Company, he left Santiago S. Winfield in Washington as the forwarding agent. However, when the Constitutionalists fell out, Winfield threw in his lot with Villa and attempted to hijack some deliveries.

The Constitutionalists’ legal adviser, Charles A. Douglas, went before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia with an appeal for an injunction to restrain the delivery of currency at El Paso by one of three express companies (Adams, Wells Fargo and Southern) by which it was shippedSan Antonio Express, 6 July 1914. On 3 July Justice Anderson of the District Supreme Court signed an order directing the three express companies to show cause why they should not be enjoined from delivering several million pesos in the new currency. The application did not act as a restraining order: if they saw fit the express companies could deliver the consignment before 6 July, when the court order was returnableDallas Morning News, 4 July 1914. Winfield was already travelling south with four suitcases. Though he denied that he had any money, he never let the suitcases out of his sight and at New Orleans personally attended them when they were transferred from one depot to another. At Atlanta Winfield received a telegram from Carranza, informing him that he had been replaced as Constitutionalist agent in Washington by Alfredo Breceda. Though he had tickets for Laredo, the telegram caused Winfield to change his destination, turn west from San Antonio instead of south, and deliver the money to Villa. The notes were not yet numbered but the Villistas had gained possession of the numbering machinery when they took charge of the customs houseSan Antonio Express, 6 July 1914.

Winfield arrived in El Paso on the evening of Friday 3 July and went about his business, entirely unaware that deputy sheriffs were hunting him to serve an order from the district court halting the delivery of the packages. About midnight he ran into one of Villa’s agents from Ciudad Juárez, who told him of the injunction, so the money was moved from the Union station across the border to Ciudad Juárez. Carranza’s agent, Roberto V. Pesqueira, asked Colonel Tomas Ornelas, jefe de las armas at Ciudad Juárez, to arrest the four men responsible for the removal of the currency. These four men, all prominent Villistas, were detained briefly by the El Paso police and the custom officials at the International bridge but since neither knew of the injunction, the men were allowed to go on their way.  They had seven packages of new currency, but the custom officers expressed serious doubts of it amounting to five million pesosEl Paso Morning Times, 4 July 1914; Denver Post, 5 July 1914; Douglas Daily Dispatch, 7 July 1914; New York Times, 7 July 1914. Earlier Winfield had had four suitcases: in a telegram to Carranza he is reported to have six suitcases (belices) (CONDUMEX, Fondo MVIII, G. Vizcarra, El Paso to Carranza, Saltillo, 4 July 1914): now there are seven packages.

On 6 July a bench warrant was issued for the arrest of Winfield charging him with embezzlement. The warrant was sworn out by Rafael Zubarán, and charged that Winfield appropriated to his own use or diverted from their intended use about 50,000,000 pieces of paper currency valued at $5,000,000New York Times, 7 July 1914. Villarreal also took out a petition in El Paso naming Winfield and Lazaro de la Garza and obtained injunctions against the Adams, Wells Fargo and Southern freight companies. The next day Carranza agents declared six trunks, supposedly containing the missing money, had been located in the express office at San AntonioDouglas Daily Dispatch, 7 July 1914.

It was expected that the money would be taken to Chihuahua and put into circulation by the Treasury there, as by this time Villa had the necessary equipment for applying Aguirre’s signature and the validating stamp. However, as a result of Villa’s conference with Carranza at Torreón, at the same time as the treasury personnel and equipment were released the money was handed over by Lazaro de la Garza to Pani, for shipment to Carranza’s headquarters in MonterreyEl Paso Morning Times, 8 July 1914, 9 July 1914.

A New York newspaper article described the scene in Monterrey:

“The newest and most acceptable bills are those of the army (Ejercito Constitutionalista). They are printed in Washington and shipped to Monterey where the mint is located. There they receive the stamp and number that makes them genuine.
A trip to the hacienda de tesorero is full of interest. About the first things you encounter are a dozen or more Adams Express freight trunks, which Señor Amaya, chief of the mint, tells you are filled with printed but unstamped bills. In a long counting room a score of pretty señoritas are sorting packages of one peso notes.
Here, as elsewhere in Mexico, the machinery is American made.

In one corner stand the stamping and numbering machines. Two fine “Mexicans,” respectively Señor O. P. Walker and Señor C. C. Gaylord, from El Paso, do the operating. They are under contract and receive payment in gold.
“Not that the bills aren’t nice,” explained Gaylord, “but you know there is something about gold, after all, that you know”.
Señor Amaya admitted with some diffidence that a stamping machine was in the hands of Villa. Here is where the rub comes in. Villa, it is understood, has plenty of Ejercito Constitutionalista money ready for stamping. After that, who can tell?”
Three hundred thousand bills a day is the capacity of the plant, and the product is snapped up as soon as issued. The people here have lots of confidence in Carranza and his army, and so might any one after looking the city force over.
Some $30,000,000, printed in Washington, was the latest issue of Carranza moneyNew York Tribune, 17 July 1914.”

After the open split between Villa and Carranza there was conflict over ownership of the notes and printing plates. On July 21, under replevinReplevin is one of the oldest forms of action known to common law. It was a legal procedure for claiming the right to have personal property returned from the possession of one who had less right to hold it than the plaintiff. The defendant could not claim as an excuse that the property belonged to someone not involved in the lawsuit because the only issue before the court was rightful possession, not title. proceedings instituted by Villarreal, deputy United States Marshal B. F. Cusick took from the Norris Peters engraving plant the dies and plates from which the currency had been engraved and $3,800,000 in one-peso notesThe papers called for eight million pesos, but only 3,800,000 notes had been so far printed (Evening Star, Washington, 22 July 1914). Villarreal declared the property was being illegally detained. Norris Peters did not protestEvening Star, Washington, 22 July 1914; El Paso Morning Times, 22 July 1914. The replevin petition was sworn to by Juan F. Urguidi, secretary of the Carranza agency in Washington, and also by Rafael Zubarán. Attorneys Douglas, Ruffin, and Obear represented Villarreal (Washington Post, 23 July 1914). This was done to prevent any money being printed from the plates, except that authorized by the treasury department. Winfield, in his turn, filed an intervening petitiona petition to intervene in the action begun by Villarreal. Winfield was represented by Attorneys Milton A. Kaufman and F. J. Hogan. Winfield wired de la Garza that Villarreal was demanding he hand over the money and claiming that he had Villa’s approval. Winfield wanted to know the truth and what she should do (LG papers, 4-G-3, telegram Winfield, Washington, to L. de la Garza, Ciudad Juárez, 25 July 1914) claiming title to the plates. It was said that the U.S. marshal's office turned over the dies to Villarreal after notice of the intervening petition had been served and that Villarreal was in possession of the dies unlawfully. It was expected that an effort would be made to compel Villarreal to restore them to the custody of the marshal until the case was adjudicatedWashington Post, 26 July 1914; Washington Herald, 28 July 1914.

On 14 September 1914 de la Garza reported that he had been told that Winfield had the rest of the notes in St Louis, but that Winfield had come from Washington to say that the notes were really in Washington, as well as the duplicate plates. He told Villa of his worries about the Carrancistas and Norris PetersLG papers, 1-I-7, letter from de la Garza to Villa, Chihuahua. 14 September 1914. On 16 October 1914 he wrote that Norris Peters would only entrust the billetes Constitucionalistas (and the printing plates) on Villareal’s written instruction, so Winfield did not have themLG papers, 1-I-17, letter from de la Garza, New York, to Villa, Chihuahua. 16 October 1914. In a letter of 23 November de la Garza asked Navarro to ask Babson, of Norris Peters, whether he still had the $6m that Felicitos Villarreal had ordered and that he said he could not hand it without Villarreal’s authorisation. If so, Villa would ask for an order from Villarreal, who was going to be the Ministro de Hacienda in the new Convention governmentLG papers, 6-B-73, letter from de la Garza, El Paso, to Navarro, Washington, 23 November 1914. On 3 December Rafael Zubarán went to Navarro in Washington with orders from Villareal to collect the notes, numbering machine and original platesLG papers, 1-F-137, telegram from de la Garza, Ciudad Juárez, to Villa, Cuartel General. 3 December 1914. On 3 December Navarro reported in code that Zubran had collected the money and wanted an order by telegraph because Norris Peters had not handed over the numbering machine and original stonesLG papers, 6-C-14 , telegram Navarro, Washington, to L. de la Garza, El Paso, 3 December 1914. De la Garza replied, in code"Procura que mientras se recibe orden telegrafica Felicitos casa entretenga entrega pretestando haberlas entregado a Winfield representante de Villareal” (LG papers, 6-C-15, telegram. De la Garza, El Paso, to Navarro, Washington, 3 December 1914). In reponse to de la Garza's telegram, Villa ordered them not to hand over the numbering machine and original platesLG papers, 1-F-140, telegram from Villa, Tacuba, to de la Garza, Ciudad Juárez. 4 December 1914. Felicitos telegraphed Norris Peters not to give the objects to Zubaran but told de la Garza that, as his family were in Carrancista territory, Norris Peters should only make use of the telegram if urgently neededLG papers, telegram. partly in code, L. de la Garza, El Paso, to Navarro, Washington, 5 December 1914.