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The crisis of 1935

The United States passed its American Silver Purchase Act on 19 June 1934: this caused the price of silver to increase and as a result, in Mexico, silver coins began to be hoarded to be remelted at a profit. On 25 April 1935 the Mexican government reacted with a series of reforms, changing the fineness of its coinage, and withdrawing silver coins from circulation. It had ordered 50c coins (tostones) and $1 Banco de México notes from the United States but until these arrived the sudden shortage of small change led many local Chambers of Commerce to agree with the local banks to issue scrip in the form of bearer cheques (cheques al portador).

The cheques were of low denominations, backed by deposits in the banks, of voluntary (but general) acceptance and redeemable on demand (occasionally stated as in multiples of five pesos, the lowest value banknote).

In Campeche on 30 April a meeting was called by Jorge L. Palomeque, Jefe de la Oficina Federal de Hacienda, and attended by, for the government, Pedro Tello Andueza, the Secretario General and acting Governor; Manuel Magaña Flores, the interim Secretario General, and Domingo Pérez Méndez, the Tesorero General, and for the Cámara de Comercio, Lorenzo Acuña E., vicepresident; Emilio de la Pena D., secretario; Felipe Mezquida, tesorero, and Luis A. Mauri Z., Joaquín R. Patrón Miranda and Juan Conde M.. It was decided that the Cámara would issue 10,000 50c and 10,000 $1 cheques, guaranteed by a deposit in the Mérida branch of the Banco de México. The cheques would be payable on presentation by the local correspondents of the bank, de la Pena y Hermanos.

The same day Joaquín R. Patrón Miranda flew to Mérida to organise the printing of the cheques, to discuss the whole matter with the manager of the Mérida branch of the Banco de México, Rafael C, Torres, and to arrange with the president of the Mérida Chamber of Commerce, José María Medina Ayora, for their respective cheques to be mutually acceptedDiario de Yucatán, Tomo XXV, Año X, Núm. 3111, 1 May 1935.

If these notes were issued, none seems to have survived.