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Other printers for dos caritas notes

The Norris Peters contracts do not account for all the dos caritas, so the Villistas must have moved to another company. There are few indications in the Lazaro de la Garza papers, which means that he and his associates were no longer involved: unfortunately most other correspondence has been lost and, in general, record-keeping was poor. As an example, when the Carrancistas captured Chihuahua, their attempt at reconstructing the issue was hopelessly understated thusAGN, Fondo Gobernación Periodo Revolucionario, caja 61, exp. 24, Chihuahua, 10 January 1916. records per report of new Carrancista governor of Chihuahua, January 1916:

50c O 1 500000 5 July 1915 21 July 1915
$1 A 1 749997 11 May 1915 25 June 1915
$5 C 1 200000 8 July 1914 15 July 1914
$10 D 1 149997 16 May 1915 1 June 1915
$20 E 1 37498 23 June 1914 19 July 1914
$50 F 1 164998 9 June 1914 17 February 1915


On 16 August 1914 Ignacio Perchez Enríquez wrote from Ciudad Juárez that, concerning printing, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco had all said that they could do the work quickly, and that he was now working out the detailsST papers, Part I, box 57 telegram Ignacio Perches Enríquez to Terrazas, 16 August(?) 1914. Potential locations include:

Smith-Brooks Printing Company, Denver

Smith Brooks1
Smith Brooks2

Denver was probably the Smith-Brooks Printing Company. Orville L. Smith, the company’s president, was born at Sandy Hill, New York on 18 July 1850. He arrived in Denver in 1880, without means, and joined the Denver Republican as a printer. From that time until 1885 he worked on different papers and in 1886 organised the small printing firm of Smith & Ferl. George W. Brooks was brought up in Newark, New Jersey and had an apprenticeship in the printing trade. He moved to Denver in 1880 and joined the Denver Tribune. When the Tribune was consolidated with the Republican in 1884, he turned his attention to other interests, but in 1887 he resumed work in the printing trade until he found the opportunity to engage in business on his own account. In February 1890, he purchased the interest of the junior partner in Smith & Ferl, and the business was incorporated as the Smith-Brooks Printing Company.

In February 1902 the firm secured spacious quarters at 1733 - 1747 California Street. Its letter heading in 1910 described it as “Bank and Office Outfitters, Bank Note Engravers, Manufacturing Stationers”. By 1918 it was one of the largest and best known printing concerns in the west, employing 250 staff with the latest and best machinery.

San Francisco

Britton & Rey, a well-established lithography firm located in San Francisco, printed an issue of notes for the revolutionaries in Sinaloa.

Baltimore or New York

On 18 November 1914 de la Garza wrote to Navarro of the desperate need for notes to replace the sábanas and pay the División del Norte’s expenses of around a million pesos a day and suggested that if Navarro thought that Norris Peters could not supply them then he should give the plates/stones that they were not using to another printer. He suggested a Baltimore firm could produce the 50c and $1 notes, or even that they give the job to two or three printersLG papers, 6-B-60, telegram L. de la Garza, El Paso, to Navarro, Washington, 18 November 1914: 6-B-63, letter L. de la Garza, El Paso, to Navarro, Washington, 19 November 1914. On 1 December de la Garza wrote that José Farias was going to Washington to see how the work was progressing and, if necessary, to put the work with other printshops in New York (they were already working with the American Bank Note Company), although they would prefer if Norris Peters did it all, if they could show that they could handle itLG papers, 6-C-1, letter L. de la Garza, El Paso, to Navarro, Washington, 1 December 1914.

A. B. Graham and Company, Washington

By late January 1915 Navarro was dissatisfied with Norris Peters and mentioned A. B. Graham and Company, another Washington printshop, whose boss was well known to Servando de la GarzaLG papers, 6-D-34, Navarro, Washington, to L. de la Garza, El Paso, 25 January 1915.


On 23 December 1914 Sebastian Vargas wrote to Villa suggesting that, given the high cost in American currency of printing notes and the fact that the government already had the plates, facsimiles and other tools, the government should purchase the necessary machinery and print the notes in ChihuahuaAIF, F9-104, telegram from Vargas, Chihuahua to Villa, México, 23 December 1914 and on the same day asked de la Garza to find out the costsLG papers, 3-G-30, letter from Vargas, Chihuahua, to de la Garza, Ciudad Juárez, 23 December 1914. On 30 January de la Garza replied with the following costings: a Harris Offset Press (28” x 54”) - $6,200.00 U.S. dollars: 500 sheets of paper for printing 7,000 notes - $12.75: ink $1.80: one operator at $6.00 per day, two assistants at $3.00 and $2.00 respectively, and an engraver at $6.00, making the daily payroll $17.00 (though they would have to pay more to encourage them to go to Mexico). With sundries it worked out at $2.00 per 1,000 notes, whilst they were currently paying $2.42.
They could produce 12,000 notes a day. (LG papers, 3-G-48, letter L. de la Garza, El Paso, to Vargas, Chihuahua. 30 January 1915)
. However, Chihuahua is a remote probability.

Salt Lake City

In September 1915 the United States secret service were looking for Villista currency alleged to have been printed in Salt Lake City. A local printer reported that he had been asked by Villa’s agents to bid for a contract to print currency but told detectives that he was not the man they were looking for. Service Agent T. J. Callaghan pointed out that printing money for a government or pretender without the sanction of the treasury department would be unlawfulThe Deseret News, 14 September 1915. However, even if this printing took place, it might well have been without any official sanction.