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Counterfeit $50 sábanas

In May 1915 a large quantity of counterfeit $50 "Constitutionalist" notes were circulating in Tampico, Tamaulipas. The authorities arrested four Americans, Jim Sigler, the owner of a nearby ranch, and S. Thomson and his two sons. They confessed to having bought $500,000 in fake notes from an American but had only put $20,000 into circulation. The notes were very coarse and also had a fake REVALIDADO seal. The Jefe de las Armas, Coronel Espinosa, had a conference with the American consul and they agreed that the counterfeiters would be deported, after they guaranteed to make good any loss that the public had sufferedEl Democráta, Veracruz, Tomo I, Num. 199, 27 May 1915. However, the New York Times a month later reported that three Americans, William Thompson, his brother, Robert, and a man named Segler, had recently been brought to Veracruz from Tampico charged with circulating counterfeit money. William Thompson had been released, according to reports received by Secretary Lansing, and his brother Robert would be. The charge against Segler appeared to be more serious, and his case was pendingNew York Times, 27 June 1915.

In August it was reported that four American residents of Tampico had been sentenced to long penitentiary terms for counterfeiting. It was reported that the Americans had been placed on board the Mexican gunboat Bravo and sent to VeracruzFort Worth Star-Telegram, 11 August 1915.

These appear to have been $50 sábanas.

$50 sábanas counterfeit Type 1

The characteristics listed in the notice of 21 March 1914 are as follows:

  letters are thicker (más gruesos)
  ink is blacker
edging frame is made up of plates so slight breaks in corners edging is continuous in the corners
Chao’s signature stroke ends in a thick flourish Chao’s signature ends in a lump (bola o nudo)
Tesorería seal is rubber and handstamped so details are blurred seal is of metal, usually steel, so details are perfect


However, the notice was listing general characteristics for counterfeits of all denominations. These characteristics are demonstrated in Type 2 below.

$50 sábanas counterfeit Type 2

sabanas 50 A 2196

De la Garza’s letter of March 1914 and the notice of 24 March 1914 lists the following characteristics:



Rubber seal, somewhat smudged, with a bar before and after ‘CHIHUAHUA’
Seal varies in position


Steel seal, without a bar after ‘CHIHUAHUA’
Seal placed exactly over number ‘50’

Seal is purple on some notes, and black on others Purple seal
Small joints at the corners and various parts of edging Edging appears continuous
  Green type on face and reverse is thicker


Comma after ‘válido'

sab50count2l No comma after ‘válido’


About twenty-one fine lines in the shading of 'CINCUENTA PESOS' and '50'


thirteen lines






‘Diciembre’ sab50count2r‘Diciemhre’


In the Alvarado case the characteristics are given as:

  Thicker lettering
Green ink of background is clearer  
Red 'No' after 'SERIE A' No 'No'
Red 'No' at right Black 'Núm.'
The shading in the upper part of “50 CINCUENTA PESOS 50” is distinct, separate lines Shading is formed by thinner lines, that are oftren joined
  Design is 189mm by 88½mm
Chao’s signature has an inkspot at the far right flourish (el vértice superior y derecho de la firma hay un burrón en forma de punto) No inkspot
Comma after 'válido' No comma after 'válido'
Occasional breaks in the edging, particularly in the corners Edging is blacker, thicker and formed by a single line
Seal is rubber and applied by hand, so details of the eagle and lettering are blurred
In seal 'TESORERIA GENERAL' is between two bars
Seal is metal and imprinted, so details are equal and distinct
No bar after 'GENERAL'
  Treasury seal touches the inside line of the edging
  The point at the beginning of Vargas’ seal coincides with the 'R' of 'TESORERIA' in the seal


This is known as in production before the serial numbers were added

sabanas 50 A no numbersabanas 50 A no number reverse 

 and also when stamped as counterfeit.

sabanas 50 A 14616

sabanas 50 A 14616 reverse

The "Diciemhre' misspelling might have been due to copying a similar misspelling on early genuine notes. So the December 1914 notice rightly informs us that if Vargas and Chao’s are handsigned, the notes with ‘Diciemhre’ are genuine.

$50 sábanas counterfeit Type 3

The notice issued by the Tesorería General in Hermosillo, Sonora lists:



first two ‘h’s the same whilst third is different


three ‘h’s of Chihuahua the same


full stop of the phrase ‘Chihuahua, 10 de Diciembre de 1913’ is diamond shaped


full stop is round


comma after ‘Gobernador Provisional del Estado’

full stop after ‘Gobernador Provisional del Estado’

  full stop in the ‘M’ of Chao’s signature missing


However, notes with three similar 'h's are common and known with a variety of resellos, and are more likely to have been a genuine variation, so the single defining characteristics must be the missing full stop in Chao's signature.

$50 sábanas counterfeit Type 4

sabanas 50 A 22457

sabanas 50 A 22457 reverse

A probable counterfeit of the 'final h different' type is:



'A' in 'Serie A' open


'A' closed

sab50count4dseal 41.5mm


full stop after 'PESOS' in centre of last line of underprint


no full stop