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The Convention's withdrawal of sábanas

By the end of May the Conventionists had decided to withdraw the sábanasLa Convención, 28 May 1915. On 31 May González Garza declared that because of the abnormal circumstances and the lack of effective communications with the rest of the country, the Villistas and Monclova had been easily counterfeited, and the public lacked sufficient facts to distinguish the counterfeit from the real thing. Moverover, revalidating was not enough to prevent large-scale counterfeiting and so the present notes were to be replaced by a type that would be more difficult to falsify. The Secretaría de Hacienda, by means of the Tesorería de la Federación, would fix the date and manner in which to make the exchange. The Tesorería General de la Nación was assigned $3m to replace the sábanasEl Renovador, 21 June 1915.

As the Carrancistas were expected to return to Mexico City businesses became cautious about accepting the existing legal tender. Many refused to take the notes in payment while others raised their prices to discourage purchases. Because of this aura of mistrust the Convention decreed on 19 June that the sábanas and dos caritas were to be of forced circulation again. However, because of continued popular resistance, on 25 June a meeting of the Consejo de Ministros decided to declare that the sábanas lacked forced or legal circulation, and that the Secretaría should draw up regulations for exchanging themPresent were Francisco Lagos, I. Borrego, F. Cervantes, Alberto B. Piña, M. Palafox, N. A. Robles and J. Quevedo (JMM papers, box 5, folder 13, item 17) and the next day Francisco Lagos Charazo declared that the sábanas would cease to be of forced circulation within the Federal District immediately, although the Treasury would continue to exchange them for other Conventionist currency such as REVALIDADOsLa Convención, 26 June 1915. An alternative report was that on 26 June 1915 the Convention decreed that the sábanas continued to be of forced circulation in the Federal District and other areas under its control, though it would continue exchanging them (El Renovador, 26 June 1915). This, in turn, failed to enhance trust in the currency as businesses sensed that it would shortly be worthless.

Lagos Charazo established the following arrangements for making the exchange. Four counters were set up where the notes would be examined for counterfeits, and, if genuine, revalidated as follows:
Department A......$100 notes, up to the sum of 2,000 pesos;
Department B......$50 notes, up to the sum of 1,000 pesos;
Department C......$5, $10 and $20 notes, up to the sum of 500 pesos;
Department D......25c, 50c and $1 notes, up to the sum of 50 pesos.
Any counterfeit note lacking a revalidation or with a false revalidation was to be perforated and returned to the original possessor. The exchanged notes were to be stamped with a seal which stated ‘Nulo Por Haber Sido Canjeado’ (‘Void for having been exchanged’). Merchants and banks in possession of large quantities of these notes had to deliver them to the Banco Nacional in sealed packages with a document of ownership signed by the original possessor (bank or merchant), each package to contain no more than 20,000 pesos. The packages were to be stamped and numbered in the presence of the original owner and accompanied by an official invoice detailing the series, numbers and values of the notes inside. The period for depositing notes was to be the ten days starting on 28 June 1915El Combate, 28 June 1915.



The Tesorería General del Estado in Chihuahua had been destroying notes for some time. It recorded the following incinerations of sábanas in its monthly balance sheets (printed in the Periódico Oficial):

October 1914 $101,980·45
December 1914 $661,664·00
May 1915 $2,544,691·75
July 1915 $508,658·00

Mexico City

Though they are merely academicacademic since we do not know how complete this list is. However, the Mexican Herald (15 June 1915) implies that the incinerations began on 15 June, the day after the exchange began. In late June the Tesorería General de la Nación had to suspend the exchange of sábanas temporarily because of military operations in the Federal District (El Renovador, 21 June 1915) Then, the Carrancista general Pablo González recaptured Mexico City on 11 July 1915 and, as the Carrancistas disowned the Villista notes, they would not have bothered with continuing to decommission them the following are details of the incinerations of sábanas in Mexico City, held in the patio of the Palacio Nacional

Date 25c 50c $1 $5 $10 $20 $50 $100 Total
No $ No $ No $ No $ No $ No $ No $ No $
14 Junea total of $131,986.50 in Villista notes and notes of the Banco Revolutionario de Guerrero                                  
15 JuneLa Convención, 15 June 1915: The Mexican Herald, 16 June 1915                                 $114,200
16 JuneEl Renovador, 17 June 1915                                 $80,450
17 JuneAGN, Fondo Convención, caja 7, exp. 9, folletas 72-80: El Combate, 18 June 1915                 1,498highest number 7927- $14,980 684highest number 77737 $13,680 600highest number 47620 $30,000     $58,660
29 JuneLa Convención, 29 June 1915: The Mexican Herald, 30 June 1915                                 $891,890
30 JuneAGN, Fondo Convención, caja 7, exp. 9, folletas 125-132                 396highest number 95875 $3,960     1,353highest number 47683 $67,650     $71,610The Mexican Herald erroneously gave the total as $76,610(The Mexican Herald, 2 July 1915)
30 JuneAGN, Fondo Convención, caja 8, exp. 2, folletas 31-49                 900highest number 98546 $9,000         33highest number 14918 $3,300 $12,300
1 JulyAGN, Fondo Convención, caja 8, exp. 2, folletas 31-49                             351highest number 14900 $35,100 $35,100
2 JulyAGN, Fondo Convención, caja 8, exp. 2, folletas 31-49                     180highest number 85853 $3,600         $3,600
2 JulyAGN, Fondo Convención, caja 8, exp. 2, folletas 31-49                 2,538highest number 99798 $25,380 1,250highest number 85020 $25,000 2,725highest number 96720 (next highest 48821) $136,250     $186,630
3 JulyAGN, Fondo Convención, caja 8, exp. 2, folletas 68-73: El Renovador, 4 July 1915: The Mexican Herald, 5 July 1915                 1,200highest number 99873 $12,000 887highest number 83904 $17,740     50highest number 19321 $5,000 $34,740
7 JulyLa Convención, 7 July 1915: El Combate, 7 July 1915: El Renovador, 8 July 1915 49,201 25c, 50c, $1 and $5
totalling $133,111
5,019 $50,190 300 $6,000 400 $20,000     $209,301
TOTAL   11,551 $115,510 3.301 $66,020 5,078 $253,900 434 $43,400 $1,698,481