Translate / Traducir

Gustavo Baz

Gustavo Baz completed his education in Toluca and then went to Mexico’s Medical Military College. In 1914 he served as a medical doctor treating the troops of the Zapatista general Vicente Navarro and rose through the ranks. It was during this time he first served as governor of the state of México.

As elsewhere in Mexico, a major problem that the governor had to address was the shortage of small change, caused by the flight or hoarding of coins. So on 1 March 1915, Baz, by then a Coronel of the Ejército Libertador and provisional governor of the state, by decree núm. 4, authorized an issue of $500,000 in four denominations (5c, 10c, 20c and 50c), guaranteed by the resources of the state. He also created an extraordinary issue of $300,000 called ‘CANJE (EXCHANGE)’ to replace the cartones in circulationGaceta del Gobierno, Tomo XXXVII, Núm. 18, 3 March 1915.

Baz issued detailed regulations for the issueGaceta del Gobierno, Tomo XXXVII, Núm. 19, 6 March 1915. It would be produced in the Boys’ School of Arts and Crafts (Escuela de Artes y Oficios para Varones), under the supervision of two interventors, one of them from the Finance Department (Ramo de Hacienda). The interventors were to be in control of the series and validating controls (señas y contraseñas), the sheets of paper used and the records of daily number of notes produced. The numbering, validating and cutting of the notes was to be done in one of the offices of the Executive Palace (Palacio del Ejecutivo). Once the print run was finished, the equipment would be placed in the Cash Department (Departamento de Caja) until the time for any necessary replacements.

Estado 5c grey   Estado 5c grey reverse
Estado 5c brown   Estado 5c brown reverse
Estado 5c red   Estado 5c red reverse

The 5c were circular pasteboard ‘coins’, the only time such were issued by a revolutionary authority. The central motif on the reverse is the coat of arms of the city of Toluca, comprising the god Tolotzín and the toponyms of the villages that make up the municipality. It gives the Nahuatl name of the city, Tollocan, which means ‘Where the head is bowed down’.


The 20c and 50c notes had a common design. The statute on the front is the Fuente del Aguila in the Paseo Colón, built to commemorate the centenary of Mexico's independence, while the building on the back is the Executive Palace.

The notes were signed by Baz as provisional governor and [                ][identification needed] as cashier.


Gustavo Baz Prada was born in Tlalnepantla, Estado de México, on 31 January 1894. Baz completed his education at Mexico's Medical Military College and in 1914 served as a medical doctor treating the troops of Vincente Navarro. He rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the forces of Zapata and during this time first served as governor of the Estado de México, from 14 December 1914 until 14 October 1915.

In 1916 he resigned his generalship to continue his medical studies. He completed his studies in 1920 and by 1922 was on the faculty of the Military Medical School. In 1925 he went to the United States for further medical studies, and then on to France, Belgium and Germany.

n 1935 he was made director of Mexico's National School of Medicine. From 1938 to 1940 he was head of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and from 1940 until 1946 Secretary of Health and Welfare. He was again governor of the Estado de México from 1957 to 1963.

He died in Mexico City on 12 October 1987.

sig Baz
  sig Estado Cajero


Provisional $5 notes

On the same day (1 March) decree núm. 5 authorised an issue of up to $30,000 in $5 provisional notes, to pay the troopsGaceta del Gobierno, Tomo XXXVII, Núm. 18, 3 March 1915. Article 7 of Baz' decree núm. 4 authorises an issue of up to $300,000, whilst decree núm. 5 authorises $30,000 in $5 notes. So these notes refer to decree núm. 4, either intentionally or by mistake. These were to be withdrawn after four weeks, and this condition was printed on the notes. The front and back had a common underprint with the only uncommon feature the city coat of arms in the centre.

On 22 May Baz told the public to exchange these provisional notes in the local Oficinas Rentísticas as from 30 June they would be null and voidGaceta del Gobierno, Tomo XXXVII, Núm. 47, 12 June 1915.

Additional values

On 25 March, by decree núm. 7, Baz amended this decree so that the denominations would be 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $5, without altering the total value of the issueGaceta del Gobierno, Tomo XXXVII, Núm. 25, 27 March 1915.

Additional sum

On 6 May, by decree núm. 10 bis, Baz increased the amount of his issue from $500,000 to $800,000Gaceta del Gobierno, Tomo XXXVIII, Núm. 5, 17 July 1915 and then on 13 July, by decree núm. 19, by another $100,000Gaceta del Gobierno, Tomo XXXVIII, Núm. 5, 17 July 1915. Then on 26 July, by decree núm. 20, he increased it to a total of $3,000,000Gaceta del Gobierno, Tomo XXXVIII, Núm. 8, 20 July 1915.

Perhaps this was the occasion for a slight change in the lettering of SERIE B.

straight B   italic B


In summary, Baz's issues were:

  Series from to total
5c   unnumbered      
20c A         number in black
includes numbers 63903CNBanxico #5094 to 139700CNBanxico #5101
        number in red
includes numbers 313410CNBanxico #5129 to 397196CNBanxico #5096
50c A         includes numbers 029228CNBanxico #5152 to 044219
C         includes number 033002CNBanxico #5154
D         includes number 40718CNBanxico #5153
E         includes number 041091CNBanxico #5155
F         includes numbers 036083CNBanxico #11469 to 050817CNBanxico #5150
Z         includes number 93456CNBanxico #5151
$1 A         includes numbers 003292CNBanxico #4910 to 070563CNBanxico #11470
B         straight B
includes numbers 025331CNBanxico #5003 to 191858CNBanxico #11471
        italic B
includes numbers 225686CNBanxico #5008 to 374394CNBanxico #4997
C         includes numbers 059603CNBanxico #4938 to 397435CNBanxico #4949
D         includes numbers 006816CNBanxico #5059 to 354826CNBanxico #5019
E         includes numbers 076620CNBanxico #4977 to 393222CNBanxico #5076
F         includes numbers 005494CNBanxico #4922 to 287500CNBanxico #4932
$5    1  6000  6,000 30,000
includes numbers 2977 to 4449CNBanxico #11475


Nothwithstanding Baz’s repeated assertions that this issue was covered by the state’s own resources in August he provided for the acquisition of bullion to be converted into coin and used for withdrawing these notes through six-monthly selection by lot. This would have taken years but the Convention left Toluca during the second week of October, either to join Villa or head for Morelos and the Zapatistas left soon after. Baz left on 14 October (and the next year resigned his generalship to continue his medical studies) and the Constitutionalists took over the same day. The next day their Jefe de las Operaciones, General de Brigada Alejo G. González, in his first decree nullified Baz’ issue.