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Compañía Occidental de Almacenaje

After 10 November 1919 the Comisión Monetaria in Guadalajara did not receive either silver or gold small denomination coins or the 50c and $1 notes that the Comisión issued in the capital in January 1920El Informador, Año III, Tomo X, Núm. 905, 29 March 1920 and the area gradually suffered from a lack of small change.

In early February it was reported that in most of the towns in the state, especially in the south, the following solution had been found. Four or five of the most reputable casas comerciales, would combine to issue a certain amount in bearer cheques (documentos comerciales al portador), payable at a fixed time and guaranteed by the credit of the issuers. The businesses would exchange these notes for goods or money, at the purchaser’s choice. When the time limit expired the notes would be collected and destroyed and the businesses would recover their depositsEl Informador, Año III, Tomo IX, Núm. 890, 3 February 1920.


Autlán is specifically mention in the El Informador article.


Likewise, Zapotlán is specifically mention in the El Informador article.


  date on note from to total
50c 12 March 1920  00001       includes numbers 00305 to 02550
$1 27 February 1920         includes number 7114


The Compañía Occidental de Almacenaje had been founded in 1908 and was controlled by two Americans, Alfred W. Geist and Arthur H. Brewer, who had made their fortunes in mining. This company issued cheques al portador. These were redeemable immediately and in unlimited quantities by the company, which had set aside enough funds to guarantee them. The company not only covered the cost of paper and print but also the 5c revenues stamp that each cheque required.

The notes were signed by Alfred W. Geist.

Alfred W. Geist

In June 1899 Geist purchased 90% of the stock of the Compañía Minera Unión en Cuale, therefore, gaining control of the mines and the land where the Las Peñas Commissary was located. This mining company, started in the mid 19th century, had acquired close to 60,000 hectares of land extending from the mining town of Cuale to the Bay of Banderas. The goal was to build a port which would allow access to all kinds of products, machinery and tools for mining, salt for silver, supplies and other objects such as clothing, wine, furniture and luxury items for the mountain population. The outcome was the town of Puerta Vallarta.

sig Geist


These notes were well received by the general public though they became the object of speculation by ‘coyotes’El Informador, Año III, Tomo IX, Núm. 872, 25 February 1920. However, on 27 March the Secretaría de Hacienda referred the matter to the Procurador General de Justicia as it claimed it breached the government’s monopoly on issuing currencyEl Informador, Año III, Tomo X, Núm. 904, 28 March 1920. A local newspaper hoped that the Secretario, so keen on the law, would ensure that Jalisco received the coins or even vales it needed before he forced the Compañía Occidental de Almacenaje cheques to disappearEl Informador, Año III, Tomo X, Núm. 905, 29 March 1920. The company secretary, E. Breckweldt, wrote to the paper to explain that the company had not issued cheques but limited itself to lending money (in oro nacional metálico), receiving it on deposit and opening current accounts. Account holders made use of cheques drawn on the company, in accordance with the Código de ComercioEl Informador, 30 March 1920. Experts (the Administrador del Timbre and Admininistrador de Correos of Guadalajara and the Administrador Principal del Timbre in Sayula) were tasked with deciding whether the documents issued were really cheques, as the company claimed, or paper moneyEl Informador, 10 April 1920 and in June decided that they were cheques al portadorEl Informador, 10 June 1920. A convenient resolution because by this time the problem has passed.

On 27 July 1920 a Visitador of the Comisión Monetaria reported that there was enough paper money in circulation in GuadalajaraFideicomiso Archivos Plutarco Elías Calles y Fernando Torreblanca, [     ].