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Gobierno Provisional de México – Veracruz issues

On 19 September 1914 in Mexico City Venustiano Carranza had decreed the creation of an Interior Debt of $130m, by means of the issue of paper currency, in six values ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100) and six Series (A-F respectively). These were the “Gobierno Provisional de México” notes of 28 September and 20 October 1914. During the first days of December 1914, due to pressure from the Conventionist government, Carranza decided to move the capital of the Constitutionalist government to Veracruz.

From Veracruz, Carranza continued to produce notes dated 1 December 1914 and 5 February 1915. On 3 February 1915 Carranza added a $2 Series G note as part of the $130m Interior Debt.

The Oficina Impresora de Billetes began printing on 2 December. In his first fortnightly report, Pascual Ortiz Rubio told Carranza that up to 16 December they had printed 7,454 $100, 164,526 $5.00 and 156,750 $1 notes, a total of $1,724,780. The Tesorería had already received $455,000 and would get the rest the next day once the seals had driedAIF.

On 12 May 1915 Anastasio Rojas, the contador of the Oficina Impresora de Billetes in Veracruz, in a report, acknowledged that $42,625,000 had been printed in Mexico City and also gave details for notes printed in Veracruz, New York and four local printing departments, totaling $150,120,951. He thus, in passing, acknowledged six different sources for Veracruz notesCEHM, Fondo-XXI, carpeta 39, legajo 4265. As well as Veracruz and New York Rojas list four print departments, viz. Madero, Marinoni, Miguelena and Tórculos. MarinoniMarinoni presses were made by the French company of Hippolyte Auguste Marinoni. To promote their machines at the Exposition Universelle of 1878 Marinoni published a brochure in which they mentioned that Monsieur Marinoni was awarded the Légion d'Honneur in 1875 pour "notables progrès à l'imprimerie, par les perfectionnements qu'il a introduite dans la construction des machines typographiques." His machines were rotary printing presses, most of which used the rotogravure process. A pedal operated press, shown at the Universal Exposition in 1889, could also be motor-driven. It could be flat or cylindrically inked depending on the model and had a mechanical sheet receiver and TórculosA Tórculos is a printing press that uses the intaglio process. Carvallo's La Lapiz Azul had the only suitable torculo in Veracruz, if the newspaper report was techically specific (El Pueblo, Año I, Tomo I, Núm. 68, 13 December 1914) were types of presses whilst Madero and Miguelena would have been honorific names. So, these could have been four different locations or four different printing machines within one location, such as the printing firm “La Lapiz Azul”, owned by J. L. Carvallo and located at Independencia 22. Carvallo apparently had the only suitable press in Veracruz and, when asked, offered it for freeEl Pueblo, Año I, Tomo I, Núm. 68, 13 December 1914. On 5 January 1915 Carranza wrote ordering "La Lapiz Azul" to print low-value notes of $1, $5, $10 and $20 and higher-value notes of $100 and $200AHSDN, XI/481.5/304, caja 143, ff. 15-17.

At some time those printing the currency in the Oficina Impresora de Billetes in Veracruz went on strike. As the money was needed to pay the troops Carranza, through the Secretaría de Hacienda, agreed that all the printers employed by the Government were workers assigned to military service and thus subject to Juárez’ law of 25 January 1862 which punished sedition with death.

On 18 June 1915 Carranza issued a decree increasing the total value of his issue to $200m, and he also authorized printing $42,625,000 to replace the Mexico notes that he recalled. Finally, on 15 April 1917 in a report to Congress on the currency situation Carranza stated that his government had issued $42,625,000 in Mexico notes (obviously agreeing with the analysis above) and an astounding $599,329,221 in Veracruz notesAIF, RM/III 4-011 El papel moneda en la revolución.

In April 1916 El Pueblo recorded that the government was going to acquire a new press from the United States. This machine was very fast because in one operation it wet the paper, dried it, gave a satin finish, printed on it and added contraseñas, cut it and made up packages of one hundred notes. Fernando Fernández, Chief Engraver of the Stamp Printing Office, had seen the machine in operation in the United States. If aquired, it would be used for printing the $1 and $2 notesEl Pueblo, Año III, Tomo 1, Núm. 540, 20 April 1916.

In classifying these various issues one should refer to Elmer Powell's work on printer's imprints, titles and underprints. Other distingushing features are the typography of 'SERIE' (with and without accent on 'E' and dot on 'I') and the design of the lower lefthand roundel.