Until 1958 the United States prohibited any full-scale photographic reproduction of its paper money. This included the use of American money in films because it was feared that a single frame of the negative could be enlarged onto a printing plate from which passable counterfeits could be made.
Film studios therefore had to use alternatives, especially the worthless but colourful leftovers from the Mexican revolution. The most common were the genuine $5, $10 and $20 Banco del Estado de Chihuahua, which were in such large supply that many of them continued to masquerade as American dollars well into the 1940s. As the hoards of obsolete notes became depleted, however, the film industry produced their own issues, often modifying the revolutionary currency.
These included the following based on Chihuahua notes.
Notes based on the $5 Banco del Estado de Chihuahua
|$5||A||103774||black on white||black on white|
|103777||black on white||black on white|
|103779||black on white||black on white|
|242093||black on white||black on white|
Notes based on the $10 Banco del Estado de Chihuahua
|black and orange||green|
|$10||A||147886||black on grey paper, very crude printing, note has been cut down so a large portion of the design is missing|
|$100||A||004187||black on white with green serial number, small size (155mm x 68mm)||green with same design|
|Villa on horseback: brown||blue|
Notes based on the $20 Banco del Estado de Chihuahua
|$20||A||056117||black and orange||orange|
Notes based on the $1 dos caritas
|$1||L||6908963||UN PESO, black on white||green|
|6908959||ONE DOLLAR black on white||green|
Notes based on the $10 dos caritas
|$10||N||1881253||10 TEN DOLLARS, black on white||green|
|$50||N||1327924||FIFTY DOLLARS, black on white||green|
|FIFTY DOLLARS, black and green, small size (155mm x 68mm)||dark green|
|FIFTY DOLLARS, black and green, small size (150mm x 70mm)||light green|
|1201597||FIFTY, black and grey||black and grey|
Notes based on the $20 dos caritas
|$20||K||4476884||black on white||green|
Many of these notes came on to the market when the stock of Ellis Props & Graphics, the largest prop supply house in Hollywood, was auctioned.