Revalidations on sábanas
By December 1913, when the sábanas were issued, the Villistas controlled all of Chihuahua and much of the neighbouring states and as they swept south to Mexico City, the sábanas, and later the dos caritas, became the dominant currency. Accordingly the higher values (one peso and above) are known with a variety of validations.
These were primarily to indicate that a note was genuine and so will have begun to be used as soon as counterfeit notes became commonplace and confidence waned. There is a reference to resellos (probably on Monclova issues, which suffered from missing signatures) as early as 17 December 1913.
A lot of trouble about the Constitutionalist fiat money is beginning in the north. Merchants who fight shy of it are put in jail, regardless of nationality. Its appearance, to a careful, thrifty man, must be appalling. Bills have only one signature and any one holding them forges the missing signatures, or the nearest and most interested jefe politico affixes the stamp of his jefatura. The drawback is that it is difficult to get merchandise or food in exchangeEdith O’Shaughnessy, A Diplomat’s Wife in Mexico, New York, 1916.
Nevertheless, it will be seen that even the majesty of these seals could not overcome the public’s distrust.
With the plethora of issues in circulation and the resulting confusing amongst the general population validations were also used to confirm that a note was legal tender within a certain area (one can note the subtle distinction between ‘Este billete es de circulación forzosa’ and ‘Este billete es de circulaciión forzosa por ser autentico’) and could even be applied to one’s opponents’ issue if necessity dictated. Moreover, we should not underestimate the Mexican bureaucrats’ love of seals and other symbols of authority. To initial thousands of notes would be to most people a tiresome chore: to a Mexican it could be sheer pleasure.
Although the Chihuahuan Tesorería General and later its Departamento de Hacienda were deeply interested in maintaining the purity of the currency and sent out some commissions most validations were local, ephemeral affairs and few references exist. Information on these resellos is set out in the following pages.
On 20 September 1914 it was reported that all the sábanas (todos los billetes que fueron emitidos por la División del Norte del Ejército Constitucionalista que manda el Sr. Gral. Francisco Villa) were to be revalidated in the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público so that they could enter circulationEl Reformador, 21 September 1914. They would then be of forced circulation. This was to be a temporary measure until they were replaced. Many thousands of such notes were circulating in Mexico City, and generally accepted in small quantitiesLa Opinión, Veracruz, 21 September 1914: El Observador, Guanajuato, 24 September 1914.
Many of the resellos could have been consequent upon the Conventionalist decree of 17 December 1914, prescribing the revalidation of notes, and its later extension to include the sábanas, as outside of the capital (Cuernavaca or Mexico City) the Jefaturas de Haciendas and Administraciones Principales y Subalternas de la Renta de Timbre were designated as centres for revalidation.