Print runs of the Monclova issue

As stated earlier, in his informe to Congress in 1917 Carranza said that there were five million pesos in the Monclova issueInforme of Carranza, 15 April 1915 as specified in the original decree. In his letter of 14 May 1913AIF, RM/II. I-015 Carranza, Piedras Negras, 14 May 1913 he said that the five million should be distributed as follows:

 Seriestotaltotal
value
$1 A 1,000,000 $1,000,000
$5 B 200,000 1,000,000
$10 C 100,000 1,000,000
$20 D 50,000 1,000,000
$50 E 10,000 500,000
$100 F 5,000 500,000
      $5,000,000

 

On 11 January 1914 Carranza was writing to Robert V. Pesqueira in Washington to discuss another issue of $15,000,000CEHM, Fondo MVIII telegram Carranza, Navojoa to Pesqueira, Washington, 11 January 1914. On 14 January he told Rafael Zubarán to ask Heriberto Barron to ask a Los Angeles printing house for the price of printing $25,000,000 in notesCEHM, Fondo MVIII telegram Carranza, Navojoa to Zubarán, Hermosillo, 14 January 1914; telegram Zubarán, Hermosillo, to Barron, Los Angeles,14 January 1914. On the same day he wrote to Pesqueira in Washington about an issue, but unfortunately in codeCEHM, Fondo MVIII telegram Carranza, Navojoa to Pesqueira, Washington, 14 January 1914. However, this new issue was to be as followsCEHM, Fondo XXI-4 and Fondo MVIII telegram Carranza to Zubarán (and since it included $50 and $100 denominations must be Monclova notes):

 totaltotal
value
$1 10,000,000 $10,000,000
$5 1,000,000 5,000,000
$10 400,000 4,000,000
$20 100,000 2,000,000
$50 40,000 2,000,000
$100 20,000 2,000,000
    $25,000,000

 

On 22 January Serapio Aguirre, Carranza's Tesorero General de la Federación wrote to the Secretario del Gobierno in Hermosillo asking him to commission someone who, with the oversight of someone from Aguirre’s office, would print facsimile signatures on to the Gobierno Constitucionalista de México notes, that would Aguirre would be sendingAHES, Fondo Oficialidad Mayor, tomo 2993, letter Aguirre, 22 Jauary 1914. A handwritten note says the letter should be shown to a Sr. Monteverde. On 29 January the governor passed the request on to the Director of the government printing press AHES, Fondo Oficialidad Mayor, tomo 2993 Oficial Primero, Hermosillo, to Director de la Imprenta del Gobierno del Estado, Hermosillo, 29 January 1914.

On 23 January Carranza, sent a telegram to Pesqueira that he was surprised that to date he had received less than half of the five million in notes. Moreover, Pesqueira and Cabrera had not given any information to him about the new issue of 15 million, made with the same clichés and changing just the date and place of issue. Pesqueira was to apply himself exclusively to that taskCEHM, Fondo MVIII telegram Carranza, Culiacán to Roberto V. Pesqueira, Washington, 23 January 1914. At the end of January, Carranza told Zubarán that it was not convenient to have the printing done in Los Angeles, so leaving the matter in Pesqueira’s handsCEHM, Fondo MVIII. So it is likely that the second issue was printed in Washington.

In agreement with this version the standard catalogue, Mexican Paper Money, identifies two issues and believes both to be genuine. It states that “the early issue of the 5, 10 and 20 peso notes, aside from having lower serial numbers than the late series, bears a much lower quality engraving. The logical improvement in engraving came with the later series. The denomination in letters, which appears on the back of the 5, 10, and 20 peso notes is much larger on the late series than on the early series. It would be illogical to suppose that a counterfeiter would make such a radical change in design on all denominations". These differences are considered in detail below. However, considering that

  1. a major difference is in the signatures which were not originally printed on the notes but hand-signed or stamped (and there is not a clean break between lower serial numbers and smaller signatures and higher serial numbers and larger (and printed) signatures;
  2. the $1 notes have only six-digit serial numbers (which implies a maximum of 999,999 notes before some alternative sequencing arrangement is necessary, and the higher values, though they have seven digits, are known in only limited ranges of numbers

is it heretical to suggest that

  1. Carranza was correct when he stated that the Monclova issue was for five million pesos;
  2. despite Zubarán and Pesqueira's efforts another issue never materialised (their efforts being overtaken by the Ejército Constitucionalista notes, and consequently
  3. most notes are counterfeit?

Again, whilst acknowledging that there are such obvious differences in design and the manner of applying the signatures, which seem to imply different print runs, is it possible to distinguish between legitimate printing and the various counterfeits, particularly since many of the counterfeits were stated to be such excellent copies?