A shortage of small change
In the beginning of 1880 the shortage of coins led small businesses (los comerciantes al por menor) to give change in pieces of paper, soap or tin. Since these were not freely negotiable the purchaser had to use them in the same establishment. A newspaper said the answer was to mint more coins but in the meantime the authorities should impose heavy fines in the abusersLa Libertad, 3 February 1880.
Another article in El Minero Mexicano in 1881 stated that, because of the lack of coins for values less than 5c, businesses resorted to soap, hide, lead and to vales al portador, which were very common in the capitalEl Minero Mexicano, 28 April 1881.
However, the problem did not go away as in July 1889 a newspaper reported that it was customary to issue small vales in cardboard or paper because of the lack of tlacos (1/8 real coins). These were often refused, even by the issuers, because of their illegibility and ill treatment. The paper called to the authorities to enforce article 979 of the Código de Commerce, that prohibited such issuesEl Nacional, 6 July 1889.