El Banco de San Luis Potosí

There was an early attempt to establish a bank when, on 7 October 1889, a concession was granted to Manuel Saavedra and the company that he was organising but it was unable to raise the necesary deposit of $30,000 in bonds within the six months time-limit and the contract was declared void.

In May 1897, Matías Hernández Soberón, Gerardo and Eduardo Meade, Ramón Alcázar, Donato de Chapeaurouge and the firms J. H. Bahnsen y Cía., Rivero y Liaño, Aresti y Cía., and Hugo Scherer y Cía., formed an association to gain the concession for a bank of issue in San Luis Potosí. They nominated Gerardo and Eduardo Meade, J. H. Bahnsen y Cía. and Ramón Alcázar to negotiate with the Secretaría de HaciendaASLP, RPPC, Jesús Hernández Soto, inscrip. 267, 14 October 1897. The concession was granted on 15 June 1897Diario de la Federación, 15 June 1897, its conditions satisfied on 15 September and President Diaz gave his approval on 24 September.

These people were already involved in some form of banking. In 1889, the Trades Directory listed a “Banco Matías Hernández Soberón”, a “Banco Ignacio Muriel” and a “Banco Aresti y Compañía” (the firm to which Tomás Olavarría belonged).

The initial capital was $500,000, which increased almost immediately to $1,100,000. The shareholders were Mexicans such as Hernández Soberón, Meade, Ribero, Liaño and Olavarría among others, as well as foreigners from the area. To be a member of the board, one had to be from San Luis Potosí or Guanajuato and hold at least 50 of $1,000 apiece.

The bank took a ten year lease on 1a calle de Hidalgo núm. 2 and opened to the public on 15 OctoberMemorias de las Instituciones de Crédito correspondientes á los años de 1897-1899, tomo II.

The first board, chosen on 4 October, were Hernández Soberón, presidente; Eduardo Meade, vicepresidente; Guillermo R. Peterson (a partner in Bahnsen y Cía.) primer vocal; Tomás Olavarría (an old partner of Aresti y Cía.), segundo vocal; Manuel Rivero Soberón (partner and manager of Rivero y Liaño), tercer vocal; Enrique Schroeder (partner in Bahnsen y Cía.) comisario propietario, and Pedro Barrenechea, comisario suplente ASLP, RPPC, Jesús Hernández Soto, inscrip. 267, 14 de octubre de 1897. Therafter the board demonstrated a remarkable continuity, with family networks and successions.

The bank established a branch in León, Guanajuato on 28 February 1898Memorias de las Instituciones de Crédito correspondientes á los años de 1897-1899, tomo II. It then established an agency to exchange its notes in Celaya, which became a branch on 3 December 1898}Memorias de las Instituciones de Crédito correspondientes á los años de 1897-1899, tomo II.These branches were governed by juntas de administración; that of León originally was composed of Ramón Alcázar, presidente; Enrique R. González, primer vocal; Emilio Bitrolff, segundo vocal; Andrés Pfeiffer, manager (gerente) and Rafael Villalobos, as cajero contador. In Celaya the junta was Agustín González, presidente; Eusebio González, primer vocal; Juan D. Argomedo, segundo vocal and Germán Koenigre, as manager.

Matías Hernández Soberón, who had been presidente since the foundation, died in March 1907 and was succeeded by Meade.

In July 1902 Eduardo Meade, vicepresidente of the Banco de San Luis Potosí, represented by his brother Gerardo, and Guillermo R. Peterson, Tomás Olavarría y Compañía S.C., Mariano Hernández Ceballos and Eugenio Labarthe, lawyer of Camilo Vallejo of Aguascalientes, formed a company to establish El Banco de AguascalientesASLP, RPPC, Jesús Hernández Soto, prot. 1902, insc. 2, “Constitución del Banco de Aguascalientes”, 2 July 1902.

On 31 January 1914 it was reported that the bank had signed a contract with a North American firm to print $500,000 in $1 notesEl Imparcial, 31 January 1914.

The last general meeting of the bank took place in San Luis Potosí on 2 May 1914, by which time the office had moved provisionally to Mexico City.

The Comisión Reguladora e Inspectora de Instituciones de Crédito decreeed its bankruptcy on 4 December 1915. The bank was finally liquidated in 1921.

On 31 July 1931 Charles T Blackmore, resident agent of the American Bank Note Company in Mexico City, wrote to the bank, care of the Comité Liquidador, asking whether it was convenient to destroy the plates. The Comité answered on 7 August and the plates were destroyed on 10 November 1931AGN, Fondo Comisión Monetaria/Antiguos Bancos de Emisión, caja 301.

American Bank Note Company print runs

The American Bank Note Company produced the following notes. It engraved the portrait of Mariano AristaJosé Mariano Martín Buenaventura Ignacio Nepomuceno García de Arista Nuez was born in San Luis Potosí on 26 July 1802. He was a noted veteran of many of Mexico’s wars, fighting under Iturbide and Santa Anna, and against the Texans in 1836 and Americans in 1846 -1848. He was a dedicated republican, and therefore opposed and ill-served in the last campaign by his largely conservative general staff. After his defeats at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma he was recalled but absolved of guilt at a subsequent court-martial. On 15 January 1851 he succeeded José Joaquín Herrera as president of Mexico but conservative resistance and an eventual revolt by the conservatives led to his resignation on 6 January 1853 and exile. He died in 1855. (C 217) and the state's coat of arms (C 645). Originally the serial letter A was engraved on the face plates but this was erased in August 1900.

SLP 5 A 33902

SLP 10 specimen

SLP 20 B 35996

SLP 50 specimen

SLP 100 C 5987

SLP 100 C 5987 reverse

SLP 500 C 664

Date Value Number Series from to
August 1897 $5 40,000  A 1 40000
$10 35,000 A 1 35000
$20 16,000 A 1 16000
$50 4,400  A 1 4400
$100 2,100  A 1 2100
$500 200 A 1 200
$1000 100 A 1 100


Date Value Number Series from to
February 1900 $100 500 A 2101 2600
$500 100 A 201 300
$1000 50 A 101 150


Date Value Number Series from to
August 1900 $5 25,000 B 40001 65000
$10 27,500 B 35001 62500
$20 20,000 B 16001 36000
$50 5,000 B 4401 9400
$100 3,000 B 2601 5600
$500 300 B 301 600
$1000 150 B 151 300


Date Value Number Series from to
March 1913 $5 40,000 C 65001 105000
$10 30,000 C 62501 92500
$20 15,000 C 36001 51000
$50 4,000 C 9401 13400
$100 2,500 C 5601 8100
$500 400 C 601 1000
$1000 200 C 301 500