25c notes of the Estado de Sonora
(This section is the result of research by Robert Perigoe. The information originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of the Journal of the U. S. Mexican Numismatic Association).
The sample of 25 centavo notes sounds somewhat promising, with 38 separate examples for the four series. However, only two of these are actual notes, the rest being reproductions. The 50 centavos study group, on the other hand, sounds like a trove. There are a total of 69 notes represented, and 45 of them are actuals, not reproductions. Unfortunately, almost all of those (37) are from the fourth series, leaving just five actual notes in the first three series combined.
These two denominations appear to have been printed together, judging by the apparent consistency in seal placements and numbering patterns. They still differ in their basic printing characteristics.
The easiest way to identify the four different plate positions is by examining the eagle seal on the reverse of the note.
|Small - with spot||Small - No spot|
|Normal 'C'||Broken 'C'|
In Position A, the eagle seal is Small – With Spot. In Position B, it is Small – No Spot. In Position C, it is Large – Normal ‘C’. In Position D, it is Large – Broken ‘C’.
The front of the note also affords certain tedious type-setting distinctions that enable identification of the printing positions. Only in Position A is the font of the ‘2’ in ’25cts.’ the correct size in both of the left corners. It is the wrong size in one corner or the other in the other positions. In Position B, the uprights of the ‘P’ in ‘PAGARA’ and the ‘D’ in ‘ESTADO’ are aligned on both sides. In Position C, the diagonal stroke of the ‘R’ in Sonora does not extend below the print line whereas it does in the other positions. And only in Position D is the comma after ‘HERMOSILLO’ centred above the space to the left of the ‘S’ in ‘DE LA S.’. Suddenly, the eagle seal is a very attractive tell.
It is likely that each of the four series of 25 centavo notes was printed in a single setting of 100 runs of 100 sheets.
Second through Fourth Series
The key difference between the first series and the three that followed is that their print area had to be slightly longer to provide room for the series number to be displayed, which also meant there was less space available for margins.
In the second through fourth series, there was a change in the distribution of the eagle seals on the backs used in all four print positions. On Position A, the eagle seal is now Large – Broken ‘C’. On B, it became Large – Normal ‘C’. On C, it is now Small – With Spot. And D now sports Small - No Spot.
On the fronts, the distinguishing features outlined for Positions C and D in the first series remained the same. In Positions A and B, changes were made that remained in place for all three remaining series. In Position B, the top of the cap of the ‘5’ in ‘25 cts’ in the lower left corner is straight, whereas on the other three Positions it is curved. Position A simply shows none of the other tells.
The hand seals used for both the second and third series are now types 2, 3, 4 and 1, appearing in Positions A through D respectively. This is a strong indication that these two series were part of the same print session.
For the fourth series, the same four hand seals are used, but transposed. Types 4, 1, 2, 3 are now found in Positions A through D respectively. This change strongly implies an interruption before this final print session.