El Descuento Español was established on 17 May 1904 by the Banco Oriental de México of Puebla with a capital of 3,000,000 pesos and headquarters in Mexico City to provide short-term finance. By 1913 it had its second branch (after San Luis Potosí) in Papantla.
In 1914 the branch in Papantla issued a series of notes in weird denominations (12c, 68c and 81c).
These notes were signed by Pastor Gutiérrez é hijo, who also signed the following.
Pastor Gutiérrez é hijo
Pastor Gutiérrez’ great-grandson records that in 1915, the government borrowed $30,000 in gold from the businessman to support and pay their troops and to buy arms and in turn authorised him to issue 30,000 $1 notes, for circulation in Papantla. Pastor Gutiérrez reluctantly agreed. The notes were printed by a local printer, Ramón Castañeda. After the revolution Pastor Gutiérrez asked for his $30,000 back in gold. When the government replied that it did not have gold but would pay in silver or legal tender, Gutiérrez replied that he would rather burn the notes as a mark of the government’s bad faith. He had recalled most of the $30,000 (some had been lost through use and some taken by Americans when they had come to purchase vanilla) and incinerated all of it. In the 80s a relative visited the World Trade Centre and bought at auction one of these notes for 10,000 U.S. dollars. A little later he acquired another at twice the price. There had been five notes in the World Trade Centre but the other three were lost on 9/11. The remaining two notes are in the Archivo Histórico de Papantla, in the home of Javier Gutiérrez Hernández, calle 5 de Mayo esquina Artes, Papantla Francisco Javier Gutiérrez Hernández, "Los billetes papantecos de Pastor Gutiérrez" in Cultura en Papantla, 17 April 2011.
A nice tale but as we know of a couple more $1 notes and of a single 50c note it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Some of the information (the names of the Jefe de Armas and the printer) can be drawn from the notes so the germs of truth could be
(1) that Gutiérrez was forced to make a loan to the authorities. In fact he probably had to make several and might well have not been repaid.
(2) that his issue amounted to $30,000
(3) that he recalled and then incinerated most of his notes.
Juan Blanno Moliterni was an Italian.
M. Garcia Guzman & Compañía