Private issues in the revolution

Yucatan privatesOn 19 November 1913, William T. Gracey, the American consul in Progresso, reported to Nelson O’Shaughnessy, the American Charge d’Affaires in Mexico City, that the local situation had been exacerbated by the shortage of silver and the fact that the banks were holding onto currency to guarantee their own banknotes. As a consequence money was tight, and hacendados and shop keepers were desperate for funds to pay their employees and make change. Mexican pesos sold in Merida at a premium of from 10% to as high as 17% in small quantities.

On 1 July 1914 the governor Prisciliano Cortes sent a circular to all the Jefes Políticos in the state, stating that he had noticed that not only in Mérida but in the rest of the state, people had issued various forms of paper money (vales, cheques, órdenes para entrego de mercancías y otros documentos ó valores), contrary to the Code of Commerce and the Ley General de Instituciones de Crédito. This hurt the poorer classes and impeded or even prevented the circulation of legal money or banknotes. He therefore ordered all these types of documents to be withdrawn within three days with the issuers told that if they continue to put them into circulation they would be punished according to the lawDiario Oficial, Yucatán, Año XVII, Núm. 5107, 6 July 1914.

Although Cortés refers to many examples, little has survived.


La Cámara de Comercio de Yucatán

In his report, Gracey said that the Chamber of Commerce in Merida had taken to issuing notes in small denominations, guaranteed by funds paid in by merchants. However, the Chamber of Commerce was a new institution and there was a general feeling of insecurity over purchasing these notes.

Three days later, O’Shaughnessy reported to the State Department that during the previous week the Chamber of Commerce had issued $1 vales. These were being generally accepted by people, but were not available for payment of government charges at the post office, customs house etc.

These notes are dated 15 November and carry the signature of the merchant on the front and facsimile signatures of the vice-president Augusto M. Alvarez, secretary Manuel Zapata Casa[ ] and treasurer Donaciano Ponce on the reverse. One has W. A, Young whilst another has [          ].

Camara 1 25122

and another [               ] González.

Camara 1 0103

  from to total
signed by code  
$1           abec includes number 0103
          alfo includes number 25122CNBanxico #12407
        W. A. Young ranu includes number 60098


Augusto M. Alvarez sig Alvarez
Manuel Zapata Casa[ ] sig Zapata
Donaciano Ponce sig Ponce
W. A. Young sig Young
  sig Camara Yucatan
  sig Gonzalez CC


On 2 February 1914 an editorial in El Diario on the problem of small change reported that it had received letters from Mérida about the lack of small change and the depreciation of the vales issued to address itEl Diario, 2 February 1914.

These will have been withdrawn as a consequence of Cortés’ circular so the Cámara supported the Comisión Reguladora’s proposal to issue fractional currency.


Molino de Granos

A 10c note from the local grain mill.