Banknotes of Mexico
Collecting banknotes from Mexico is entering a specific and endless universe, a world as vast as that of the paper numismatics of its neighbor the USA, which is saying something.
If we leave aside the precursors, of which we can still find cancelled copies, we can retain 3 main periods, each teeming with types and varieties:
- the period of private commercial banks: it concerns the last quarter of the 19th century until 1914, including the unbroken presidency of Porfirio Díaz. From a numismatic point of view, it is, in my opinion, a kind of little paradise, with very aesthetic banknotes, very representative of the time, and of which a substantial number can be found at globally low prices compared to their real rarity; only downside: do not be put off by pitiful conditions, a F grade is sometimes already a remarkable quality, with the exception of some types not issued and which found themselves en masse on the numismatic market. But this is the paper money that the 7 mercenaries could have in their pockets during their Mexican getaway!
- the troubled period of the Mexican revolution straddled the previous one and spanned from 1910 to 1917 with issues from 1913. The appearance of banknotes, the quality of the paper and the printing brought these denominations closer to the notes of necessity. Let's say that unless he is bitten, the generalist collector will often be satisfied with a few copies offering a small panel and will stop there.
- the period of the state bank, with in particular the bank "Banco de Mexico" from 1925. To put it simply, small values are easily found from the 1940s, and large ones from the 1950s; the collection by type leads to looking for a good hundred banknotes but, if we go into the details of the dates and even more of the signatures (whose combinations change overall for each series), the variants are innumerable…
Let us return to the numismatics of the period of local commercial banks.
Overall and to have a clear idea, small and medium values (up to 100 pesos) can be found; on the other hand, very strong facials (500 and 1000 pesos) are often extremely rare in issue and most often appear in the form of undated and unsigned specimens.
In addition, especially the small current circulation values, but sometimes also the strongest, have frequently been overprinted for branches: the interested collector will be able to daydream in front of the very long list of numbers of the specialized World Paper Money (WPMS) for "el Banco Nacional de Mexico ”(see in particular PS257 & S258). Let there be no mistake: despite the odds increased by 30 to 50% compared to the standard type, these are often great rarities and we can be happy to have a few.
The 10 pesos of "El banco de Querétaro"
The note presented here is a 10 pesos from "El banco de Querétaro", bank active from 1903 to 1915 and which operated in 3 states of central Mexico: Querétaro, Guanajuato and Michoacán. It issued a whole range of values: 1 and 2 pesos, only in 1914, and 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 pesos from 1903, the 1000 pesos only existing in proof and specimen. Printed by the American Bank Note Company (ABNC) in New York, like all values from 5 to 1000 pesos (the 1 and 2 pesos having been printed locally), the 10 pesos presented on the front, on the left, the portrait of 'a little girl identified by the WPMS as Guadalupe Obregón (from the family of Álvaro Obregón, Mexican politician?), and on the right the coats of arms of the State of Querétaro. On the back, a steam train passes under an aqueduct. Built in the 18th century, this stone building emblematic of the region, measures over 28 m high and 1,300 m long ... and is famous even in chocolate bars!
Current banknote inventory
Although currently in use, the 10 pesos are all in the A series, for a total number of around 100,000 copies, divided into 3 references in the WPMS. By deepening this classification, this gives:
1) PS391a1: note dated 1/11/1895. This reference certainly does not exist since "el Banco de Guanajuato" was not founded until 1903!
2) PS391a2: note dated 15/1/1906. We found 7 copies:
- 23136 (ATSnotes),
- 29649 (banxico.org.mx),
- 32543 (VG / F, sold for $ 65 on eBay in April 2020),
- 38484, 38596 (VG, sold for $ 53 at Heritage Auctions in October 2009),
- 41899 (Banknote.ws),
- 44153 (with 16 other copies in G, sold for $ 104 at Heritage Auctions in October 2009. Numbers not visible).
3) S391b: note dated 10/4/1914. We found 28 copies:
- 21064 (graded PMG53 "about uncirculated" but banknote that, for my part, I estimate at best VF+, sold $ 197.50 on eBay in May 2020),
- 22510, 48158 and 52248 (VF, sold $ 126.50 at Heritage Auctions in October 2009),
- 23505, 36152 and 54064 (F to VF, sold $ 99 at Heritage Auctions in October 2009),
- 25172 (VF, sold $ 31 on ebay in October 2018),
- 26175 (VF, sold $ 85 at Stack's Bowers in August 2018),
- 26740, 32543 (VF, lot of 4 banknotes of 5 and 10 pesos sold $ 120 at Heritage Auctions in January 2020),
- 28803 (F +, sold € 130 at Numiscollection),
- 30070, 39635 and 43896 (sold $ 89 at Heritage Auctions in October 2009),
- 30501, 40620 and 57873 (F, sold for $ 74 at Heritage Auctions in October 2009),
- 42499 (banxico.org.mx),
- 45281 (Mexican auction site),
- 46693 (VF / EF offered at WorthPoint.com, but final price not known),
- 47157 (VF, sold $ 65 at Stack's Bowers in January 2019),
- 49219 (XF, sold € 150 + 20% at Christoph Gäertner in June 2019),
- 49232 (PMG 63 EPQ, sold $ 336 at Heritage Auctions in July 2019),
- 51338 (PMG 30 VF, sold for $ 100 on eBay in June 2020),
- 52133 (coinfactswiki.com. San Dimas collection),
- 57177 (Banknote.ws),
- 58039 (VF, lot of 3 banknotes of 1, 2 and 10 pesos sold $ 101.05 at Heritage Auctions in June 2014).
4) PS391c1: note dated 30/7/1903 (original date) and overprinted IRAPUATO. We found 4 copies:
- 03223 (banxico.org.mx),
- 07432 (Banknote.ws),
- 08184 (our copy in the photo above),
- 13734 (banxico.org.mx),
5) S391c2: note dated 15/1/1906 and overprinted IRAPUATO. We found 4 copies:
- 47727 (coinfactswiki.com - San Dimas collection),
- 53733 (mercadolibre.com.mx, VG grade),
- 59085 (banxico.org.mx),
- 59906 (mercadolibre.com.mx, offered the equivalent of € 150 in F grade).
We get a total of 59 copies (if we add the 16 banknotes without numbers from HA)!
Note: the overprint for the city of Irapuato, located in the neighboring state of Guanajuato, also concerned 5, 20, 50, 100 and 500 pesos of the same series. The reason for this overprint is not clear to us since the bank "Banco de Guanajuato" existed in Guanajuato, but that it too has overlprinted some of its denominations for Irapuato (Cf. PS289e or D290d). And there are also overpriced “el Banco Nacional de Mexico” banknotes IRAPUATO (S257t, 258x, 259q). We can only assume that the city, still thriving today, especially thanks to the richness of its soils, was an economic center of extreme importance.
A fairly rare banknote ... and ultimately very affordable!
In the end, our note was purchased for € 45, a price in accordance with its rating (G: $ 40 F: $ 125 XF: $ 375). The small number of copies noted for this note confirms, however, that it is not so common and, compared to contemporary banknotes from the Banque of France like the 20 francs "Blue", of which a hundred are currently on sale, we can say that the availability / odds ratio is very in favor of the Mexican banknote!