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Pancho Villa’s Revolutionary Currency

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550.     [VILLA, PANCHO]. CHIHUAHUA. BANCO DEL ESTADO DE CHIHUAHUA. Ornate illustrated engraved currency: [Recto, printed in black on multicolored underprint of orange and blue, lettering in black and red] 10 Serie A. No. 033126 El Banco del estado de Chihuahua pagará al portador en efectivo según decreto del 12 de Diciembre de mil novecientos trece [illustration of two vaqueros herding cattle, train and town in distance] Chihuahua, México X Diez Pesos Valor Oro Nacional X…American Bank Note Co. New York [verso, printed in orange on pale yellow background] 10 Banco del estado de Chihuahua [center with illustration of Mexican eagle with snake] American Bank Note Company, New York. New York, 1913. 8.1 x 17.8 cm. Very fine.

     During the Mexican Revolution, Villa as governor of Chihuahua established the Bank of the State of Chihuahua by decree on December 12, 1913, with the idea of supporting land reform in Chihuahua by lending money to farmers, ranchers, and small entrepreneurs at reasonable rates of interest. The Bank never began operation as intended, but instead became a holding company for confiscated lands and assets of the aristocracy. No formal issuance of the notes occurred, but a few examples made their way into circulation in 1915, being used by local militia leaders to pay their troops. This is a superb example of the iconography of currency, perfectly embodying the political spirit of those authorizing its issue.

     The American Bank Note Company traces its history back to ca. 1795 when the newly independent United States experienced a rise in international trade that increased the demand for banks and bank note currency. The Company is still in existence and has maintained the highest standards of excellence, craftsmanship, and artistry. The present note is among the more exotic examples of their work and colorful documentation from the height of Villa’s career, after he seized Chihuahua with his army of Chihuahua vaqueros.


Sold. Hammer: $100.00; Price Realized: $120.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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