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Modern Mexican Notes Challenging
By Neil Shafer, NLG, Bank Note Reporter
August 22, 2012

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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It appears that most collectors think of notes from modern Mexico as always being there when/if you want them. Nothing could be further from the truth; in point of fact, paper money from this country has undergone and is still undergoing many major changes that are leaving a number of issues in very short supply.



Earlier Issues

First let me give you some background. For a long time the Banco de Mexico used notes made only by ABNC, beginning with the larger size pieces in 1925, continuing through the introduction of smaller size notes 10 years later and lasting uninterruptedly until the late 1960s. There were some rather subtle design changes, but overall the look of each denomination had remained pretty much the same. At that time bank officials decided to bring in totally new designs gradually and to have all further issues printed in Mexico.

ABNC had printed notes in the following denominations: one, five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000 and 10,000 pesos.

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The new issue of locally produced notes started out with five pesos as the lowest value, followed by 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 pesos. The earliest of these was the 10 pesos, first issued on Sept. 16, 1969.

These basic designs lasted quite a number of years as the Mexican peso became an inflated currency, finally stabilizing in 1992. Some of these pieces went through a number of major design alterations, and some of them are now getting difficult to locate, especially in high grade.



First Major Changes

Value by value, let’s look at what they have to offer. The five pesos came out on Dec. 3, 1969 and lasted only up to June 27, 1972 as creeping inflation rendered it almost useless. The design remained unchanged for this brief three-year period. The 10 and 20 pesos were similarly treated, the former issued from 1969 to 1977 and the latter from 1972 to 1977. The 50 and 100 pesos designs first appeared in 1973 and 1974, respectively, and with but a single minor change (from three to four signatures) for each went through to 1981 and 1982.

It was with the introduction of the 500 pesos denomination in 1979 that the value of the Mexican peso apparently began a real slide. It followed the lower values with the three-to-four signatures alteration, but in 1983 there was a basic change in its appearance—the watermark was eliminated and design elements placed in that area instead. Letters S.A. were also removed from the bank heading. The denomination was suspended in 1984 in favor of higher values.

The 1,000 pesos made its initial appearance in 1978. The major alteration of the elimination of letters S.A. from the bank title on both sides took place in 1983. A radiant quill pen appeared in the watermark area in mid-1984, and production ceased for the entire denomination the next year.

A 2,000-peso note was introduced in 1983; with only a couple of minor plate changes it was issued until 1989. A 5000-peso was next—a handsome piece on a light bluish paper with military cadets at left on face and a prominent watermark area on right. Chapultepec Castle was shown on back.

First issued in 1981, the initial change came two years later when letters S.A. were removed from bank titles. The watermark elimination came about in 1985 as notes were made on different paper with new design elements added. This value was continued until 1989.

The 10,000 pesos note was first made available late in 1981 with Gen. (later President) Cardenas at right and watermark area at left. Paper used was a yellow-green shade. The letters S.A. came off the bank title at the same time as other denominations, during 1983. Along with the others, its watermark was removed and design elements placed in that area beginning a bit later, in 1987, and lasting until 1991 and the end of the inflationary period. But higher values were yet to come.

A trio of still higher denominations with attractive designs followed: 20,000 pesos in 1985, 50,000 pesos in 1986 and finally 100,000 pesos in 1988. Only the 20,000 went through the major design changes consisting of watermark removal and extension of design elements; this alteration occurred in 1988 and lasted until 1989. The 50,000 stayed the same for its entire life of four years. The 100,000 saw only a brief circulation time of three years.



Revaluation of 1992

A revaluation took place in 1992 at a rate of 1,000 old pesos to one new peso. In order to expedite the transition, four old designs of the latest inflation period were revived and reissued only during that year. All transitional notes bear the same date of 31.07.1992, and they consisted of 10, 20, 50 and 100 nuevos pesos.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting. Some of those first transitional notes are now quite hard to find, especially in choice grade, because they were in such high demand all over Mexico as the revalued pieces.

Later that same year a whole set of brand new notes was authorized, also in nuevos pesos. This group represents a complete departure from anything else that had come before. The lowest three values were quite a bit smaller than their older counterparts and all once more bore the same date, this time 10.12.1992, though apparently actually issued in 1994. Denominations were extended to include 200 and 500 nuevos pesos.

It was not very long until even these new notes in nuevos pesos were changed so that their denominations were expressed only in pesos, though their basic designs remained very similar to the issue they were replacing. This renewal of the peso value included all notes, and their beginning date was 06.05.1994. Of these, the 10 pesos was dropped in 1996 but the rest continued in use with various new twists to their issuance through the years. Some have gone to the use of polymer (20, 50, new 100 pesos) while others continue to be made on paper. There have been a number of changes in security features as well as printing, but I cannot discuss them at this point as I have not seen enough examples to be sure of exactly what has taken place.



Commemorative Notes of 2000

With minimal fanfare the Banco de Mexico issued a complete set of notes in 2000 honoring the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the bank. As I understand it the whole set was released through normal channels, resulting in great difficulty in securing a number of the higher values in uncirculated condition. A special line of text was placed under the bank heading on these pieces; otherwise they were the same as their regular issue counterparts. They are virtually never seen in circulation any more.



Later Issues

A perfectly lovely 1,000 pesos featuring Miguel Hidalgo was issued in 2002 that has turned into a very scarce single-year type that will probably become highly desirable before too long. A new 200-peso note was issued in 2007 with portrait of Juana de Asbaje that may also turn out to be a one-year type that will be difficult to find. I know it took me quite by surprise. A couple of attractive new commemoratives were released in recent years, a polymer 100-peso dated 20.11.1907 for the centenary of the Mexican Revolution, and a 200-peso piece in paper dated 15.09.2008 using a vertical format for the 2010 bicentennial of Mexican independence.



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