This monograph is chiefly due to the initiative of Mr. O. P. Eklund, whose specializing in "Minor Coinages" is well known, and who early realized the importance of the tokens issued by the haciendas of Mexico. The careful catalogue which comprises the major part of this publication is his work, save for some slight additions or modifications. A volume of rubbings of all the pieces which had come to his notice, including the collection formed by him and later acquired by Mr. Howard D. Gibbs, supplemented his manuscript. This was later amplified by the pieces acquired by The American Numismatic Society.
The pieces illustrated on the plates are part of the cabinet of The American Numismatic Society. Reference to the catalogue is made by number. Pieces bearing monograms are designated by letters on the plates, as they are not included in the alphabetical catalogue. Those described in the monograph, Los Tlacos Coloniales (Mexico, 1935), by Señor Manuel Romero de Terreros are so designated, and the ones he illustrates are asterisked.
The complicated coinage of Mexico has intrigued many numismatists and collectors. The War of Independence (1811–21), the era of Maximilian, and the Revolution of 1913–16, have all left indelible marks upon the country's coinage, and previous monographs published by The American Numismatic Society have considered some of the problems connected with this coinage. Our present concern is with the group of Mexico's coins, generally known as "Hacienda Tokens," which, because of the extended chronological period over which their issues extend, shares in the complexity. It provides an admirable illustration of the importance of a minor coinage in reflecting the life of a people. Inasmuch as definition is the best corrective for complexity, it will be well for us to digress long enough to obtain a comprehension of what the word "hacienda" involves. An excursus into the geography and agrarian economy of Mexico may be found not without value for other phases of that country's monetary history.
In 1923, The American Geographical Society published in its Research Series (No. 12) a volume entitled The Land Systems of Mexico, by George McCutchen McBride, in which the important part played by these units of the agricultural life of the country is given the prominence it deserves. We are under obligation to Dr. McBride for illuminating quotations which will afford the reader a better understanding of the situation than may be had by other than direct recourse to his book, which is now out of print. We make grateful acknowledgment for permission to quote.
One important statement must be made as a preliminary. The hacienda system which Dr. McBride has described so helpfully is gone. It has passed—just as the cowboy and the life of the range which figured so controllingly in the development of the West in our own country no longer exist. The political changes which have brought this about are not part of our study, but it is interesting to note that the transition is still going on and its course is providing a profitable field of observation to economists.
In reading what Dr. McBride has written, we must keep in mind that where he uses the present we must supply the past tense even though his book was written only twenty-five years ago.
"The haciendas of Mexico are the most conspicuous feature of the land system of the country. They give to agricultural Mexico its distinctive cast, and, by their great size, create the impression that the entire land is divided into vast rural estates. These properties, indeed, are the only type of agricultural holding immediately visible to the traveler in many parts of Mexico, just as the haciendado is the only type of agriculturist whose interests reach beyond the immediate neighborhood of his home.
"Many of the haciendas are of very great extent; it is estimated that 300 of them contain at least 25,000 acres each; 116 have not less than 62,500 acres; 51 have approximately 75,000 acres; while 11 are believed to have 250,000 acres apiece.* The Mexican hacienda seldom contains less than 25,000 acres—whether situated in the arid plans of the north, where land is worth little or nothing, or in the densely settled areas of the Mesa Central, where the price of land is high even in comparison with that of agricultural lands in other countries.
"The great size of these holdings is due, in part, to the fact that the typical hacienda aspires to be self-sustaining, and the variety of a countryside is taxed to render it independent. Hence, for the many different products required, different kinds of land must be included within its limits. In the first place, a large acreage of valley land is needed for the production of grain. These hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land form the nucleus of the estate. An haciendado would not, however, be satisfied to hold valley lands alone; for, in his economy, the products of the hills are only less important than those of the lowlands. Thus, the farm requires a supply of water, for irrigation as well as for the live stock; the hacienda must, therefore, include some stream, which should be controlled up to its headwaters in order to insure the undisputed use of the supply. Again, grazing land is needed for the herds of cattle, horses, sheep, and goats; this is found upon the parklike mountain sides and the alpine meadows. Timber, also, is a prime necessity and is derived either from the deciduous trees that grow along the lower mountain slopes or from the pine forests that clothe the tops of the higher ridges. The products even of the waste land are likewise essential, since from this are obtained stone and lime for building purposes, clay for adobe huts, coarse grass for thatched roofs, salt, and the wild fruits and herbs which are gathered for household use. The administration of such extensive properties necessarily presents great difficulties.
"The haciendas are settlements complete in themselves. Indeed, few of these estates have less than a hundred, while many of them have as many as a thousand, inhabitants. In Michoacán there are two haciendas, Huaracha and Buenavista, each of which maintains over two thousand persons; while in Morelos, Mexico, Puebla, Durango, Veracruz, Queretaro, and Chihuahua there are others in which the number is not much smaller. Furthermore, the haciendas are all named; they appear on the maps, and they are important units of public administration, often being incorporated as municipios. They include all the customary accessories of an independent community, such as a church, a store, a post office, a burying ground and sometimes a school or a hospital. Workshops are maintained, not only for the repair but even for the manufacture of machinery and of the numerous implements required upon the estate. Over this aggregation the owner presides in a more or less patriarchal manner, the degree of paternal care or of tyranny varying with the character of the individual and with that of his superior employees."
In an earlier chapter of his book, Dr. McBride explains that the tillable soil is chiefly to be found in the tableland section of Mexico, known as the Mesa Centrale, and that, with relatively unimportant exceptions, the exigencies of rainfall and soil impose conditions which make haciendas impossible elsewhere. In more modern times irrigation has somewhat affected these conditions. The Mesa Centrale is the most thickly populated section of Mexico. It surrounds the capital city, and we are told that its climatic conditions are admirable, since "altitude counteracts latitude with such nicety that the mean temperature over the entire plateau is nearly uniform." Most of the haciendas are to be found in this section, and they provide the agricultural supplies not only for themselves but for the remainder of the country, where climatic conditions are less favorable. From the quotations already cited, something of the independent nature of these huge land holdings will have been shown, and it will be apparent that conditions favorable to the untroubled operation of such large units encouraged conservatism on the part of the owners. The employment of native laborers and the faults of the peonage system led to occasional insurrections and explain some of the happenings in Mexico's history.
It is not surprising to find, under such conditions, that the owners of the haciendas found it necessary to have a circulating medium of low denomination, and that this medium should vary widely in form and reflect some of the independence that marks the life of the hacienda. It is this very diversity which has attracted the attention of numismatists to these tokens.
There are, and always have been, wide differences in the haciendas—a condition inevitable because of their varying adaptability to the raising of agricultural products of a wide range, as well as to problems of labor and water supply. The employment of Indians and the growth of the peonage system played a considerable part in their development. Some of the haciendas found their land suitable for cattle-raising, and those for which this became the princi- pal objective are called rancheros. We shall see that there is much plausibility for the identification claimed for some of the monograms which appear on the tokens as marks used for branding cattle. Another modification, due to the employment of native workers, finds its cause dating back before the Spanish conquest, when tribal holdings of property were vested in the chief. Some of the Indian pueblos resisted encroachment, and survived in the form of collective holdings. Some of the tokens, as we shall see, are issues of such municipalidades, although not all such are to be considered of Indian origin.
In view of all these conditions, and of others not considered, we shall look in vain for uniformity in the tokens. In fact, part of their attractiveness is their resistance to classification. There were some hacienda tokens in the famous Fonrobert Collection sold in Berlin in 1878, and that catalogue was for a long period practically the only source for numismatists seeking information regarding them. Under date of 1932, a short article, "Mexikanische Hacienda-Marken,"1 by Friedrich Freiherr von Schrötter, recorded specimens in the Berlin Museum with a fairly representative selection illustrated on a single, excellent plate.
The difficulties in the way of identifying these pieces are illustrated by the author's describing as different (his Nos. 28 and 31) two pieces with the same monogram (compare with our illustration Plate IX). Although not from the identical die, and differing in their flan outlines (one is heart-shaped and the other oval), the monogram is unquestionably the same, and the difference in shape probably indicates issues separated by a short interval in output. Had the author been in possession of a larger body of material on which to base his conclusions, he would probably have modified some of them.
In 1935, a privately printed "Ensayo Numismatico" by Manuel Romero de Terreros, entitled Los Tlacos Coloniales, appeared—the first indication, so far as we know, that the importance of these tokens had been appreciated by Mexican scholars. This is limited to pieces believed to have been struck before 1821. The author gives a valuable summary of the legislation regarding coinage in copper and a description of over two hundred varieties of these tokens, as well as illustrations of fifty-eight. Unfortunately, some of his selections for illustration do not lend themselves to half-tone reproduction. This study, however, is the first serious effort to treat the hacienda tokens. The information it supplies concerning them is truly impressive and of great value, and certainly deserves a wider distribution and appreciation than it has received. With the kind permission of the author, many of the pieces have been included here.
A second publication by the same author is entitled "Las Monedas de Necesidad del Estado de Michoacán."2 The concern here is not with hacienda tokens as such, but with the issues of a single state of Mexico, most of which are octavos and quartos put out by municipalities and haciendas between 1825—that is, shortly after the close of the War of Independence—and 1871, just before the death of Juarez. The effort seems to have been to provide for the need of small change which was being insufficiently supplied by the governmental strikings. This study gives helpful information regarding the issuing authorities, a careful description of more than one hundred and fifty varieties, and four plates illustrating forty pieces. In addition, there is an illuminating map showing the location of many of the places named. It is to be hoped that a similar treatment of the issues of other states will follow.
The collection of hacienda tokens at the Museum of The American Numismatic Society owes a great deal to the initiative and interest of the late Howland Wood, the far-seeing curator of its collections from 1913 to 1938, who did much to stimulate interest in this series. He transmitted his appreciation of their importance to his successor, and to others. After his death in 1938, an opportunity came to the Museum to acquire the considerable collection of hacienda pieces formed over a long period of years by Mr. H. L. Hill of San Francisco, under especially favorable circumstances. These represented, in most cases, pieces in fine condition, and comprised a sizable proportion of dated issues. The acquisition was made possible through subscriptions from Messrs. E. T. Newell, F. C. C. Boyd, H. E. Gillingham, Elliot Smith and Moritz Wormser, which supplemented a balance in the Avery Fund. The accession raised the Society's holdings to a much higher level; and since that time a few further additions have increased its importance. The gift by Mr. Alexander Orlowski of tokens acquired during a visit to Mexico was one outstanding addition, and a small lot acquired in the market added several desirable varieties. The Society has now a thoroughly representative collection, although it can never hope to secure one that can claim anything like completeness.
A glance at the plates will show that hacienda tokens have great variety as to form; that they provide an impressive mass of material for study of their historical bearing should also be obvious. Wear, probably due to circulation, imperfect striking, countermarking and other vicissitudes reduce their attractiveness to a minimum, but the strong individuality which marks many of these pieces is ample compensation for their lack of aesthetic appeal.
Circulation of the tokens was forbidden in 1917, and a provision that all salary payments must be made in legal tender was written into the Constitution of 1924.3 We are told that these tokens are rarely to be found in Mexico now, and there seems strong probability that most of them have been melted down or have disappeared for other reasons. The many and great changes in Mexico during the period in which they circulated are reflected in these substitutes for coin. After 1871, the growth in commercial prosperity brought about the introduction of modern business tokens, which it is difficult to separate from the pieces issued by the haciendas. While their legends are more explicit, the later issues have none of the attractiveness of the pre-revolutionary pieces. It is to the period between 1821 and 1847 that most of the selection of municipal issues on Plates XXI and XXII belong, a selection which supplements rather than repeats the one made by M. Romero de Terreros for Michoacán. One circumstance of prime importance emphasized by Romero de Terreros will bear repetition here. The Spanish colonial government did not begin the coinage of low denominations in copper until 1814. There seems to have been an aversion to the use of copper on the part of the natives, and earlier efforts to introduce a minor coinage in this metal had resulted in failure. These issues are found sometimes during the reign of Ferdinand VII, used a second time through the application of a counterstamped monogram or incised initials, and serve to date the second use as later than we might otherwise have thought.
The foregoing will enable the reader to realize that the most interesting period for these hacienda tokens is the colonial, that is, up to 1821. Any classification based on the names that appear on the tokens meets complications because of the large number of pieces bearing monograms, some of which are so involved that unanimity in reading them, and therefore ease in their identification, is out of the question. Furthermore, the monogram of the same hacienda will change in form on successive issues to an extent which makes a conclusion that they represent the same holding an assumption rather than a conviction. Then, too, some family names are fairly common in Mexico, as elsewhere, and the given names of the haciendas are likely to be repeated (e.g., Buena Vista). Distinguishing between what is "municipalidad" and what is "hacienda" is all but impossible for one who does not have a thorough knowledge of Mexican geography and history. Fortunately for our purposes, a number of the tokens are dated or are datable, and it has been decided to arrange the plates so that the chronological consideration is the one emphasized. This permits a grouping which lessens or seems to lessen the confusion and enables a break-down into sub-groups, and makes further study easier. It must be made clear through repetition that this listing is not complete or comprehensive. It will have to be modified as further evidence is brought forward and closer dating becomes possible. For that reason, the steps leading to the conclusions expressed are frankly laid before the reader, and any rigidity of statement or of contention is avoided where doubt exists. Bringing order out of the complexities of this series can be effected only by the further cooperation of interested collectors.
Because of the variations in the practices of the haciendados and other issuers of these tokens, it is almost impossible to be consistent in making an arrangement of them. Since some of the tokens show an earlier design which has not been entirely obliterated, indicating a second using of the piece, and because countermarking occurs, so that a name may be superimposed on a monogram or a monogram over the name, the wide variance in the unregulated procedure must be taken into consideration in using the plates. These have been arranged to show what homogeneity there is so far as the dates are concerned, so far as the shapes are concerned, and so far as the monograms are concerned. There are also plates showing the tokens put forth after 1821 by the municipalidades and pueblos, as well as ones bearing the word puente (bridge).
When a given piece permits the reading of a name, its location in the alphabetical list and thence the reference to its place on the plates of this monograph is simple. The pieces bearing monograms only are less susceptible to arrangement and consequently are not included in the alphabetical list. With a few exceptions, the earlier ones have been segregated on PLATES II to IV. Some which seem to be later issues will be found on PLATE XIX. Many of them will be easily decipherable to our Mexican confrères even though they may be puzzling to us. In some cases conjectural identifications have been given which may require later correction. This may also be true of statements regarding locations of the issuing agencies.
It is comparatively easy to identify and separate the store cards and business tokens made after 1870 on the basis of workmanship or material. Hard rubber, celluloid, wood and thin brass with a consistent style of lettering are used for pieces which are usually distinguishable from pre-revolutionary issues by anyone who has even a nodding acquaintance with hacienda tokens. The great number of these pieces is sufficient reason for our not including them here, even though there are some which bear the name "hacienda." Some of the wooden pieces may be older than we consider them here. The likelihood of their having been preserved is even slighter than that of their metal counterparts, but those that are dated indicate the general period of their circulation as between 1870-1880.
Because of the many uncertainties which invest the earlier hacienda tokens, it has been deemed desirable to begin our commentary on the pieces with those of comparatively late dates (illustrated on PLATE XX) and it might be well to state why this is so. In 1814, Calleja, the Spanish Viceroy, ordered the coining of two, one and one-half quartos of copper (i.e., one-half, one-quarter and one-eighth reales), and in the following December their acceptance was assured by the passage of a law regulating their circulation and limiting the amount acceptable as legal tender. Quartillos of silver had been struck from 1794 to 1816; these for some reason seem not to have met the needs supplied by the copper pieces. With the outbreak of the War of Independence, we find that the difficulty of moving bullion from the mines to the mint of Mexico City became too great a risk, and branch mints were established in six localities—Chihuahua, Durango, Guadalajara, Guanajunto, Sombrerete and Zacatecas. Provisional coinages were also struck at Nueva Viscaya, Oaxaca, Real del Catorce and Valladolid. For the insurgent forces, almost the entire coinage of Morelos in Oaxaca was in copper, although it involved a promise of Morelos of redemption in gold and silver upon the resumption of the mines. Although there are octavos dating within the period of the War of Independence, they appear to have been destined to meet local needs, and their scarcity seems a dependable indication that their quantity was small. The inability of Morelos to redeem his promises may have contributed to the disfavor in which copper seems to have been held.
It is not easy to gauge the extent to which the coinage of hacienda tokens was affected by the changed condition. Certainly there are few pieces dated between 1814 and 1821, whereas the municipal issues seem to have been widely struck.
As an outcome of the War of Independence, municipal tokens developed a considerable degree of uniformity. Many bear numerals indicating their value as one-eighth real, and occasionally we find the word tlaco appearing on them. Their workmanship or die-cutting will not serve as a dependable dating criterion, for some of the earlier ones are much better than those dating years later. It is instructive to study groups such as that for Colima, called a Villa on one issue (PLATE XX) or that of Ameca, a pueblo (Plate XX). For each of these groups, the progression of dates and the attendant changes give a clear indication of the troubled state of the country, even after peace had returned. It is because of this that Romero de Terreros has justly called certain pieces struck in the state of Michoacán "coins of necessity," although he is careful to explain that this does not imply anything in the nature of a siege piece such as frequently was the case with this classification in Europe.
The first piece of the group bearing the name of Colima (PLATE XX, No. 106) is dated 1813, is uniface, and otherwise differs but slightly from the hacienda tokens which preceded it. It was during this year that Morelos was active; on December 22, he suffered a serious reverse at Valladolid. Haste may therefore explain the form of the square piece dated 1814 (PLATE XX, No. 107). By 1816, there was a return to the earlier form, except that it is no longer uniface, but bears on the reverse a monogram to be read as "Colima," and this form seems to have persisted until 1824, for which year we have three differing issues.
The other series illustrated on PLATE XX consists of uniface coins of Ameca, a pueblo, that is, an Indian controlled holding, situated in the district of Jalisco, with a population given as 1500. Here, there is a sharp contrast between the workmanship of the earliest piece, dated 1814, (No. 25) and those which follow. The inscription is noteworthy—P.D. Ameca QUITILLA D 1814. In the field, there is a façade of a building surmounted by a cross and flanked by two conventionalized trees (?), with "3" on the left and "8" on the right. The piece is uniface. The coin dated 1833 (No. 31) has coarse lettering, while one dated 1853 (No. 30) is even cruder and the inscription reads from the rim. There are two issues dated 1855 with lettering that is still crude. An undated issue (No. 26), whose workmanship would seem to place it as later, bears the designation "TLACO DE AMECA."
The historical value of some of these tokens is illustrated by No. 197 (PLATE XXII), a coin of Hermosillo in the Province of Sonora at the north.4 A concession to coin silver quartillos in this town was obtained in 1828.
The earliest dated specimens of this silver coinage are from 1832, and pieces are known for the following six years. The "L. S." on the obverse is read as an abbreviation for "Leonardo Santoyo," the concessionaire, who was connected with the mining interests of the district. It is noteworthy that the coinage in copper did not start until 1851. It is not improbable that equally impor- tant historical data may be recorded by others of these tlacos, tlacos, but without detailed knowledge of their local significance, we must await their consideration by Mexican numismatists.
Breaking up the tokens which come before 1821 into smaller groups would be extremely difficult without the help which we get from the dated pieces, although groupings according to characteristics of flan or of execution of their lettering become fairly obvious and, within limits, reasonably dependable once we have the dated pieces for a key. In the arrangement of the plates we have tried to bring this out. It would greatly simplify our study if we could say that the pieces having naturalistic or irregular shapes, such as leaves, flowers, hearts, and other simple but distinctive forms, many of which are undated, are preceded by those bearing monograms only, and that, in general, the monograms precede those bearing the names in full, but there are too many exceptions to make such a generalization. Fortunately, we have a few dated pieces which tend to confirm this, but there seems to have been too much overlapping to make any such classification certain. Many of these exceptions are probably due to scanty mechanical facilities for making the tokens in the widely separated centers in which they originated. For example, in the period between 1800 and 1806, there is a certain homogeneity in the pieces which are shown on PLATE X and, although we are without clear indication of their locale, these haciendas probably will be found to have lain within an area which was served by a single die-cutter. Such a one may have received his training from some jeweller, or even through an apprenticeship in the mint of Mexico City. A second group within this period (PLATE XII) is of a much clumsier fabric and heavier workmanship, and here we have an indication that two of the pieces came from Celaya (No. 470) and Queretaro (No. 362), respectively, two cities not widely separated. It would not be surprising to find that the two haciendas whose tokens follow (Nos. 72 and 297) were located in the same neighborhood. It will be seen that trying to date pieces on the basis of workmanship is far from certain except within broad limits. Inasmuch as the tokens of a typical hacienda must have been in use over a considerable number of years, we can expect definiteness as to time of issue from the dated pieces only.
With this in mind, let us look at the plates in some detail, beginning with the one (PLATE I) which bears the earliest dated pieces which we have been able to find. Before starting, however, one peculiarity of dating should be noted. One piece illustrated on this plate (No. 381) is doubly unusual. First, both obverse and reverse bear inscriptions, although the reverse does not enable us to localize the token's place of origin. The obverse reads, in addition to the name of the issuing owner, "ANO 84." Comparison with other pieces will remove any necessity of laboring the point that this must be 1784 and that it cannot be 1884. We are enabled likewise to read the date which appears on the first token on Plate III (A) as 1750. A contrast to this contraction of the date is to be found on Plate I (B) where the date is given in Roman numerals—MDCCLXXIII. The monogram at the center has not been identified. The irregularity in the shape of the flan supports the traditional assignment of the shaped pieces as early.
Turning to the first piece on Plate III (A), dated 1750, we find ourselves in possession of another very valuable piece of information for on the reverse of this piece we read "8 R." We also note that there are two smaller pieces bearing this same monogram (one without date), and that instead of that date, they bear on their obverses "4" (B) and "2" (C), respectively, and that, in addition, they are graduated in size, making a series. These numerals cannot be fractions of the real as were the municipal tokens previously mentioned (page 10), for the "8 R" piece is much larger than that of "2 R." If the intention were to indicate a fractional one-eighth of a real, the most valuable piece would have been the half-real which should have been the larger. Not only do we have a parallel to Nos. 391-395 described by Romero de Terreros (Cf. Note to No. 391), but we have a date which goes far toward establishing the period in which the practice common to the two series was in use. In other words, we have a clear indication that these tokens had a valuation in reals, and this permits the identification of similar numerals on other pieces, many of which are also identical in fabric. The PERES piece (No. 376) to which we have had occasion to refer because of its date "802," has a "4" above the name, and gives us indication that this valuation in reals continued to that date. We may even go further, for the piece shown (PLATE XII, A) is one which has a format closely similar to the group on PLATE X and has the figure "8" counterstamped within the large "O" above the monogram. This confirms the evidence of the PERES token, for this piece, too, should be dated between 1800 and 1806, or not much before or after those years. Similarly, the inscription on the token LARA on PLATE III (No. 218) becomes significant, for we can point to analogies which enable us to read the letter after the figure "4" as a lower-case "r" rather than "x" which it more nearly resembles. This, then, indicates four reals, and we have the probability that there were larger and smaller denominations for this hacienda. Likewise, the oval token with a trefoil with a "2" beneath it (PLATE III, E) falls into this group. Of the other tokens, one with "2 Rs" (D) bears no other indication of its origin, while the last, with a cursive "r" (G) within a chain border has an "8" on its reverse, although smaller than any of the "2 R" tokens on this plate.
The date following the earliest one we have found is 1767 (PLATE I, A). This is engraved or incised on the reverse, while the obverse bears four letters whose significance we are unable to recognize. Can the four pellets on the obverse be an indication that it was valued at four reals? In addition to the date, the reverse bears the name or syllable "Sol" as well as the letter "N" preceding the date. The tilde over the N dictates its reading as an abbreviation for "Anno," or "Año." The "Sol" is to be taken as an abbreviation for a name such as "Solis" (PLATE IV, 431) or some other name whose first syllable is identical. Although this is not the best representative of the cast tokens (others are illustrated on PLATE II), there is a considerable number of tokens which show the same large and crude letters and which afford other evidence of their having been cast. Almost without exception, they are uniface.
The next coin on PLATE I, (No. 133) bears the date 1770. Compared with the token we have just been considering, its workmanship is refined and finished. It, too, is representative of a fairly large class; it is surprising to find workmanship of this order at such an early date, as well as the use of punch dies. Pieces of this class frequently have small units of a decorative nature which are repeated to form a pattern or border, and examination discloses that some of their inscriptions are made by using individual letter punches (some of the repeated letters display identical flaws or other peculiarities which are unmistakable). No evidence has been observed of a graduated series or of two or more denominations in this class. The reverse inscription on PLATE I, 381 (Para la Plaza) is probably indicative that it circulated in the market place of some city or town, as the catalogue notes.
Filling out PLATE I are contrasting tokens dated 1791, the first with a monogram (C), the second with CATALANES and what looks like a cask (No. 90)—both struck from dies. The piece with VAQUEDANO (No. 467) bears a target-like center and the date 1796. The last (D) dated 1799, has a monogram in an octagonal impression. All three are die-struck.
With possible exceptions in the top row, PLATE II consists of tokens which have been cast, bearing monograms or single letters as the sole indication of their origin. The resistance to wear on the monogram is a consequence of the boldness of the lettering. If the first five pieces do not belong to the same hacienda, their close similarity demonstrates the difficulty of distinguishing them.
It would be rash to venture a dating for these cast pieces. Their boldness or occasional crudity may be nothing more than a result of having been made in rural districts removed from the convenience of cities. Casting these tokens would be a simple process, once the technique had been mastered, whereas the preparation of a die such as is obvious on most of the pieces on PLATES III and IV is far more complicated an operation. One would think that the tokens for which dies were used (PLATES III and IV) were later than these cast pieces on PLATE II. If this be so, some of the cast tokens may be earlier than 1750, the date for the first piece on PLATE III. Nor may we lose sight of the tokens on PLATE V which bear neither name nor monogram—merely the "type". Some of these may have used the punning principle common to other coinages, so that No. C may have indicated the same hacienda as did No. 227 (PLATE XVI). There seems to be no convention or rule which may be applied to the reading of the monograms, but this is a condition that might have been expected in marks for branding cattle, which is what some of these are believed to have been. Similar combinations or variations in the letters occur on the much later branding irons of the western ranches of our country.
PLATE V is given to tokens bearing types but without the owners’ names—they are indicated on the plate by letters. No. A clearly depicts a hunter holding a jack-rabbit. It seems that the intention of obliterating the monogram on the reverse was unsuccessful. On the reverse of No. F there is a counterstamp which seems to consist of the letters “P” and “Q” with a tilde over them. The object on No. E is a formalized branding-iron. Why the mere date 1802 should have been used for No. H is something for which we should like to have an explanation. Romero de Terreros also illustrates No. D. He describes the design as two Indians dancing. There are two figures facing a medial axis, a plant with two long branches continuing in an arch over each of the figures and extending nearly to the base line. The die outline is notched while the flan is irregularly octagonal. The tiny piece (No. G) with an eagle on the nopal plant may not be a hacienda token.
On PLATE VI seven tokens are grouped which bear some form of the word puente, which means a bridge. We cannot tell whether these were used for tolls or whether they were issued by haciendas situated near bridges from which they took their names. Some bear rude representations of bridges. In the catalogue, these have been placed under the letter P. This procedure is followed also for the tokens put out under the designation of Esquina—or Esquila.
On PLATES VII to IX, tokens with variously shaped flans are grouped; most of these are other than circular. The group, which is arranged alphabetically for convenience, is representative, but not exhaustive. Heart-shaped tokens seem the most favored (one on Plate V may be added to the seven here). Leaves and fruits are distinguishable, even a ram or goat (Chiuato). The flans of most of these, whether originally cast or punched out of sheets of metal, have in a second operation had a die applied to them. The lettering is usually bold rather than crude, and some ingenuity is shown in its spacing. A dated piece is helpful occasionally, such as the crescent-formed token No. 300 (PLATE VIII) which reads 1804, while on PLATE I we have noted the date 1773 in Roman numerals. Two pieces at the bottom of PLATE VII have incised letters (Nos. 117 and 120). Some of the dies have scalloped edges, while the flans at the top of PLATE VII have pie-crust rims which must have been acquired by casting. One exception to the statement that these oddshaped tokens are usually uniface is to be found in No. 413 (PLATE IX), where the design admirably fits its oval and both obverse and reverse dies are well executed. The reverse of No. 53 (PLATE VII) bears an incised letter T. No. 63 (PLATE VII) may be a bridge token, or perhaps the structure is intended to represent a church. The given name of an individual occasionally accompanies the more usual family name, and this will be found true on succeeding plates. Odd shapes were selected for these tokens because of their distinctiveness; they accomplished their purpose.
The tokens on PLATE X to XII form a fairly homogeneous group. With one or two exceptions, they are similar in size, style and fabric, although as to fabric there is a light and heavy form. The dated pieces range between 1801 and 1806. Many are uniface. The thin-flanned ones are marked by a daintiness of lettering and design, while the heavier pieces have a boldness quite in keeping with their greater thickness. On the thinner-flanned tokens, branches with flowers or berries vie with animal figures (PLATE XI, 198 and 275). On the Olbera issue (PLATE X, 286) we note a pennon or spear used with a cannon. On the Molina piece (PLATE X, 264) there is a monogram as well as this name and the date 1801.
On PLATES XI and XII we find a contrast. The Aguilar token (PLATE XI, 10) is broad, thick and heavy, and the lettering is bold. This piece and several others have inscriptions on both sides. The given name is on the obverse and the family name on the reverse in more than one instance, with the name of the place of issue added on two coins, Queretaro (No. 362) and Celaya (No. 470). The Butron token (No. 71) on PLATE XI seems to have had this name applied to some other token of the fabric we have been considering. Unfortunately, the earlier design is not distinguishable. Monogrammed pieces of both forms are placed at the bottom of PLATE XII. Note that the Munos (No. 275) and Munoz (No. 277) pieces on PLATE XI seem to have nothing in common.
PLATES XIII and XIV may be considered together. They offer further contrasts to PLATES X to XII. Most have smaller flans which bear dates with a slightly more extended range, 1800–1814. With the exception of Nos. 103 and A, they are uniformly die-struck and many have borders of repeated units, some of which are very effective as well as ingenious. The majority are uniface; some are counterstamped with dates or numerals, the latter a possible indication of value. The Cocula token (No. 103) is dated 1808 and bears two counterstamps, one of which is a crown. The second is applied symmetrically and adds the name Vandino which can hardly be a Spanish name.
The three plates (XV-XVII) devoted to the tokens bearing names in full (or nearly so), like those devoted to the irregularshaped pieces, offer some significant phenomena. They are arranged alphabetically, despite the necessary deviations in the interest of plate symmetry. It will be noted that there are a few pieces not circular in shape. Attention might be called to similarities in treatment, as, for example:
a. CAREDES, CVRIL and LOZO (PLATE XV, 79, 129 and 241) share with DE PRIETO (PLATE XVI, 344), a technique which seems to indicate that either the token or the die with which it was struck had been cast.
b. Pieces on which dies show similar workmanship:
It would be too much to claim that these similarities indicate a relation in time or place, but there is at least the possibility.
c. Single tokens often raise questions for which answer is not always obtainable.
On No. 451 (PLATE XVII), there is a very interesting transliteration. On the token we read CAVEZERA. Dr. A. F. Pradeau kindly informs by letter that this is a substitute for cabecera, a word meaning “county seat”; and that TLAJOMULCO (Cf. PLATE XVII, 451), with about four thousand inhabitants, is a station in the State of Jalisco on the railroad between Mexico and Guadalajara.
PLATE XVIII is intended to demonstrate similarity of names or monograms. Señor Romero de Terreros illustrates and identifies a piece with a large and crude “G” and a small “a” as GARCIA. Here (Nos. 177 and 178) we have two roughly circular pieces with a toothed-die impress and the inscription GAR/SIA. Between them is a diamond-shaped token (No. 179), with smaller and better formed letters reading GARSIA/TAGLE. In the bottom row of this Plate we have (No. 232) a piece reading R. DEL. CHICO. ANO. D. 1808, and within the circle at the center, the name LOPEZ with ornaments above and below. The token (No. G) shows a monogram which can hardly be read other than as LOPEZ, and the preceding piece (No. F) with its neighbor to guide one, should be probably read similarly. On the same line, we have an octagonal token with the name ERA/RA. Counterstamped beneath, in smaller letters, is the name LOPEZ. As this is unquestionably a common name in Mexico, there may or may not have been a connection between these four pieces.
The monogrammed tokens on the second line on this plate will bear study because of their similarities. No. 324 which has a heartshaped die-imprint is apparently unrelated to any of the heart-shaped tokens on PLATE IX.
PLATES XXI and XXII provide an amplification of what appears on PLATE XX (cf. pp. 10 to 12). Most of these are octavos; Nos. 136 (PLATE XXII) and 412 (PLATE XXI) are quartillos. Many are without indication of value. No. 364 (PLATE XXI) is counterstamped. Some are without dates; those bearing dates vary from 1813 (PLATE XXI, 14 and 489) to 1853 (PLATE XXII, 452). The workmanship on both coins and dies varies widely—well-preserved specimens are uncommon. Several other designs are ambitious beyond the power of the die-cutter, for example, No. 309. Apparently, these are all issues of Municipalities with little or no direct connection with the Hacienda token. They are illustrated, herein, to make this distinction clear.
Zeitschrift fur Nümismatik, XLII (1935), pp. 128–135, pl. II.
Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, V (1940), pp. 17–39, 4 pls., map.
Zeitschrift für Numismatik, XLII (1935), p. 130.
Cf. A. F. Pradeau. The Mexican Mints of Alamos and Hermosillo , N.Y., 1934 (Num. Notes & Monographs No. 63).
The abbreviation MRdeT used herein refers to the monograph Los Tlacos Coloniales by Manuel Romero de Terreros published in Mexico in 1935—cf. p. 5. Tokens illustrated in this work are asterisked. A second publication by the same author Las Monedas de Necesidad del Estado de Michoacán is referred to as MRdeT. (Michoacán).
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