Paper Money of Chihuahua

.. by Simon Prendergast

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Home The History The Ejército Constitucionalista notes Counterfeit $5 Ejército Constitucionalista notes Types 1-4

Counterfeit $5 Ejército Constitucionalista notes Types 1-4

Judging by the number of notices alone, the $5 Ejército Constitucionalista notes were the most counterfeited. These various notices can be as confusing as they are helpful, as certain indications, such as the lack of a dot in Aguirre's signature or the open 'a' in Villareal's signature, seem to appear on varities of genuine notes. The following section attempts to marry up various pronouncements with particular types of notes and then list certain other types that appear counterfeit.

On 15 June 1915 Luis Pruneda, the Inspector at the government printing works at Veracruz, reported that they knew of three types of counterfeit $5 Ejército Constitucionalista notesCONDUMEX, Fondo XX1, carpeta 43, legajo 4641.

Counterfeit $5 Ejército Constitucionalista Type 1

The first reference to the $5 note in a newspaper article in September 1914El Reformador, Guadalajara, 15 September 1914 acknowledged that, apart from its central vignette, the counterfeit note was almost the same as a genuine note. Various types listed below (e.g. Type 5 and Type 9 could fit this description).

all the details of the central vignette are well printed the details are smudged and badly drawn (borrados y malhechos)

Counterfeit $5 Ejército Constitucionalista Type 2

Another notice from Sonora in September 1914 was more detailed. This counterfeit is probably the same as the one detailed below as Type 3, though it is surprising that the authors missed the one/two stars.


background of ‘EJERCITO CONSTITUCIONALISTA DE MEXICO’ is a much clearer colour

background is almost black

the letter ‘o’ of ‘No’ is larger
the full stop of ‘No’ is smaller
printing of the numbers is totally clear and uniform printing is very imperfect and blurred

in Villareal’s signature the first ‘a’ is totally black

‘a’ has a distinctive centre

The green initials ‘FFV’ are missing
on reverse, background is predominantly white background is on the whole green

rays of the liberty cap are shorter

the rays are longer and nearly touch the edge of the circle
the whole design is coarser and incomplete

Counterfeit $5 Ejército Constitucionalista Type 3

Another notice from April 1915 listed the following characteristics.


there are two stars in the border to the right of ‘CINCO’
between the stars is a rhomboid

there is only one star
between the stars is a rhombus

serial numbers are red serial numbers are a deep pink with a purplish tinge (solferino)
on the reverse colour is a bright green (verde subido) and the details different

This is probably the counterfeit that was reported by an El Paso newspaper in August 1914. "Private detectives had traced a large part of the bogus money to San Antonio, where it is thought that it is being printed from cleverly made plates which are almost an exact duplicate of the one from which the genuine bills were printed. There were only a few differences to be detected between the real and the bogus bills. An eight leafed daisy appears in the upper corners of the counterfeit dollar bills which are missing in the genuine. The seal of the genuine bills is a fraction of an inch larger than on the face of the bad bills"El Paso Herald, 5 August 1914.

On 9 October 1914 the Presidente Municipal of Baviácora, Sonora told the government that two different forms of $5 Ejercito Constitucionalista were in circulation, and asked whether there were any counterfeit notes. The government replied that false $5 notes did exist, but these could be detected at first sight and should be refused. They were posting fifty copies of the instructions on how to recognise themAGHES, Fondo Oficialidad Mayor, tomo 2993.

The recorded control letters on Type 3 include 1-A L-O (sic), XLIX-A O-XLIX, LXX1-A O-LXX1, A-IX IX-O, A-LXIX LXIX-O, and A-LXXV LXXV-O, with all the serial numbers correct.

Counterfeit $5 Ejército Constitucionalista Type 4

On 15 October 1914 the Presidente Municipal of Arizipe, Sonora reported that dubious $5 Ejército Constitucionalista were circulating and asked for instructions whether they were in fact counterfeitAGHES, Fondo Oficialidad Mayor, tomo 2993. They had the following characteristics:

background of national symbol is white, while bottom is lead-coloured
smaller lettering, and in general buff-coloured
dot in centre of small circle in Aguirre's signature

The reference to the dot might mean that the Presidente Municipal knew that there were similar notes without a dot that were counterfeit but that now notes with a dot had appeared. In this case, this Type might be the same as suggested Type 9.