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Who issued the 1915 local coins of Jalisco and Tetela del Oro y Ocampo?

Started by Vincent, April 09, 2020, 08:11:57 AM

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Two groups of local coins from Mexico have drawn my attention, both minted as emergency issues in 1915, i.e. during the Mexican revolution (or civil war) of the 1910s. One group is from the state of Jalisco, the other from the town of Tetela del Oro y Ocampo in the state of Puebla.
   Let's begin with some historical background. Prior to the revolution, Mexico was governed by president Díaz, who had been in charge, directly or indirectly, since 1876. During this time, he had made himself so much of an institution in Mexican politics that he had become irreplaceable - not due to his skills, but due to his ability to monopolise the political scene. An armed rebellion against Díaz, supported by many different groups throughout Mexico, began in 1910, leading to his ouster, and the moderate reformer Francisco Madero becoming president in 1911. In 1913, Madero was overthrown by general Victoriano Huerta in a coup d'état. Huerta presented himself as a strongman who would end the revolutionary chaos and reestablish order. He was unable to hold power for long, which should perhaps not be surprising, given that he set himself up as an autocratic ruler in a country that was bubbling with mobilised and armed anger against authoritarian rule. Venustiano Carranza founded the Constitutionalist Army and fought Huerta, who gave up and fled in 1914. Later in 1914, a conference was held in the city of Aguascalientes, in order for the several rebel groups to come to a common understanding about Mexico's future. The rebels soon found that they had serious disagreements with each other, and the conference became a stunning political setback for Carranza. Land reform for the benefit of landless peasants was an important sticking point. The rebel groups found themselves divided into two political camps, which can loosely be defined as a left wing and a right wing. Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata - who in this context represent the left wing - formed the Army of the North (Villa) and the Army of the South (Zapata). Opposing them were Venustiano Carranza and Álvaro Obregón, and their Constitutionalist Army. In the ensuing conflict, Carranza and Obregón prevailed in the battles of Celaya (April 1915) and took control of Mexico City (July-August 1915). This left Villa and Zapata geographically isolated from one another. In 1917, a new constitution was adopted, sponsored by Carranza. Zapata was murdered in 1919. In 1920, president Carranza was toppled by dissatisfied elements, who felt that he was becoming autocratic himself. This is considered to mark the end of the revolutionary period.
   Now for the coins of Jalisco from 1915. According to the Krause catalogue, the coins were issued under the authority of "General Dieguez, commander of this segment of Villa's forces". The problem with this is, that general Diéguez, specifically Manuel M. Diéguez, was on the opposing side in the civil war, i.e. he was on Carranza's side, not Villa's. It is not so strange that confusion could arise, because the city of Guadalajara, capital of Jalisco, was a prize that was fought over between Villa's and Carranza's forces during 1915. I've had a look at Howland Wood's The Mexican Revolutionary Coinage 1913-1916 (1921). In this publication, printed only six years after the coins were minted, we find on p. 21: "The army of the North did not confine its mints to Chihuahua province, as we find a series of copper coins struck in Jalisco. The commander of the army in this state was Manuel M. Dieguez.". So, the error goes all the way back to 1921, and must have been copied from Wood's catalogue to the Krause catalogue, directly or indirectly. In terms of which side in the civil war actually issued the coins, there can be no doubt that it was Villa's followers, because the coins are inscribed "EJÉRCITO DEL NORTE" (Army of the North), which was the name of Villa's army. In those periods where Jalisco was under the control of Villa's forces, general Julián C. Medina was made state governor. Thus, the Jalisco coins must have been issued under the authority of Julián C. Medina, not Manuel M. Diéguez.
   Finally, the coins of the town of Tetela del Oro y Ocampo of 1915. This town is located in the state of Puebla. It came to political prominence in 1913 as a result of political divisions within the state of Puebla. Beginning in 1913, there were two administrations in the state of Puebla that both claimed to be the legitimate government of the state. One of these administrations was located in Tetela del Oro y Ocampo and headed by Agustín del Pozo. Del Pozo supported Victoriano Huerta after Huerta's 1913 coup d'état. Note that one of the types (KM# 759) was restruck in the 1960s, using the original dies.


Allow me to recommend the blog of Mexican numismatist Miguel Angel Villa Roiz: Monedas de México. See also his video on YouTube on the originals and restrikes of the 2 centavos coin of Tetela del Oro y Ocampo: 2 Centavos Tetela del Oro y Ocampo (originales y retroqueladas) - YouTube.


Interesting! Thanks! Here are my only coins related to this post:


Fun and convincing research, Vincent! Thank you for posting it here. The right/left analysis of the parties in Mexico is insightful.

Mouthwateringly good pieces, AfrAsiAm :) Just what this thread deserves.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.