A Nun Before Her Time: 1000 Peso (Mexico, 1985)-Founder's Article

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

This banknote represents the 7th and final denomination of the Series AA (sub-Series XH), printed by the Bank of Mexico. This note first issued on 11 December 1978, as a replacement for the original Series AA 1,000 Peso note. Printed by the American Bank Note Company. Which featured Cuauhtémoc, the last Emperor of the Aztec Empire.

The observe features a portrait of Sor (Sister) Juana Inés de la Cruz, famous writer, philosopher, composer, muse and poet of Baroque era Mexico. Known as the “10th Muse”, Sor Juana was self-educated in philosophy and the arts. She was fluent in ancient Latin and proficient in writing Nahuatl (Aztec), by her teens.


Controversially Sor Juana converted her nun quarters to a saloon. Where she entertained visiting intellectual elite, including Countess Maria Luisa de Paredes, Vicereine of Mexico. After her death by plague (while treating her sister), Sor Juana was mostly forgotten. Until Noble Laureate (Literature) Octavio Paz renewed interest into her legacy.


Notably the note's portrait is Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Miguel Cabrera. The 4-color light puzzle/registration element seen to her opposite, is taken from the same painting. The quill and box is broken down into observe (gold/purple) and reverse (orange/light gold) sections. Creating a “glowing” quill box, when back lit. A representation of Sor Juana writing the divine word.

The reverse depicts the Plaza de Santo Domingo, in Mexico City. Which includes the “Señor de la Expiración” Chapel, a remnant of the monastery Sor Juana lived in. The Church de Santo Domingo is located 3 blocks north of Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral). Notably these religious sites were built on top of the Aztec sacred precinct, after the Conquest of Tenochtitlan (Aztec Capital). In fact, the nearby Plaza de Zócalo, is simply Tenochtitlan's original city square.


As a security measure, the note features a pair of brown Bank of Mexico stamps. The lower right stamp is the formal Bank of Mexico Seal, while the upper left is an abbreviated variant.


Ultraviolet Gallery


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 157 x 67 mm (6.18 x 2.64 in), standard for Series AA banknotes.

  • The note's surface is covered with iridescent fibers, on both sides.

  • These "worm-shaped" fibers are virtually unrecognizable, under regular (white) lighting.

  • The fibers appear bight red under ultraviolet light, as seen in the photo above.

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