Aztec Money: 1 Peso (Mexico, 1967)-Founder's Article

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

This Mexican banknote represents the 1st denomination of the First Peso Series AA (sub-Series BDJ). These Aztec-inspired notes were printed by the American Bank Note Company and circulated from 1936 to 1970. After which they were replaced by a 1 peso coin, produced by the Banco de México (Bank of Mexico). The overall the note borrows heavily from past American designs, such as the "United States Note, Series of 1928". The reverse has a passing similarities to the Texas “Redback” Dollar, although with high quality ink. (Note: Texas Redbacks were notorious for bad ink quality and quickly faded to a burnt orange color.)

The note commemorates Mexico's Aztec (Nahua) cultural past throughout it's art. The obverse’s center prominently depicts the Piedra del Sol (the Aztec sun stone). Which is currently displayed at the National Museum of Anthropology, in Mexico City. Uncovered in 1790, the Sun Stone was buried beneath the Zócalo. The former ceremonial center of the Nahua-Mexica capital Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City. The Sun Stone depicts the five Nahui Ōllin (Eras) of Aztec mythical history.

The note's sun stone is flanked by number 1s, stylized to appear as quauitl. The Nahua symbol for fir tree, used to create the sacred copalli. Which served numerous purposes in Nahua culture, such as medicine and incenses for religious ceremonies. The symbols on the corners (were the denomination would normally be located) are Nahua number 1s.

The reverse features the Monumento a la Independencia ("Monument to Independence"), in Mexico City. Built in 1910, by architect Antonio Rivas Mercado. The Monument to Independence commemorates the centennial of the Mexican War of Independence (1810-1821). The monument is known locally, as “El Ángel” (The Angel).

Just as the observe, the reverse's centerpiece features quauitl-inspired number 1s. As a security measure, the note features a pair of gray Bank of Mexico stamps. The lower left stamp is the formal Bank of Mexico Seal, while the upper right is an abbreviated variant. Unlike the observe the reverse features an unusually large, “non-squared” border.

This feature is also seen on the 5, 50, and 10,000 Peso notes. It's unique to these denominations, printed by the American Bank Note Company. Later “Series AA” notes printed by the Bank of Mexico, lack this feature. In fact, all later Mexican Peso notes, feature a conventional squared border.

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 observe features ultraviolet ink, along the main engraving. The ink glows a faint red-orange, this may be due to age/quality control issue.

  • The reverse features two accidental UV ink drops, on the note's left side. One on the upper left corner and to the right of primary number “1".

  • The nation of Mexico derives it name from the Mexica. The Nahua tribe who ruled Tenochtitlan and founded the Aztec Empire (1428-1521).

  • The Nahuatl (Nahua language) term “Mēxihcah”, roughly translates to “the Mexica people”. Which became the modern Spanish term “Mexicano” or Mexicans in English.

  • The modern English term “Aztec” is derived from the Nahuatl term “Aztecah”, which translates to the “people of Aztlan”.

  • Aztlan was the mythical ancestral homeland of the Nahua people, from which they migrated to their eventual home in Southern Mexico.

  • “El Angel” serves as a mausoleum for Mexico's revolutionary heroes, with the exception of General Agustín de Iturbide (1783-1824). The designer of the Mexican National Flag, who is interned at the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral.

  • “El Angel” was commissioned in 1902 by Porfirio Díaz (1830-1915), the 29th President of Mexico. Who also served as Commander of the Central Army, during the Second Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).

  • President Porfirio Díaz served 7 terms, collectively spanning 31 years. In Mexico the period from 1876-1911, is referred to as the “Porfiriato”.

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