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Fractional notes of the Estado de Sonora issue

(This section is the result of research by Robert Perigoe. The information originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of the Journal of the U. S. Mexican Numismatic Association).

Perigoe writes
“I have to point out at the outset that the following analysis is based on a very small sample of centavo notes. Therefore, I can only present a reasonable hypothesis as to how these were printed. However, I have made important basic assumptions on the basis of my previous comprehensive work on the peso issues, and the fact that the printers were the same people at the same time and place. While I am embarrassed by my paltry holdings, I am heartened by the fact that I was nonetheless able to spot vital patterns. My hypothesis is based only on consistencies in the sample, and the assumption that they prevailed in the total population.

I also must issue a warning that I was able to, and had to, rely on my research on the contemporary Sonoran revenue stamps in consolidating my theories. Insights stemming from this background rear their heads before I conclude.

The centavo notes were printed on letter size paper, using four print positions. Watermarks show that the 25 and 50 centavos notes were oriented vertically on the sheet (as were the peso notes), and that the 5 and 10 centavos notes were printed horizontally on each sheet, so that a single sheet of paper could accommodate eight notes. As was the case with each peso series, for each print position, one of five different state seals was printed in the same color as the serial number, and if the seal can be identified, the print position can be determined.

Generally, the numbering system can also provide another method of determining the position, although the systems sometimes shift. If the peso print runs are any indication, the top position normally has the lowest quarter of the serial numbers, followed sequentially by the upper middle, lower middle, and bottom positions.

Typically, a straight-forward method of identifying the print positions utilizes the distinctions in the large eagle seals on notes large enough to accommodate them. This is not the case with either low value centavos notes. That pretty much leaves the colored state seals or underlying printing quirks in the background design as the last remaining option for determining position.

I will refer to the four series as first, second, third and fourth; the five colored seals as 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; and the four printing type varieties (or print positions) as A (top ), B (upper middle), C (lower middle), and D (bottom). I had to follow this regimen during my research to avoid making mistakes because of confusion.