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Mexico's mints

The new Mexican government attempted to give some uniformity to the coinage and on 1 August 1823 a law[text needed] ordered all mints to only use the dies made in the Mexican Mint. On 4 August 1824 a law[text needed] granted the states authorization to create mints and to receive income derived from their operation. To supervise the quality of minting, Congress determined in Article 50 of the Constitution that all coins must have the same weight, grade, value, type and denomination.

Thereafter, Congress allowed the opening of several mints in the Republic in 1824.

However, leasing to private companies proved to be uneconomicFor instance, during the lease of the Guadalupe y Calvo mint to the Compañía Minera de Guadalupe y Calvo the government lost $267,563.96, plus tax exemption; from 1825 to 1842, during the lease of the Guanajuato mint to the Cia. Mexicana de Casa de Moneda, the government lost $360,071.18 in the first five years and eight months alone; and from 1842 to 1847 in its lease of the Zacatecas mint to the Cia. Anglo-Americana de Casas de Monedas (Manning & Marshall) the government lost $332,036.21and a loss of opportunities.

In his 1870 Treasury Report, Matías Romero explained:

The greatest obstacle to the promotion of national mining was the pernicious system of leasing mints, since this had turned them into highly productive speculative establishments, which prevented the implementation of indispensable measures: silver could not be exported in paste, nor could the cost of coinage be reduced, nor could the monopoly of set-aside be freed. …. It may be said, without exaggeration, that the leases of the mints have been tantamount to drowning the principal industry of the nation in its cradle, for the benefit of a few individuals and at the expense of the largest and most important interests of the Republic.

So when Benito Juárez came to power in 1867 he decided that the mints should be controlled by a central authority. His successor in 1872, Lerdo de Tejada, continued with his policy, recovering one by one all the mints in the power of private individuals, so in the period from 1867 to 1876 (almost all the mints of the Republic were recovered.

On 16 September 1875, the Secretary of the Treasury, Francisco Mejía, submitted his report to the Congress of the Union in which he mentioned that the administration of the mints by the government would provide one million pesos in taxes that had not previously been received.

The problem came in 1876 when Porfirio Díaz rose in revolt. He urgently needed resources so he decided to re-lease all the mints to private individuals in exchange for loans. From 1876 onwards, the vast majority of mints returned to private hands. A law of 12 December 1879 (repealing the previous law)[text needed] allowed the lease of mints to individuals, although even before its issue, the mints of Guanajuato, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí were illegally leased.

Two businesses owned several mints. The Mackintosh family's Anglo-Mexican Company and its offshoots and Robert Symon's Compañía Limitada Central together produced more than 85% of the country's gold and silver production during the entire lease period.

By 1888 Díaz had managed to stabilize his power and the nation, and in that same year he signed the last extension for the lease of mints.. That same year, negotiations began for the government to recover all the mints, arguing that it was detrimental to the public interest.

In 1892 Matías Romero again took the position of Secretary of Finance and with the support of Díaz sent to Congress on 2 December 1892 a proposal to end all lease contracts. One of the arguments that Matías Romero used was the fall in silver prices that little by little affected the finances of the mining business and the government. Another point was the consolidation of paper money, and finally he added that the railway network made the existence of so many mints unnecessary since now it was possible to transport currency to any corner of the country.

His proposal was approved and from 1893 all contracts were cancelled and all tenants were indemnified (since some contracts had an end date after 1893). Finally, on 30 June 1895, a decree by President Porfirio Díaz, promoted by the Secretary of the Treasury, José Yves Limantour, terminated all leases of the Mexican mints. On 15 July 15 of the same year, Congress approved a decree by which only the mints of Mexico City, Culiacán, Guanajuato and Zacatecas would remain open, with the last three remaining under the disposition of the parent mint, that of Mexico City. In 1900 the Guanajuato mint was closed, leaving in its place only an assay office, on March 31 Zacatecas and Culiacán were also closed, leaving an assay office in both. From that day on, only the Mexico City Mint remained in operation.