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Ejército Constitucionalista

Although the Chihuahua mint closed in 1895, the mint tools and machinery must have remained in place and in decent condition, as the Chihuahua mint consistently produced one of the best struck issues of the Revolution: the 1914-1915 copper issues of the División del Norte of the Ejército Constitucionalista.

The engravers at the revived mint – J. Salazar, M. Revilla, and M. Sevilla – are prolific in the Chihuahua issues. Salazar and Revilla were responsible for the 1914-1915 Chihuahua Liberty Cap issues, whereas Sevilla was responsible for the 1915 Chihuahua V-centavo pattern. Both Salazar and Sevilla engraved the regular issue 1915 Ejército del Norte one peso. Sevilla was active as an engraver into the post-Revolution, when he produced in the early 1920s the distintive “Gral Francisco Villa” medal.

Five centavos

The most common Chihuahua issue in the 1914-1915 Ejército Constitucionalista five centavos in copper with the spear-point ornaments at the date. This coin was designed by J. Salazar, whose name appears on the obverse and M. Revilla. This issue is one of the few Revolutionary issues thar continued over a two-year period. Various die trials in lead exist, as well as a few coins in aluminium. Issues in brass are scarce.

Almost as soon as the striking began, the reverse die cracked in a curved line from the C of UCIO down through the crossbar of the centavo sign and down to the second 1 of the date. Later a branch crack developed through the figure five to the C of CONST. As these die breaks became progressively worse the coins produced became dis­torted until the reverse die failed completely. The ob­verse die was salvaged and used to strike coins with a newly designed reverse.

A great many minor varieties of this coin have been noted, depending on the presence or absence of dots at the date, in the ornaments or in the numeral of value; round or pointed centavo sign or positions of the various devices with respect to each other. WalfrenWalrafen, Verne and Flores, Joe, Chihuahua 5 & 10 Centavos, Numismatica de RevMex, 2000 (available in the USMexNA online library) has described 12 Liberty cap dies (identified by letter A-L, engraved by Salazar) and 43 denomination/date dies (identified by number 1-43). These dies have been combined into 30 1914-dated combinations and 22 1915-dated combinations. Other unreported combinations may exist, but they are probably scarce and rare. Some die combinations are rare, but many are common.

Some examples have file marks on the rim, probably the result of hand filing the planchets to remove the sheared edge produced by the planchet punch. This attention to detail suggests pride in the product. The quality of the planchets is better than the Parral issue, and the workmanship is about the best of any of the Revolutionary coinage.

The copper used to make these pieces is reported to have come from the telegraph and telephone wires crossing the vast estates of Luis TerrazasFehrenbach, 1973.

Ten centavos

A companion to the 1914/1915 Chihuahua five centavos is the 1915 10 centavos in copper. Walfren has described one Liberty cap die and four denomination dies, making four combinations. One combination has been reported in brass. The design itself is a larger version of the five centavo.

Fifty centavos

There are patterns in copper for a full-sized 50-centavos and one-peso issue, The 1914 50 centavos is a larger version of the five-centavos design.

One peso

The 1914 one peso has a design somewhat similar to the Republic Balance Scale Pesos of 1869-1873.

V centavos

There is also what is considered a 1915 five-centavos pattern, the distinctive V-centavos engraved by M. Sevilla. This pattern was produced late in the coinage and was never adopted for regular issue,

Mint Sports

There is a small number of very rare, usually poorly struck coins from worn or broken dies that do not fit into the regular series, which Hughes considered as “Mint Sports”. In brief, these are:
1. 1915 V-centavos eagle die with worn Liberty cap die (the resulting coin has no date or denomination, and at least two different Liberty cap dies were used).
2. 1915 V-centavos eagle die with worn 1914 five-centavos denomination die (the eagle die has a mark (“arrow” in neck) that was not present when the pattern was struck, so these were struck in 1915); and
3. 1915 V-centavos eagle die with a 1904 five-centavos coin as a die, producing an incuse and retrograde denomination design.

Counterstamped coins

There have also been five-centavos coins reported as cast and cast with eagle counterstamp. A few other counterstamped regular issue coins have been reported. It is believed some of the counterstamped coins were used as tokens after the Revolution.