Ambassador Clayton to the Secretary of State.

No. 2736.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s telegram of this date and to confirm my telegraphic reply, also of this date [relating to the monetary law of Mexico].

I have the honor to transmit herewith for the information of the Department a copy and translation of the law upon this subject, dated March 25, 1905.

I have, etc.,

Powell Clayton.

law relating to the reform of mexico’s monetary system.


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Chapter I.


Article 1. The theoretical unit of the monetary system of the United Mexican States is represented by seventy-five centigrams of pure gold and is denominated a “peso.”

The silver peso which has heretofore been coined with a weight of 24.4388 grams of pure silver, will subject to the conditions mentioned in this law, have a legal value equivalent to said 75 centigrams of pure gold.

Article 2. The peso is divided into one hundred centavos (cents) and the coins to be struck shall represent the values given below:

  • Gold coins: Ten pesos, five pesos.
  • Silver coins: One peso, fifty cents, twenty cents, ten cents.
  • Nickel coins: Five cents.
  • Bronze coins: Two cents; one cent.

Article 3. The alloy of gold coins shall be nine hundred one thousandths (900/1000) of pure gold and one hundred one thousandths (100/1000) copper. The alloy of silver coins shall be: For coins of one peso, nine thousand and twenty-seven ten thousandths (9027/10000) of pure silver and nine hundred and seventy-three ten thousandths (972/10000) of copper: and for coins of lesser values the alloy shall be eight hundred one-thousandths (800/1000) Pure silver and two hundred one-thousandths (200/1000) copper. The alloy of bronze coins shall be ninety-five parts of copper, four of tin, and one of zinc. The five cent coins shall be struck out of nickel commercially pure.

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Article 8. The national coat of arms and the inscription “United Mexican States” shall appear on all the coins which may be coined. All other emblems, wording, and requisites shall be determined by governmental provision.

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Chapter II.

Coinage and circulation of money.

Article 9. The power of coining money appertains exclusively to the Executive of the Union, who shall exercise it in accordance with the present law, on the occasions and in such amounts as said law authorizes. In consequence, the right of private persons to introduce gold and silver bullion into the mints for coinage is abolished.

Article 10. The mintage of new gold coins shall be confined, unless otherwise ordered, to the quantity required to effect the exchange of the present gold coins, which shall cease to be legal tender on July 1, 1906.

Nevertheless, in the special circumstances laid down in the first section of article 12, the free coinage of gold may be authorized by a decree specially issued by the Executive of the Union.

Article 11. From and after the date on which this law becomes effective, and save and except the case of recoinage, as provided by article 14, new silver coins will only be coined and issued in exchange for gold coin or bullion at the rate of seventy-five centigrams of pure gold per peso. The gold thus received may be employed in the purchase of silver bars on the scale necessary for the mintage of the silver coins applied for.

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Article 16. Any inhabitant of the Republic is entitled to exchange subsidiary coins for dollar (peso) pieces and vice versa, provided that the amount presented by him for exchange is one hundred dollars or an exact multiple thereof. In these cases the department shall make terms with the persons in interest as to the charge for coinage and will take steps to satisfy itself as to the exportation of the pesos coined.

Article 18. With the exception of the case provided for in the preceding article, the charge for coinage of money of all kinds shall be levied by the Nation.

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Chapter III.

Legal circulation of coins.

Article 20. The obligation of paying any sum in Mexican coin is satisfied by handing over coins of the issues which may be current for the value which they represent. Therefore, the public offices, of the federation and the states, as well as establishments, companies, and private persons are obliged to accept said coins in payment of moneys owed to them without any other limitation than that laid down in the following article:

Article 21. Gold coins of any value and silver pesos are unlimited legal tender.

As to the other silver coins, the nickel coin and the bronze coins, their acceptance in one and the same payment is only obligatory for a sum not exceeding twenty pesos, as regards the silver coins, and for a sum not exceeding one peso with respect to the nickel and bronze coins.

Article 22. Foreign coins are not legal tender in the Republic, save and except the cases wherein the law expressly provides the contrary.

Engagements to pay in foreign coins, contracted within or outside of the Republic, will be fulfilled therein by delivering the equivalent in native coin at the rate of exchange prevailing on the day and at the place where the payment has to be effected.

Article 23. The terms of the three foregoing articles are not relinquishable so that any agreement to the contrary will be absolutely void before the law, articles 1423 and 2690 of the civil code of the federal district being thus derogated.

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Article 1. This law shall become effective on May 1, 1905. Nevertheless, from April 16, next, bullion presented by private persons at the mints and assays offices of the federation for coinage will cease to be admitted, and from the date of publication of this law metals from abroad shall not be accepted, unless they shall have been imported prior to this date.

Article 2. So long as gold coins coined up to the present time, with a nominal value of $20, be considered as legal tender, the same shall be accepted by public offices and private parties as the equivalent of thirty-nine pesos and forty-eight cents; and also ten dollar coins shall be considered as the equivialent of nineteen pesos and seventy-four cents; five dollar coins shall be the equivalent of nine pesos and eighty-seven cents; those of two dollars and fifty cents will be considered as equivalent to four pesos and ninty-three cents, and one dollar coins will be the equivalent of one peso and ninety-seven cents.

I, therefore, command that the present law be printed, published, circulated, and faithfully complied with.

Porfirio Diaz.