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10 Pesos 1961, Mexico

in Krause book Number: 58i
Years of issue: 08.11.1961
Edition: 43 700 000
Signatures: Unknown signature
Serie: Serie 1957 - 1870
Specimen of: 10.02.1954
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 157 x 67
Printer: American Bank Note Company, New-York

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

10 Pesos 1961




10 Pesos 1961

For many years, two of the lowest denomination notes circulating in Mexico were adorned with portraits of women. The 10-peso note carried a young woman in a peculiar and ornate headdress, while the 5-peso note bore the head of a lady garlanded with jewellery. Both women appear on banknotes issued by the Banco de Mexico, but one of them is not Mexican; both women have been the subject of debate, but for entirely different reasons; and both women have been identified, but, for the identity of one, a legend continues to supplant the truth.

La Tehuana

On 10 Pesos note is is Maria Estela Ruiz Velázquez, sometimes known as La Tehuana. Miss Estela Ruiz appears on the 10-peso notes issued by the Banco de Mexico from 22 September 1937 to 10 May 1967, a period of forty years. During this time she became one of the most recognizable faces in Mexico, but how did she come to appear on the banknotes?

In an age when people of fame and national significance are placed on the banknotes of many countries, it may come as a surprise to learn that Estela Ruiz appeared on the banknotes of the Banco de Mexico because she won a beauty contest! What would the pageant organizers of ‘Miss World’ or ‘Miss Universe’ give to be able to offer such a prize today.

It appears that the decision to run a contest was taken by officials of the recently elected government of General Lázaro Cárdenas, who had been elected President of Mexico in 1936, succeeding President Calles. The contest was specifically orchestrated to select a woman to appear on the 10-peso banknote, with the contestants dressed in the traditional costume of the "Tehuana". A Tehuana is a woman from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the state of Oaxaca and they are well known for their traditional dress. The costume pageant was won by Maria Estela Ruiz Velázquez and when the winning photograph was shown to General Cárdenas, he was reported to have been enchanted with the image.

The photograph of Estela Ruiz in the winning costume was provided to the American Banknote Company, who then reproduced it on the 10-peso note. The ornate, traditional dress worn by Estela Ruiz is made of black velvet with embroidered flowers in various colours. Sometimes the flowers on these traditional dresses are enhanced with threads of pure gold. The underskirt is made of lace and, as can be seen in the portrait on the banknote, so is the elaborate headdress worn by the Tehuana.

Although Maria Estela Ruiz Velázquez won the costume pageant in 1936, and the right to adorn the 10-peso note, there is little else known about the beauty queen. Despite winning the beauty contest, she never married and worked for years as a schoolteacher in Mexico City. She spent many years living with her sister Delia, a dancer, and her father. She died penniless in April 2004, at 92 years of age. Estela Ruiz was never paid for having her portrait on the notes, of for winning the beauty contest. However, Estela Ruiz expressed a sense of humour when acknowledging the wide circulation of her portrait, as she was reported as having said “No woman has been in the hands of so many horsemen as I”.

Needless to say, not everyone in Mexico was in favour of placing the portrait of a beauty queen on the country’s banknotes and the move caused discussion and debate amongst the public. However, despite some dissent, the portrait of the pageant winner remained on the 10-peso notes for the next forty years.

The two low-denomination notes issued by the Banco de Mexico, of 5 pesos and 10 pesos, are classic banknotes produced by the American Banknote Company. In the modern era, when banknote designs are frequently refreshed, it is worth pondering a time when individual designs could be issued unchanged for forty to fifty years. Was it just the era, that kept these two notes in circulation for such a long time? Perhaps the subjects of the notes - a lady with a reputation and a beauty queen - helped to stem any thought of change! (Mr. Peter Symes)


10 Pesos 1961

Panoramic view at Guanajuato, 1820.

Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is part of the macroregion of Bajío. It is located in a narrow valley, which makes the streets of the city narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides. Many of the city’s thoroughfares are partially or fully underground. The historic center of the city has numerous small plazas and colonial-era mansions, churches and civil constructions built using pink or green sandstone.

The origin and growth of the city resulted from the discovery of minerals in the mountains surrounding it. The mines were so rich that the city was one of the most influential during the colonial period. One of the mines, La Valenciana, accounted for two-thirds of the world’s silver production at the height of its production.

The city is home to the Mummy Museum, which contains naturally mummified bodies that were found in the municipal cemetery between the mid XIX and 20th centuries. It is also home to the Festival Internacional Cervantino, which invites artists and performers from all over the world as well as Mexico. The city was also the site of the first battle of the Mexican War of Independence between insurgent and royalist troops at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas. The city was named a World Heritage Site in 1988.

In lower left corner is a seal of Bank of Mexico.

Denominations in numerals are on the right and left sides.