Angel Navarro published an article this summer in the Bulletin of the Royal Academy of History in Madrid, Spain about currency reform in Puerto Rico and the riots over Mexican silver coin revaluation. Here's a Google-translated excerpt, with my additional edits. The research was made possible by a grant from the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society
CURRENCY REFORM PROJECTS IN
PUERTO RICO AND THE RIOTS CAUSED
FOR THE MEXICAN SILVER COIN
Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC Treasure Auction 17 - Auction date: 29-30 April 2015 - Lot: 1398
Puerto Rico (under Spain), 1/4 dollar, fleur-de-lis countermark (1884) on a Guanajuato, Mexico, cap-and-rays 2R, 1842PM, very rare combination. KM-unl. 6.03 grams. Full and bold countermark, rather worn host (Good) yet with clear date and other peripheral detail on that side, holed at edge.
The Overseas Minister, under the Law of June 29, 1888, article 6,
According to the Treasury and before the serious monetary crisis in Puerto Rico, decided that it would proceed to supply currency of all kinds to the markets in Puerto Rico, in the amount deemed necessary for commercial transactions. It would apply to the expenses that said service required or could be of the coinage in the Casa de Moneda de Madrid on behalf of the Treasury of the island, thus being understood, of course, granted the indispensable credit, if these were not enough, or would opt for remittances of the currency that circulated in that time in Spain.
The General Government of the island of Puerto Rico, in a letter dated June 9 of 1889, number 366, negotiated 5th., wrote to the Overseas Minister so that adopt a convenient resolution regarding the Mexican pesos, since the Telegraphic Company, Limited of the West Indies and Panama, would admit the Mexican peso at 75 cents. He further informed her that this did not alter the Company's rates (approved in American gold), given the depreciation of the Mexican silver (which was the only currency that circulated in Puerto Rico), was not possible that the government would oppose such resolution respecting the contract and established with said Company.
The letter reminded the Overseas Minister of the repeated claims
of the Chamber of Commerce, the Bank, all the Puerto Rican press, the excitement and the prevailing restlessness before the justified fear of the drop, each day greater, of the mexican silver. In addition, they reminded him of the unfounded fear that the exchange would be delayed indefinitely or not carried out, fearing that the resolution of the Telegraphic Company gave rise to the beginning of a conflict and to the Comercio de Puerto Rico were to adopt an identical resolution which would undoubtedly have of bringing a consequent disturbance due to the multiple interests that would be seen hurt. The interest group that would be hurt the most would be, above all, everything, that of the town, since, however peaceful it was, it was obvious that they would have to resist losing, from one moment to another, 25% of their money's value.
The Government was concerned that this situation would cause local disruptions of public order, which would be manifested in the working classes, which would be considered affected. In addition to the above, the situation would worsen with business stoppage. This would be a forcible consequence of the lack of stability of the value of the currency and would also make credit and commerce suffer, by decreasing public revenues
To read the complete article (in Spanish), see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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