Thursday, June 18, 2009

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna Bonds

We occasionally see one of the bonds issued and signed in 1866 by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, erstwhile President of Mexico. They are interesting pieces, and always attract strong demand and a good price. The design of the bonds is very similar to that of US Government Bonds of the period, doubtless not a coincidence.

The total loan, issued in New York, was for $750,000, in 1,500 bonds of $500. Bonds bearing quite high numbers look to have been issued, even though Santa Anna’s credit-worthiness must have appeared uncertain, to say the least. The bonds seen are uncancelled. To give confidence to investors, the bonds carry a reference to the State, City, and County of New York - but inspection shows this is only a notary’s declaration - and a large but entirely unwarranted heading “United States of America.” Repayment was promised for 1868, but was dependent on Santa Anna’s return to power, which never happened. Most were presumably destroyed by disappointed investors.

About Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: Known as "The Napoleon of the West," General Santa Anna was a man who controlled millions, who acquired fortunes and honors, who was President of Mexico five times, and who exercised an unrestricted dictatorship.

The estates and lands pledged by Santa Anna, at the issuance of the bonds, have long since been confiscated by the Mexican Government and each bond remains an engraved epitaph to this man’s contribution to history. The bonds themselves have become extremely rare, and the whereabouts of only a few are known. General Santa Anna left behind a colorful legacy in the form of these handsome historical bonds.

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