Designed primarily for numismatists and other curiosos, Gaytán’s study of Revolutionary coinage is only of tangential interest to the historian. The catalog is arranged alphabetically by states, replete with pictures of each coin described. The descriptions cater to the interests of the coin buff—size, weight, metal content, distinguishing characteristics and general value. Reflecting for just an instant one can appreciate that a coin classified as “fain” is not quite as valuable as a duplicate designated as “veri fain.”
The historian will find that the introduction is the most valuable part of the book. After a brief bibliographical essay on previous studies of Revolutionary coinage, the author indicates that in Mexico the historical setting of a coin often determines its value more than its scarcity or condition. As an example he cites the silver peso minted in 1914 by the Villistas which, under the Constitutionalist banner, contains the legend “Muera Huerta.” The entire Revolutionary phenomenon (not excepting, of course, the nature of the historiography) has inflated the demand and thus the value of this item. In fact, it commands a price not much lower than a similar Constitutionalist coin, ten times rarer, with the simple inscription “H. del Parral.”
Unhappy that foreigners have produced most of the studies on Mexican coinage, Gaytán calls for the establishment of a chair of numismatics at the National University. Given a more professional interest it is possible that works of greater historiographical value could be produced. This work, however, will do little more for the historian than enable him to feign a little expertise during a Sunday outing at Lagunilla. Don’t offer more than 500 pesos for a “Muera Huertas de Seis Estrellas”!