From last post; People, Printers and Mechanics of the Initial Issues.-
We, shall start by describing the physical characteristics of a Generic Debt Certificate, those features were almost the same for the vast majority of the Mexican Historical Bond issues, from 1824 to today, this, despite of the rise of the electronic trading markets, almost any security issued in electronic form in the world, has to be backed by a printed certificate, which may or not may be available to investors, depending on local regulations and standards.
In those times, the certificate, was a must, and the certificate had to have two main components, the first was form, which included layout design, art, security measures, simple, yet useful, the second and foremost, content, which included information on the background of the issue, meaning the legislation enacted to support the issuance of the debt to placed in the markets, term, principal amount of issue, interest to be paid, redemption, and other items of information as the issuer, in this case, the Mexican Government deemed as appropriate.
All the above information, was placed in the Face of the Bond, its Back, and in the Coupon Section.
Now that, we have summarized the basic information about a Generic Debt Certificate, we shall start by analyzing the physical part of the certificate.
The Paper.- until recently, most of the Mexican Government debt related printing (including currency), was made outside of Mexico.
The paper used was cotton (rag) based, with a thickness of 50-100 manometers (microns), depending on budgetary constraints, which defined the paper mill that supplied the material, bleaching was made with Calcium hydroxide based components, with almost no further use of whitening materials.
Paper materials, since very early times, as part of its artisan origins, have had identity and character, and this is evidenced by the Watermark imprint, which not only identified the paper mill, but the type of paper produced, some watermarks are true masterpieces of printing.
The Inks.- Inks have played a starring role in the production of information with legal, economic value or with both values, which are central to financial documents. The main feature sought in the dye material to be used in the imprint, was permanence, meaning the ability of the material of not fading over time, and security; some coloring materials were so expensive, that only kings and some government related structures, could afford to use them as ink, in that way, inks started to play a security role in document production.
With time passing by, industrialization gave inks a massive character, so, inks were separated in two basic types; a) common inks for everyday use, mostly mineral based inks and b) specialized inks; financial documents use the latter.
Printing.- From cave panting to modern day digital printing, the printing process is basically, the transfer of a coloring material embedded in a base like hands, rocks, metal plates, to some surface, capable of accepting the transfer of said color. The most common printing process is called Lithographic Printing, from the Greek word Lithos, meaning rock, flat rocks were some of the earliest printing equipments, the other basic process is called Engraved Printing. This process is one of the most sophisticated and one of the most beautiful and physically complex ways to print on a paper.
Documents were printed, mostly based on budget, by way of lithographic, engraved printing or a mixture of the two, which was the optimum, because its results were not only cost effective, but beautiful.
Seals.- Seals are perhaps, one of the most striking features of a document containing a law, an authorization or some sort of commitment. In the case of financial documents; sealing contains a pledging nature, whether that be, the commitment to pay, in exchange for the lender's money, or the pledge to share in the spoils of a venture, in exchange for the investor's money.
The combination of papers, inks, printing and sealing, gave the financial instruments, and of course, the Mexican Historical Bonds their identity, beauty and character, which are some of the traits that are used in a Bond's authentication process, since they have, as mentioned in earlier posts, modern use as assets, with either value as collectibles or as exotic investment or lending vehicles, despite of their formal legal standing.
If you are interested in taking a look at the way an ancient financial document is authenticated, please click on the button below.
In the next post, we shall take a peek, at some of the most important printers of Mexican Historical Bonds, in both sides of the Atlantic.
See you soon,
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.