My first Mexican Banco note is a specimen* Tamaulipas 20 Pesos from 1902-1914 (S431s, M522s). As I have now discovered the state of Tamaulipas is on the east coast, bordering Texas and therefore facing the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Tampico is located in the south east corner of the state and is not only a major port but the largest city, and also where the first branch of the bank was established by the Governor and a group of local business men and as such the back of all the notes in this series reflects the city Coat of Arms.
Only it doesn't, well not quite!
The boatman and the land are fine however the two animals in the foreground on the Coat of Arms are otters as Tampico apparently means 'place of the water dogs' in the Mayan derivative language called Huastec, not surprising given the ideal conditions for the species provided by the marshy coastline. However given the reference to 'water dogs' I guess the American Bank Note Company were not paying complete attention and engraved two 'dogs' instead of two otters. They may not be entirely to blame as I assume the Banco de Tamaulipas management also approved of the design although they may have thought the provided 'coat of arms' was enough description. My note is Series H which is the last series for this denomination and was only partly issued from 21st April 1914, due to yet another change of government, so I expect updating the design was not practical at this point as there was a war on!
Anyone have any further insight?
*Specimens and remainders seem to be almost the only way to get high grade examples of these earlier Mexican notes as the issued notes were widely circulated, were largely recalled and incinerated, and are therefore usually only found in low grades (Fair to Fine and very occasionally VF).