Sunday, May 6, 2012


Tobacco history in the Philippines is intertwined with wealth and money.   During the Spanish colonial times the tobacco monopoly successfully raised revenues for the government and made Philippine tobacco famous all over Asia.  The government exported the tobacco to other countries and also part of it to the cigarette and cigar factories in Manila. 

Among the non-food crops, tobacco is the most widely grown commercially, thus, contributing a sizable amount to the economy. Up to now tobacco continues to dominate the agricultural, economic, social and political life in the region’s growing it. The tobacco industry is a major force in the development of these areas especially in Ilocos and Cagayan, which became a source of power and money for those who control it.

This is the reason why we would see money designs on some of the turn-of-the-century cigarette wrappers.  As a numismatist (collector of coins and banknotes) I love to see the artistry incorporating our money with the design of these vintage cigarette labels.  

CONANT Hebra Entre -Fuerte. Nice cigarette wrapper designed like a Philippine money
ANG MGA KAIBIGAN - ISABELA PURA. Poem by CUA-TICO on the side. Philippine coin design on the right.

DOS NINOS - BETIS PAMPANGA featuring the Philippine coinage during the American period

SALAPI NG FILIPINAS cigarette wrapper with patriotic poem

MONEDA FILIPINA cigarette wrapper.  featuring a lady with a hammer and an bald eagle on American shield which is similar to the design of US Philippine coinage.  Philippine artist Melecio Figueroa was enlisted to provide the designs for the coinage, creating a a standing woman design for the silver denomination coins, which have been modeled on his daughter Bianca.

MONEDA FILIPINA Cigarette Wrapper. Similar to the design on top with some color and graphic variations.

The U.S. - Filipinas coins were designed by Melecio Figueroa, a Filipino 'artist living in California, and struck in the U.S. Bureau of the Mint. The silver coins minted between 1903 and 1912 were made of silver.
MANIAMAN Simeon Roque. Featuring the US Philippines 5 centavos and the design is similar to the  10 Pesos BPI banknote.
Bank of the Philippine Islands 10 Pesos banknote.

5 Centavos US-Philippine coin with a seated man and volcano at the background. This was also designed by  Melecio Figueroa
MASALI  HEBRA. Nice cigarette wrapper with deign similar to the 1908 El Banco Espanol Filipino Cinco Pesos banknote. 

1908 El Banco Espanol Filipino Cinco Pesos banknote

PICABURIAN  HEBRA. Nice cigarette wrapper with deign similar to the 20 Pesos Treasury Philippine banknote. 

1918 20 Pesos Treasury Certificate banknote. 

ANG MANGA PUSO - PRUDENCIO MENDIOLA. Featuring the Sacred Heart of Mary and the reverse of the 1897 UN PESO coin 

EL PACIFICADOR TAMPOY - GREGORIA VASQUEZ. Featuring the young King Alfonso XIII  similar to the 1897 UN PESO coin 

1897 UN PESO bore the profile of the young Alfonso XIII, with the reverse side marked  ISLAS FILIPINAS

LA RECOMPENSA MANILA.  Featuring the young Alfonso XII coin design on wrapper

1892 Gold 4 Pesos bore the profile Alfonso XII, with the reverse side marked FILIPINAS

HALF DOLLAR ISABELA PURA. Showing American Morgan Dollar coin design

LA JUANITA -DE BENITA SANTOS. Showing a Filipina Mestiza and reverse of a US Morgan Dollar coin

US Morgan Silver Dollar.  The coin is named after its designer, United States Mint Assistant Engraver George T. Morgan. The obverse depicts a profile portrait representing Liberty, while the reverse depicts an eagle with wings outstretched.

MONEDA DE ORO HEBRA ENTRE FUERTE - Calxto Surla Ca. Showing a 1909 American 20 Dollar Gold Coin.
The 20 Dollars Liberty Head Gold Double Eagle was designed by James B. Longacre

MALCA CUALTA MALUTU ORO - PEDRO GUIAO featuring a Filipino farmer with cane and American dime coins design.

The Barber dime is named for its designer, Charles E. Barber, who was Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint from 1879 to 1917

EL CARPINTERO  - ALBERTO BATAC. Showing a Filipino carpenter and reverse of a Mexican Peso Coin. 

The New Mexican republic minted this Un Peso silver coin that was introduced between 1867 and 1900. The obverses featured the Mexican 'eagle' and the legend "Republica Mexicana."
EL TORO - NICANOR GOSUM . Featuring a bull and foreign currencies on the right side

LA HOJA PURA,  featuring a seated lady with torch, at the bottom are coins of different nations.