How the Republic of Texas began its Paper Money Career...
Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836. At that time a number of different specie traded as cash – Spanish and Mexican coinage, various United States notes and privately issues paper often referred to as “shinplasters.” In 1837 the newly formed Republic of Texas issued its first paper money. Printed poorly this “star money,” so called for the large star in the obverse, had a blank side and was easily counterfeited. While they were traded by merchants, they weren’t actual currency but rather interest bearing notes that once matured could be redeemed through the Texas Department of Treasury. These notes were then cancelled with large “X” cut through the paper.
A year later, Texas updated these notes in an effort to thwart counterfeits. The new notes featured an elaborate reverse printed in red ink. The notes were nick named “redbacks” and in 1839 the Texas government printed over $2,000,000.00 in face value, worth at the time 37c to the U.S. Dollar.
By 1842, Texas currency was virtually worthless. Texans and Texas merchants were once again forced to use foreign currencies to facilitate commerce. Texas tried again to shore up its financial woes. Another currency, similar to the previous monies, was issued called “exchequer bills.” These were not popular and rarely used in general circulation.
In 1845, Texas joined the Union. The currencies of the Republic of Texas provide a colorful glimpse into the history of this great state. At U.S. Coins and Jewelry we carry a large selection of U.S. and Republic of Texas currencies, memorabilia and historical documents. Our trained staff is ready to elaborate on the items of interest in our store, or help you evaluate the rare pieces you may have.