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Republic of Texas Currency

In the early days of Texas, a variety of currencies served as cash, including Spanish and Mexican money, bank notes from various U.S. states, and currency issued by private companies (call shinplasters). The Republic of Texas first issued paper money in 1837. This currency was called "star money" for the small star on the face of the bill. The star money was not face value currency, but rather interest-bearing notes (similar to a treasury bill) that circulated by being endorsed over to the next payee. In 1838, Texas issued change notes with elaborate designs on the front and blank backs.

The so-called Texas "redbacks" were issued in 1839. The government printed over two million dollars in redbacks, which were initially worth about 37 cents to a U.S. dollar.

Texas change note, 1838

Texas 3-dollar note

Texas redback currency, 1839

Texas five-dollar note

Texas 50-dollar note
Redback

By 1842, the redbacks had become virtually worthless and had lost the power of legal tender. Once again Texans used bank notes from other states and shinplasters instead of the Texas money.

A new series of currency, called exchequer bills, was issued in 1842. These were similar once again to treasury bills and little use was made of them by the general public.

The Republic of Texas had little in the way of silver and gold and never minted any coins.

Handbook of Texas article on Money of the Republic of Texas

Teachers and students: Want to print out the currency for a class project or just for fun? Click here to download a printable PDF file with the currency images, front and back.
Currency.pdf (2.8MB)

Page last modified: August 30, 2011