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Currency during the Texas Republic

February 6, 2009

The Republic of Texas used several different forms of currency during its existence. The library has a substantial collection of currencies of the Republic, as well as Confederate and U.S. currency.

The most commonly used money during the Republic period was what was issued by the Republic. On June 12, 1837 the Republic, under President Sam Houston, passed an act allowed the issue of $500,000 of promissory notes.


The star note was issued by an act on June 12, 1837 under President Sam Houston.

The star note was issued by an act on June 12, 1837 under President Sam Houston.

According to the Handbook of Texas Online, these notes “bore 10% interest, and were payable twelve months from date.” These notes were called “Star Money” because of the small star on the face of the note.



$2 change note

$2 change note

In December of 1837 the Republic authorized $10,000 of “change notes” (notes in smaller denominations). These notes had no interest and were able to be redeemed for notes with larger denominations.


President Mirabeau Lamar issued a new type of money, called “red backs.”

$5 Redback

$5 Redback

This money came in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $100, and $500. Change notes also existed. When first introduced, Red Backs had a value of 37 ½ cents to the U.S. dollar. Eventually, the value went to two cents.


$20 Redback

$20 Redback

$50 Redback

$50 Redback

The back side of a Redback

The back side of a Redback

The Republic was plagued with money troubles for its entire existence. Though rich in land and national resources, the Republic had to import most manufactured goods. This dependence on imports depleted the Republic’s gold and silver supply, since all imported goods had to be paid in these materials. The Republic was also greatly affected by the United States’ bank panic of 1837, which had lasting effects until around 1845. The Republic was in great need of the United State’s economic assistance that came with annexation in 1845.

For more detailed information on the history of currency in the Republic from the Handbook of Texas Online, click here.

Click here for a full citation of documents and images included in this entry.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. eva permalink
    September 8, 2009 7:36 pm

    i have a 3 dollar promicionary bill from 1840 i would like to know if it has any value? any collectionist that are interest in it?

  2. drtlibrary permalink*
    September 9, 2009 10:25 am

    An appraiser, ideally someone who specializes in historic currency, will be able to judge the current value of your document.

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