Texas Historical Documents

Republic of Texas

Paper Money

During the 10 years that Texas was its own country it authorized the issue of $4,095,990 in paper money in several different styles. President Sam Houston authorized the publication of this $75 bill in 1838. The money created at that time was commonly called "star money" because of large stars printed on the front of the bills. But with no design on the back and poor print quality, star money was widely counterfeited. In 1839 President Mirabeau B. Lamar issued these $5 and $50 bills. Called "red backs" because of the ornate red designs printed on the backside of the bills, this added feature helped deter counterfeiting.

Republic currency was similar to savings bonds in many ways. Although people traded them for goods and services, only after the notes matured would the government redeem them. An "X" was then cut on the front of notes to prevent employee theft.

The value of money was not very stable in the Republic. The red backs, for example, were only valued at two cents on the dollar in 1841!

$3 Bill Front
This 3 Dollar bill is an example of the currency issued in 1838
$3 Bill No Back
The back of these bills were not printed
$5 Bill Front
This 5 Dollar bill is an example of the currency issued in 1839
$5 Bill Red Back
This is the infamous "Red Back" of the $5 note