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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 6, February 10, 2008, Article 30

ARTICLE COVERS TEXAS BANKNOTE HISTORY

[This week the Houston Chronicle published a lengthy article
in conjunction with a Texas Numismatic Association exhibit
on the money of the Lone Star State.  Here are a few excerpts.
-Editor]

A worldwide financial panic fueled by tight credit and the
collapse of the real estate boom spread from country to
country. Meanwhile, the president promised to veto any
legislation he considered inflationary and damaging to
the economy.

That's the way things were 170 years ago for the fledgling
Republic of Texas.

"It was eerily similar to today," said Merrill Lynch vice
president James Bevill, who is president of the Texas
Numismatic Association.

Money printed by Texas while it was an independent country
will be on display in Houston starting Friday at the
association's winter coin and currency show.

The association also is compiling, for the Alamo, a display
of Texas money that will feature examples of every surviving
type of note, with currency on loan from 21 collectors.

"Not every historian is a numismatist," he said, "but
every numismatist is a historian."

Bevill is the author of the book A Paper Trail Across Texas
 The Epic Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in
the Republic of Texas, to be released in December.

The republic, which had no gold or silver, never minted
coins. The coins that were in use were from the United States,
Mexico and other countries.

Ironically, during the same period, the United States
printed no paper money and only minted gold and silver coins.

During the administration of President Mirabeau B. Lamar,
Texas issued money called "red backs" because of the bright
red-orange printing on the reverse sides.

Although Texas money was officially supposed to be worth
the same as U.S. money, the red backs soon were trading for
as little as 2 cents on the dollar.

In 1842, Texas began issuing "exchequer bills," printed
in denominations ranging from 12 1/2 cents to $100.

In the final days of the republic, the government started
taking exchequer bills in payment of taxes and then burned them.

Today the remaining exchequer bills are the most valuable
Republic of Texas money, Bevill said. The last time one of
the three known 50 cent bills was sold at auction, it went
for $28,700, he said.

In all, the Republic of Texas issued more than $4 million
in paper money printed in Houston, New Orleans and New York.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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