5 Dollar "Redback" Currency Note


Example of the back
  • Author: Republic of Texas
  • Date: 1840
  • Medium: Steel engraving, original currency
  • Condition: Very good
  • Inches: 15 3/8" x 11 5/8" framed
  • Centimeters: 39.42 x 29.81 framed
  • Price: $2,095.00

Republic of Texas - "Redback"

The 5 dollar note features an Indian brave seated in the center with tomahawk and bow, looking over the ruins of a building. Birds in flight appear in the distance over the ruins. On the right side is a portrait of Erastus "Deaf" Smith, the famed scout in the Texian army. The Lone Star is located on the bottom in the center of the Republic of Texas Seal. The note is signed by James H. Starr and Mirabeau B. Lamar. [Bevill 206]

The appearance of the redbacks marked the first time a design appeared on the reverse of a Texas note. They have a distinct burnt orange color with the letters T-E-X-A-S surrounding the five-pointed star. This color on the reverse earned them the nickname "redbacks." The bills were most the prolifically produced and their burnt orange color has remained a popular one in the city of Austin to this day. The University of Texas at Austin later adopted the burnt orange color for it's athletic teams, more than a century after the first redbacks appeared, although there is no conclusive evidence that the color was adopted from the paper money. [Bevill 204]

The Austin change notes and non-interest bearing redbacks are now known as the 4th and 5th series commonly referred to as the Republic of Texas series. This second series of change notes and the redbacks are often lumped together and collected as a set because of their similar designs and use of allegorical figures. There are differences in paper, designers, engraving firms, and the printed reverse on the denominations of $5 and above which dominate the 5th series. the primary commonality is the similar design of the bills and that both issues bear the wording "The Republic of Texas" across the face. [Bevill 206]

The note is presented in an archival framing treatment; handmade block-corner frame with a gilded lip and decorative gold stars applied to the corners. The note is float mounted on fabric mat with a gold around the opening, and protected by museum glass.

Bevill, James. The Paper Republic the Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in the Republic of Texas. Houston, Tex.: Bright Sky, 2009. Print.
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