Spanish-Era Coin with "Lone Star" Motif
Privately minted coin may be first use of Texas Lone Star
How did Texas become the "Lone Star State"? While the phrase originated from the single-star flag of the Republic of Texas (now the Texas state flag), the lone star symbol was also used in Spanish Texas. In 1818, the Spanish governor of San Fernando de Béxar (present-day San Antonio) gave permission to José Antonio de la Garza to mint small coins known as jolas. The coins were worth about one-half of a Spanish real, with approximately the purchasing power of a modern nickel, and were intended to address the shortage of silver currency for small transactions.
Garza was a former governor himself and a prominent rancher. The coin features his initials "JAG" on one side and a five-pointed star on the other. This may be the first use of the Lone Star symbol in Texas. Garza went on to serve as governor again in 1832, during the period of Mexican rule. Garza County, located in northwest Texas, was named in honor of his family in 1876.
Eugene Freeman, Park Ridge, IL.
This artifact is not on view.