Jump to content
CoinPeople.com

Wearing the Cinco Peso


mmarotta
 Share

Recommended Posts

According to popular legend, Texas Rangers wore badges cut from Mexico 5 Peso silver coins. To me, this is baloney. Am I wrong?

 

Everyone love history and Texans do everything bigger than anyone else. The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900 by Mike Cox; Forge (2008); $15.99 Was favorably reviewed in the Austin American Statesman in 2010 here. But we also know that tall tales are not history. I heard about this book from an artist I met when we were posted as security guards to the same site here in Austin. I told him that offhand, I thought the Mexican peso was pretty close to a US SIlver Dollar into the 20th century. When I got home, I looked it up. The SCWC shows nothing called "cinco pesos" that would pass for a silver dollar sized Mexican coin of the 19th to early 20th centuries. Maybe I overlooked something.

 

Working in Albuquerque a few years back, I saw a lot of law officer badges cut from silver dollars and other large coins at coin shows and gun shows; and I rejected them all as forgeries. Not that such a thing could not be real on occasion, but like "brothel tokens" made from Large Cents, spurious "lumber tokens" and "slave badges" and "Western Assay Bars" fakes exist in abundance; and genuines might not exist at all.

 

Any opinions on the Cinco Peso of the Texas Rangers?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Holabird-Kagin auction at the WESTS show had a number of badges from New Mexico from the Vinegar collection. The bidding was spirited (mostly on the phone and internet since most of the collectors in the audience were token collectors). Lot 883 was a constable badge from Kelly, NM described as being made on a Mexican Liberty Cap 5 peso, hand engraved. It sold for $900. Lot 891 was a Mogollon marshall badge, made from a Mexican peso. The edge is described as being lettered, "Agriculiuha Industria Comercio." It sold for $700. In all, 35 badges were sold in the auction. I did not inspect them myself and I wouldn't be an expert anyway. Given that Holabird deals with early western Americana and given that Vinegar focus and expertise was on the Indian-trader and territorial period in the Southwest, I have no reason to suspect the items were fantasy pieces. I suspect cinco peso badges of the Texas Rangers do exist which is not to say that there are not fakes in the market place. While I did not examine these myself, the photographs appear that the coin was first beaten into the approximate size and shape before the design was cut out and the letters engraved.

 

The relevant catalog section starts at: http://liveauctions....Auction_as22472

 

Obviously it would have to be the peso coin since the 5 peso coin was gold, but Cinco Peso could be a modern term relating to the practice started in the 1960s of using the 1940s Mexican 5 peso pieces as blanks to strike badges for the Texas Rangers. Their historical site just says the authentic early badges were cut from Mexican coins, probably by jewelers.

 

I also note several web sites offering to make replica badges and selling replica badges showing the coin design on the reverse. These are obviously fakes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bill, thanks for the link to Holabird-Kagin. I should have thought about them first, of course. And, also, I forgot about the Cuauhetamoc and other commems. That would be much later and more modern, of course, but could have given rise to the common meaning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
  • 3 years later...

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:45 AM
According to popular legend, Texas Rangers wore badges cut from Mexico 5 Peso silver coins. To me, this is baloney. Am I wrong?

Everyone love history and Texans do everything bigger than anyone else. The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900 by Mike Cox; Forge (2008); $15.99 Was favorably reviewed in the Austin American Statesman in 2010 here. But we also know that tall tales are not history. I heard about this book from an artist I met when we were posted as security guards to the same site here in Austin. I told him that offhand, I thought the Mexican peso was pretty close to a US SIlver Dollar into the 20th century. When I got home, I looked it up. The SCWC shows nothing called "cinco pesos" that would pass for a silver dollar sized Mexican coin of the 19th to early 20th centuries. Maybe I overlooked something.

Working in Albuquerque a few years back, I saw a lot of law officer badges cut from silver dollars and other large coins at coin shows and gun shows; and I rejected them all as forgeries. Not that such a thing could not be real on occasion, but like "brothel tokens" made from Large Cents, spurious "lumber tokens" and "slave badges" and "Western Assay Bars" fakes exist in abundance; and genuines might not exist at all.

Any opinions on the Cinco Peso of the Texas Rangers?


Hey Mike. That was me and I actually remember that conversation. You were very forthright and knowledgeable on coins- then as you are here. I am an artist, veteran and other things, but I'm also a contributor on a few of Mike's ranger books if you'll check the various acknowledgement sections. When Mike and I were researching Wearing the Cinco Peso and Time of the Rangers in 2007/ 2008 (originally one big book), I questioned the whole cinco peso tale and title of the book because there were no Mexican coins of this denomination until their 1947 minting, little documentation and few photographs of pre-1900 rangers displaying badges. In a well-written title note before the contents of the first book, Mike alludes to the Cinco Peso Cutting Legend, but states: "......at some point a Texas Ranger, perhaps adhering to Childress's measure, pulled his long knife and carved a star in a silver Mexican eight real piece........" then gives the cinco peso's mid 20th Century minting history. Mike then says: "The story may even be apocryphal", but cites an 1888 photograph of a known Texas ranger wearing a possible Mexican coin badge. I think it is "possible" that some late 19th Century rangers (mostly sergeants and officers) had special badges made from 8 real and one peso coins by jewelers, but it was not a widespread practice as many believe. You did set me straight- that artistic early rangers did not personally cut stars into 90-93% silver Mexican coins with a mere knife.

Sloan Rodgers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...