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Early Paper Money of America / La Louisiane / 1782 April 12 Spanish Billets

100,740 pesos in peso denominations of Spanish bills and an unknown amount of denominations in reales were received in New Orleans in June 1782 by the fifth Spanish governor of Luisiana, Don Esteban Rodriguez Miro (1744-1795) and were intended to be used to pay soldiers. One variety of 8 reales and all of the peso denominations specified payment in silver. Coin was requested and apparently paper money was not acceptable since Antonio St. Maxent, the Commandante of the garrison at Galveston, wrote that his portion of the shipment arrived wet and were good for nothing. The peso denominations are detailed on a manifest prepared, in New Orleans and were to be signed by the Intendant, the Comptroller and the Treasurer of the Colony when issued. The illustrations are from specimens in the Archivo General de Indias (General Archives of the West Indies) in Seville, Spain. The issue was printed in Spain and was the first paper money prepared for Spain or its dominions. The lowest three denominations in reales were undated. Some specimens show rubrica or flourishes in the place of official signatures. Pursuant to a trial in Natchez and continued in New Orleans in November 1782 Guilermo Jones and Alejandro Greden were executed for counterfeiting this issue. On January 16, 1789 redemption of all Spanish paper money began pursuant to the Royal Order of October 1788 following the fire in New Orleans. [Early Paper Money of America, 5th edition.]

See also several articles by Ángel O. Navarro Zayas, which argue that this issue was in fact produced in Puerto Rico in 1781 and not New Orleans in 1782:

"Spanish Colonial Paper Money in Puerto Rico and New Orleans," The Numismatist, October 2018, pp. 47-51. 

"Brief Analysis of Colonial Paper Money of Spanish New Orleans," The Journal of Early American Numismatics, December 2019, pp. 151-194.

"Report of New Copies of the Issuance of Paper Money in Puerto Rico," Documenta & Instrumenta (2014), pp. 195-208.

Archival documentation related to this issue, from the General Archive of the Indies, is at

2 Reales
4 Reales
8 Reales
8 Reales Fuertes [50,000] ▷CF◁
2 Pesos Fuertes [20,000] ▷CF◁
2 1/2 Pesos Fuertes [20,000] ▷CF◁
5 Pesos Fuertes [5,800]
10 Pesos Fuertes [3,000] ▷CF◁
20 Pesos Fuertes [1,000]
25 Pesos Fuertes [400]
30 Pesos Fuertes [300]
50 Pesos Fuertes [240]

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