The Cinco Peso Badge

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The Cinco Peso badge is the badge most closely associated with the Texas Rangers.However, it has a rather unique history that is more closely associated with border lawmen in general.

Back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, there weren’t many, if any, companies making badges for lawmen. For this reason, a lot of the old-timers began to have their badges made out of coins and crafted by local jewelers. Of course, defacing a piece of American money was against the law, so the border peace officers began to use Mexican coins, specifically the 5 peso (cinco peso) coin that had a high content of pure silver.

Texas Rangers, working the border, saw these coin/badges and liked them. It became a status symbol for those Rangers who actually served time along the Rio Grande and considered themselves superior to other Rangers who worked the interior of the state. In the early 1960’s, after Capt. Hardy B. Purvis passed away, his widow and son (Texas Ranger H.L. Purvis) acquired enough cinco peso coins to have badges made for all of the Rangers that were currently serving. In 1962, this became the official Texas Ranger badge.

Today, you will still see the Cinco Peso badge on the left breast of many Texas peace officers, especially those who serve along the river.

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