Eye get pwocket chaynge!
You probably know there was a time in American history when a piece of paper currency was called a horse blanket. This is because the size of paper these bills were printed upon was larger than what we see today. For sure not horse blanket sized though, and it would be a bit of a stretch, if you'll pardon the pun, to get that bill over the back of your old gray mare. Still the nickname sticks, and today we now know that money indeed can be a horse blanket. But did you know that the horse blanket was also once money? Well, sort of. Out in the West, in 1830's California, it was a wild frontier except along the coastlines where a busy trade took place with ships bound for ports in Boston as well as other parts of the world. There was no established American monetary system because California was not in America at the time. And because of a War of Independence with Spain, Mexico was not a part of Spain either. This was Mexican California, once only a series of Spanish Missions and Rancherias, residents of all sorts now worked to profit off of a booming California cattle trade and the hides and tallow it produced. Inhabitants of what later becomes the Golden State relied upon the value within precious metals to conduct day to day business, mainly silver coins and bullion. Richard Henry Dana Junior in his book Two Years Before The Mast says that while he was surprised at the quantity of silver in circulation circa 1834 in northern California, it was not just silver being spent: "I certainly never saw so much silver at one time in my life, as during the week that we were at Monterey. The truth is, they have no credit system, no banks, and no way of investing money but in cattle. They have no circulating medium but silver and hides---which the sailors call California Bank Notes. Everything that they buy they must pay for in one or the other of these things. The hides they bring down dried and doubled, in clumsy ox-carts, or upon mules' backs, and the money they carry tied up in a handkerchief;--fifty, eighty, or an hundred dollars and half dollars." Now you know a little more about the relationship between a "horse blanket" and a horse blanket, and how a California Bank Note not only kept you warm but could also get you dinner and a bottle of rye.