Coins were a rarity in early Texas, so colonists used the Spanish silver dollar known as “pieces of eight.” These were minted in Mexico City in 1535 and in the 1730’s. The coin could actually be cut into eight pie-shaped pieces called “bits.” Each bit was worth twelve and a half cents in U.S. currency. When the U.S. coined the quarter, it was worth twenty-five cents, or two bits. The half dollar was worth four bits, etc. The word peso is actually an abbreviation for the phrase, peso del ocho, meaning the weight or a piece of the eight.