Texas Ranger Bicentennial Badge Exhibit
The Collections Department installed a Bicentennial Badge exhibit to kick off the 200th Anniversary of the Texas Rangers this year. Texas Rangers are internationally known for the circle-star badges they wear. Although they did not have an official badge for the majority of their 200-year history, the badge is the most iconic symbol of the historic law enforcement organization. The Rangers were given their first official badge by the State of Texas when they became a division of the Department of Public Safety in 1935—over 100 years after their founding in 1823.
The circle-star style of badge Rangers wear today was first issued in 1962, but the circle-star design has been popular since the 1870s. The earliest authenticated circle-star Ranger badge was worn by a Ranger Captain in Ira Aten’s company in the 1880s. It is made from a Mexican coin, which is a tradition the Rangers still uphold today.
“History of the Texas Ranger Badge” details a portion of the history of the iconic symbol, the use of both silver and gold Mexican Pesos in the creation of the badges, and features badges crafted by Kevin Johnson of Johnson Bits and Spurs and Rick Lopez of Lopez Engraving, two of the silversmiths authorized by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Texas Ranger Bicentennial Badge Collection
In February 2022, we received a magnificent gift of 13 badges representing the current ranks of Texas Rangers service. As we approach the 200th year of their service, this is an important and iconic reminder of their dedication to the people of Texas. Each badge clearly shows the painstaking care and hundreds of hours of master craftsmanship that Kevin Johnson had invested in this legacy for future generations.
This set of badges commemorating the 200th anniversary take their place among the museum’s historic collection of badges spanning the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. TRHFM badge collections span the years from the horseback days of the Old West to this new modern-day collection. We even have a set of three that orbited the Earth on Space Shuttle Endeavor and flew to the International Space Station.
We appreciate the generosity of the late J. Fred Bucy III and his family in supplying the gold coins used in the set. Like the Sam Houston painting restoration Bucy and family underwrote, the set is a permanent legacy for future generations. We appreciate Ranger Chief Collins' authorization to have the set made for the Ranger's permanent collections at the museum.