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In the Spanish and Mexican eras, California was an economy very cut off from its mother countries. Most trade was by bartering goods [Josiah Belden by Doyce Nunis, Jr., 1962].

Is there evidence of the use of cash for transactions? Presumably the money would have been reales, the "Spanish dollar".

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Dallas's The Hide and Tallow Trade in Alta California reveals that in 1822, William Hartnell negotiated his firm's deal with the San Gabriel Mission to pay for half its acquisitions in cash, half in kind.

About the 1830s, from Hague and Langum's Thomas O. Larkin:

Cash was gladly accepted in Larkin's establishment, but specie was scarce in Mexican California. Most retail customers paid their accounts in cattle hides....

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