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Dollar Sign ($)

Dollar Sign ($)



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Published by: api-3741779 on Oct 15, 2008
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Dollar Sign ($)

The sign is attested in business correspondence between British North America and Mexico in the 1770s, as referring to the Spanish-Mexican peso. The piastre was known as "Spanish dollar" in British North America, and in 1785, it was adopted as U.S. currency, together with both the term "dollar" and the $ sign. Interestingly, the first instance of the symbol on U.S.A. currency is on the reverse of a $1 coin first issued in February 2007, under the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005.

The sign's ultimate origins are not certain, though it is widely accepted that it comes from the Spanish coat of arms, which carries the two Pillars of Hercules and the motto Non Plus Ultra in the shape of an "S".

Spanish Coat of Arms

The most widely accepted explanation is that the dollar sign derives from the Spanish coat of arms engraved on the Spanish colonial silver coins "Real de a Ocho" ("piece of eight") or Spanish dollar under circulation in the Spanish colonies of America and Asia, as well as in the English Thirteen Colonies and later the U.S. and Canada.

The Spanish coat of arms has two columns (||), which represent thePillars of Hercules and an "S"-shaped ribbon around each, with the motto "Non Plus Ultra" originally, and later "Plus Ultra".

In 1492, King Ferdinand II of Aragon put Gibraltar under the new joined rule
of the Spanish throne. He adopted the symbol of the Pillars of Hercules and

added the Latin phrase Non plus ultra \u2013 meaning "and nothing further", indicating "[this is] the end of the (known) world". But asChristopher Columbus in 1492 travelled to the Americas, the saying was changed to

Plus Ultra \u2013 as there was more out there. This symbol was especially

adopted by Charles V and was a part of his coat of arms as a symbol of his American possessions and riches. When the Spanish conquistadores found gold and silver in the New World, Charles V's symbol was stamped on the coins made from these metals. These coins with the Pillars of Hercules over two hemispheres (columnarios) were spread around America and Europe, and the symbol was ultimately adopted by the country that became the United States and by many of the continent's other independent nations. Later on, salesmen wrote signs that, instead of sayingdollar, had this handwritten symbol, and in turn this developed to the simpleS with two vertical bars.

There is also another explanation that makes the sign derive from where "$"
is a corruption of the letters "PS" orPS
, used as an abbreviation for
Alternative origin hypotheses
There are a number of alternative origin theories, with several degrees of
verifiability and academic acceptance.
From 'US'

That $ is a monogram of U and S, which was used as a mark on money bags issued by the United States Mint. The letters U and S superimposed resemble the historical double stroke "$" sign: the bottom of the 'U' disappears into the bottom curve of the 'S', leaving two vertical lines. This

double-stroke dollar sign has been used to refer to the U.S. currency. Thus, the one-stroke design may have been modified to the double-stroke design to represent United States currency. This idea was largely popularized by the novel Atlas Shrugged by philosopher Ayn Rand. It does not consider the fact that the symbol was already in use in the time of the British Colonies, when the term 'United States' did not exist yet.

From a symbol used on the Roman sestertius

That the dollar sign goes back to the most important Roman coin, the Sestertius, which had the letters 'HS' as its currency sign. When superimposed, these letters form a dollar sign with two vertical strokes (the horizontal line of the 'H' merging into the 'S'). This explanation is widely discarded, in spite of the tendency of neo-classic Roman Republic influences in styles evident in other early US government designs, such as the Capitol and Senate buildings.

The two pillars in the temple of Solomon

That thetwo vertical lines represent the two cult pillars Boaz and Jachin in the original Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem. This is based on the idea that Masonic symbols, such as the All Seeing Eye of God, appear on U.S. currency; however, they did not in 1785.

From a sign used on the German Thaler

That it derives from the symbol used on a German Thaler. According to Ovason (2004), on one type of thaler, one side showed the crucifiedChrist, and the other side showed a serpent hanging from a cross, and near the

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