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Origins, History and Geography of Dollar Currencies
See also History of money Money in fiction Financial scandals
From Thalers to Dollars
The history of the dollar is a story involving many countries in different continents. The word dollar is much older than the American unit of currency. It is an Anglicised form of "thaler", (pronounced taler, with a long "a"), the name given to coins first minted in 1519 from locally mined silver in Joachimsthal in Bohemia. (Today the town of Joachimsthal lies within the borders of the Czech republic and its Czech name is Jáchymov). Thaler is a shortened form of the term by which the coin was originally known - Joachimsthaler. Later on the English version of the name (dollar) was also applied to similar coins, not only ones minted in central Europe but also the Spanish peso and the Portuguese eight-real piece. Both these large silver coins were practically identical in weight and fineness. Today we are familiar with the phrase pieces of eight from tales of pirates in the Caribbean. Those coins, particularly the Spanish peso or dollar circulated widely in Britain's North American colonies because of a shortage of official British coins. That is why, after the United States gained its independence the new nation chose "dollar" as the name of its currency instead of keeping the pound. A History of money from ancient times to the present day, by Glyn Davies, 3rd ed, University of Wales Press, 2002. 720p. Much of the information in this page comes from the abovementioned book. See the website for additional information about the history of money. Other printed sources were used, particularly in
Probably the most famous thaler coins were those minted during the reign of Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and queen of Hungary and Bohemia (1740-80). Maria Theresa thalers were in common use in Aden and some other parts of the Middle East as recently as the 1960s. The thaler was the unit of currency in Prussia and some of the other German states until the second half of the 19th century. The unification of Germany in 1871 and the adoption of the mark as the common currency put an end to the old units, just as the adoption of the Euro and
the introduction of new notes and coins in 2002 put an end to the French franc, the German Deutschemark, Italian lire, Spanish peseta, and other European currencies.
connection with dollar sign, and are mentioned below. There are also links to the most important web sources used.
The Scandinavia Daler
While on the subject of currency unions, before the formation of the Scandinavian Currency Union in 1873 and the adoption of the krone or krona, (the first being the Danish and Norwegian word for "Crown" and the second, the Swedish word) each of the Scandinavian countries had their own version of the "daler" as their currency. Like "dollar" the name "daler" came from "thaler" and provides a clue as to how the word evolved. (The term "daler" was also used in Low German and Dutch). In Sweden dalers were minted from 1534 onwards, and in Denmark from 1544. As Denmark and Norway formed a united kingdom until the Napoleonic Wars, when Norway passed into Swedish rule, the two countries shared a common currency. The Scandinavian Currency Union was modelled on the much larger Latin Currency Union which was inspired by France. World War I effectively put an end to the Latin Currency Union. Although Denmark, Norway and Sweden were neutral, World War I put a considerable strain on their economies too, and consequently the Scandinavian Currency Union was officially dissolved not long after, in 1924.
Dollars in Shakespeare
Interesting examples of the use of the word "dollar" in Britain long before the creation of the United States - in fact the English colonisation of North America had scarcely begun - can be found in two of Shakespeare's plays. Macbeth Act I, Scene 2 Rosse: "That now Sweno, the Norway's King, craves composition; Nor would we deign him burial of his men Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's Inch Ten thousand dollars to our general use." The Tempest, Act II, Scene 1 Gonzalo: "When every grief is entertain'd that's offer'd, Comes to th' entertainer -
Sebastian: "A dollar." Gonzalo: "Dolour comes to him, indeed: you have spoken truer than you purpos'd." The last remark by Gonzalo was, of course, a pun since "dolour" is an old-fashioned word for pain or grief, like the modern Spanish word dolor, which also means pain. Shakespeare's use of the word "dollar" in Macbeth was anachronistic since the real Macbeth probably died in the middle of the 11th century, nearly 500 years before the first thalers were minted. Nevertheless the use of the word in Macbeth and the Tempest, both of which were first performed in about 1611, is a clear indication that the term dollar was already in use in English before the the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America in 1620.
The Aztecs, Incas and the Spanish Empire
The reasons for the adoption of the dollar as the official currency of the US are bound up with events in Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. Small bands of Spanish adventurers had overthrown the empires of the Aztecs and Incas, plundering their temples and razing them to the ground or converting them to cathedrals - Machu Picchu was the outstanding exception, not being "discovered" until the 20th century. In addition to the treasures they melted down, the Spanish conquerors soon began to produce large quantities of silver from mines in Mexico and Peru. Most important of all were the enormous reserves they discovered at Potosi in what is now Bolivia. Ships laden with silver regularly crossed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Those crossing the Atlantic were naturally bound for Spain. Others sailed west across the Pacific to China to trade silver for Chinese goods. As the Spaniards controlled the sources of most of the world's silver their coins were widely accepted, especially in places like Britain's American colonies where silver was in short supply.
The United States Dollar
During colonial times the official British coinage was in short supply and as a result the a variety of substitutes was used in Britain's American colonies, including wampum, in some of the northern colonies, and tobacco, or more conveniently, certificates for tobacco deposited in public warehouses, in Virginia. The colonists also used whatever foreign coins they could obtain. At various times in different colonies paper money was issued and disputes with the British government over this were one of the causes of the American Revolution. The rebels financed their war of independence largely by printing paper money notes that were called Continentals. By the end of the war, these had been rendered practically worthless by hyperinflation but financial prudence is a luxury in wartime. The notes had served their purpose and, with the help of their French allies, the Americans won the war.
sometimes colloquially known as "half-a-dollar". Dollars in the British Empire and Commonwealth Canada A great deal of the trade of Canada was with the United States and as a result pressure grew for a switch of currency from the pound sterling to a decimal system similar to the American one. "Two Kings' heads and not worth a crown" was one witticism. The discoveries in California. A few years later a more successful issue of dollars was made by the Bank of England. A new mint was established in Philadelphia and started its operations in 1794. The issue failed because over-stamping was also applied unofficially to the plentiful supplies of light or base Spanish dollars. was employed to erase completely the existing design on full-weight Spanish coins and stamp them as Bank of England Five Shilling Dollars. A cruder. Half a million pounds worth of Spanish dollars issued by King Charles IV were over-stamped with a small engraving of George III. During the war too. "half-a-crown". some Continentals were denominated in British units. and in 1857 the United States finally removed legal tender status from all foreign coins. owing to a desperate shortage of silver coins. description was "the head of a fool stamped on the neck of an ass". The British government agreed and the Province of Canada gradually changed over to the dollar between 1853 and 1857. . the Bank of England issues altered foreign coins from its reserves. Foreign coins were supposed to lose their status as legal tender within 3 years of the US coins coming into circulation. subdivided into 100 cents. However. The mint was the first purpose-built structure authorized by the United States government. which sparked off the Gold Rush in 1848. in 1797 the government extended legal tender status to Spanish dollars for an indefinite period. others in dollars. (A 'crown' in this context meant 5 shillings. Other notes used British monetary units. By then. with a value of 4 shillings and 9 pence.As Spanish pesos or dollars had long been in wide circulation in North America. British Dollars In 1797. In 1792 the newly independent United States chose the dollar. because of a shortage of both gold and silver. although as necessary to the retail trade as ever. attracted ridicule. In 1804 Matthew Boulton. Canadian dollars and cents were minted in Britain until the establishment of the Ottawa Mint in 1908. developments in banking meant that coins were just the small change of commerce. as the unit of American currency in preference to the British pound. some of the paper money issued in some of the colonies before the war had been denominated in dollars. being a common coin before decimalisation in 1971). The re-issued coins. the business partner of the steam engine pioneer James Watt. led to a massive increase in the production of gold coins by the mint.
. decided to abolish the pound and adopt the dollar. in dollars and cents. the former colonies adopted their own versions of the dollar as their national currency. The Australians decimalised their currency five years earlier but. In Queen Victoria's time the two shilling coin or florin was introduced as a step in that direction. Bolivia and Peru. the British West Indies Dollar. However it was not until 1971 that Britain finally adopted the decimal system and divided the pound into 100 new pennies. after gaining independence. i. New Zealand and the Pacific Islands In contrast to Canada Australia kept the sterling system for well over half a century after being gaining independence from Britain. Tuvalu and Nauru continue to use the Australian Dollar. Therefore in 1867 the public's preferences were recognised when legal tender status is given to various foreign coins such as dollars from Hong Kong. Africa One of the very few former colonies in Africa to use the dollar is Zimbabwe. Most other former British colonies have adopted African names for their currencies. Because of the cumbersome nature of the division of the pound into 20 shillings and the shilling into 12 pence there had been many proposals in Britain over the years for the adoption of a decimal system. The Caribbean In 1935 the British government introduced a new currency. Later. including taxes. Some years after unilaterally declaring independence from Britain. the British authorities in Singapore also made the Japanese yen and US dollar legal tender. the Australian dollar was the equivalent of ten shillings. Subsequently. the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands use the US dollar as their currency but the Cayman Islands have chosen to issue their own dollar. New Zealand followed Australia's lead and replaced their own pound with the New Zealand dollar in 1967. Two new Australian dollars were worth one old Australian pound. Rhodesia replaced the Rodesian pound by the Rhodesian dollar. Kenya and Uganda use the shilling. in 1874.Australia. in contrast to Britain. Mexico.e. Some of the smaller island states such as Kiribati. Fiji and the Solomon Islands both adopted the dollar as their national currencies. Of the remaining British colonies in the Caribbean. The Far East In the British colonies of Malaya and Singapore the official currency was the Indian rupee but the general public kept their accounts and made most of their payments. in some of those colonies the US dollar had circulated in addition to the pound sterling. After majority rule was introduced the country changed its name to Zimbabwe and changed the name of its currency accordingly. Previously. in many of the British colonies in the Caribbean. South Africa still uses the rand.
Germany. Jones travelled to Manchuria. Subsequently supplies picked up again as new mines were developed. As a result a large variety of foreign silver coins.000 Mexican dollars. For large transactions base metal coins were not very convenient and silver. was used. Most of these "British" dollars were actually minted in Bombay in India. Of course a currency does not have to be official for it to be acceptable to traders. Spanish galleons laden with silver began to sail regularly from Acapulco in Mexico to Manila in the Philippines where the silver was used to buy Chinese goods such as porcelain and silk. . because he laughingly offered two "dollars Mex" (i. Foreign Dollars in China The Chinese had used base metals for their coins ever since they invented them. illustrates how Mexican dollars continued to be important in China even in the 1930s. In the early decades of the 20th century output of silver coins from Chinese mints increased but political stability prevented the complete replacement of foreign coins. caused by Stalin's policies. A much bigger step towards the replacement of the foreign dollars was taken in 1902 when the Straits Settlement (Singapore) dollar was introduced. Jones had been the first person to report the terrible Soviet famine in 1933. including France. circulated widely in China. in the spring of 1935. After the Opium War China was forced by Britain and other countries. The bandits had been coerced by the Japanese military which was holding their families hostage as it did not want Jones to expose the army's actions in Manchuria. A couple of years later. independently of but probably slightly later than the Lydians and Greeks. See playing the game for his account of the incident. After 16 days in captivity he was murdered. which the Chinese invented centuries before it became common in Europe but abandoned after about 1455.Competition was provided for these foreign coins twenty years later in 1894 when British dollars were first minted for the colonies in the Far East. Another alternative was paper money. two Mexican dollars) to the young street peddler. America and Japan to open up major harbours as treaty ports and to cede land to those countries as foreign concessions. The fate of Gareth Jones. In his reminiscences about World War II an American sailor described how a shipmate once bought a basket containing a live cobra at Candy on the island of Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka). Supplies of silver from the Americas started to dry up towards the end of the Ming dynasty and were probably a significant factor in the economic crisis China experienced at that time. then still a British colony. Prior to 1890 the Chinese had rarely minted precious metal coins but in that year they started to produce their own silver coins. or Manchukuo as the Japanese called the conquered province. and two years later legal tender status was withdrawn from the foreign coins. the Welsh journalist. in weighed quantities.e. Not long after that. but was captured by bandits and held for a ransom of 100. particularly Mexican dollars.
The United States Abbreviation Theory One of the most popular theories is that the dollar sign is derived from the initials of the United States. Perhaps this is less surprising when there has been controversy over the origin of the sign for the European euro. a more widely accepted theory nowadays is that the sign owes its origins to the Spanish peso. 1972. However that is not the case with regard to the dollar. but the plural form was a large "P" with a small "s" above it and to its right. is well-established. The Peso Abbreviation and Piece of Eight Theories However. This was simplified by retaining only the upward stroke of the "P" and superimposing the "S" upon it. and the origins of the latter are well understood. £. a currency that did not come into existence until 1999. One version of this theory is that the standard abbreviation of "peso" was simply "P". (It has been claimed that the euro sign was invented by Arthur Eisenmenger more than a quarter of a century before the currency was introduced). Hence the symbol of the dollar. Ayn Rand. That . in her novel Atlas Shrugged. what you end up with is a version of the dollar symbol with two strokes. a free economy.Theories of its Origins Since the symbol is more recent than the name.The successful Communist Revolution finally brought an end to the chaos of currencies that had long afflicted China. Rand claimed the dollar sign was the symbol not only of the currency. which is far older. New York : McGraw-Hill. Chapter 10 is entitled the Sign of the Dollar. Nevertheless a number of theories about the origin of the dollar symbol have been proposed. Henry Symbol source book : an authoritative guide to international graphic symbols. This theory was endorsed by the American libertarian philosopher and staunch defender of capitalism. and a free mind. If the peso abbreviation theory is the correct one why is the US dollar sign sometimes written with two vertical strokes? A possible explanation is that the best known Spanish Peso coin had two pillars engraved on the reverse side to symbolise the "Pillars of Hercules" at Gibraltar and the words "Plus Ultra" indicating that beyond the Pillars of Hercules there were other lands. See: Dreyfuss. but also the nation. ¼. If you superimpose a capital "U" on a capital "S" then drop the lower part of the "U". one might expect that the origins of the sign would also be known for certain particularly when the origin of the British pound sign. The Dollar Sign $ .
for three shillings).P. Until 1971 when Britain divided the pound into 100 (new) pennies and abandoned the old subunits. New York : Columbia U. Eventually a further simplification was introduced by dropping one of the strokes. The Shilling Abbreviation Theory There is a view. which was used in Britain.g. Eventually it became customary to write the oblique strokes across the figure 8. Actually the slash or solidus was used to separate shillings from pence when sums of money were written down. In the case of the shilling the stroke through the s would have had an added significance. e. Arthur A history of the dollar.coin was called the Pillar Dollar in the British colonies in North America and the two pillars may have become the two strokes in the Dollar sign. Click on the image for a larger picture. as when a peso was broken to provide change in reals. The Potosi Mint Mark Theory Adherents of this theory also believe that the source of the dollar sign is to be found in the Spanish peso but they would attribute it specifically to coins minted in Potosi which was. one was simply the letter s and the other was the oblique slash / which is also known as a solidus. The resemblance to the dollar sign can be seen from the images of the Potosi Pillar Dollars. The pound symbol is derived from the Latin word for a pound weight. as mentioned above. For brief information on the "Pillar Dollar" see: Nussbaum. e. libra. since a pound of silver was the standard on which the monetary unit was based. the name of the Roman coin from which the shilling is derived. hence the name piece of eight. The classic example of this is the British pound symbol £ which is a cursive capital L with a stroke through it. In the past precious metal coins were sometimes split into pieces to provide small change.g. two different methods of representing the shilling were used. . The mint mark is near the date.. held by some typographers. s. that the dollar symbol derives from the abbreviation for the shilling. 4/6 for four shillings and sixpence. As mentioned earlier the peso was subdivided into eight reals. (For an amount consisting of an integral number of shillings a dash indicated zero pence. 3/. A stroke through a letter was sometimes used to indicate that the letter was an abbreviation. The use in America of the expression two bits for 25 cents is a legacy of this since if a Spanish dollar or peso or piece of eight was split into quarters each part would consist of two of the original eight pieces or reals. This was represented as P8 or /8/. 1957. both as a coin and as a monetary unit. The mint mark of the Potosi mint evolved to become a monogrammed PTSI with all those letters completely superimposed so that the symbol looked like an S wrapped around a T. There is another version of the theory linking the sign to the Spanish peso. the world's richest source of silver. until decimalisation in 1971. The 8 with two strokes became a letter S with two strokes since S looks like an 8 that has been split.
$. Furthermore. The shackles worn by slaves could be locked by a nail which was passed through the rings or loops at the ends of the shackle and bent while it was still hot and malleable. His mint was forced to close in 1684. pointed out in May 2008 that the dollar sign is used in marking hand counted sheets of paper. The Hand Counted Paper Theory The management of Em Letterpress. As the cifrão was also used to separate numeral expressions of different denominations and it consisted of the letter s with two vertical lines it has been suggested that it gave rise to the dollar symbol. (Über die Herkunft des Dollarzeichens. In the past the Spanish used a symbol called the calderon to separate the thousands. In 1652 John Hall set up a private mint in Massachusetts and produced coins known as pine tree shillings because of the picture of a pine tree stamped on them. Zeitschrift für Semiotik. or S-clavo = esclavo or slave. Even today Americans still often refer to cents as pennies. Massachusetts. The Slavery Theory There have been claims that the dollar symbol. no. there are still differences in the way in which numbers are represented in different countries.If you make the slash or solidus vertical and combine it with the S you end up with $ . 7$ would indicate seven sheets. Em Letterpress suggested that the most likely reason for that would be that a hastily scrawled 'S' would too closely resemble a numeral 5. Christian Weyers. abbreviated over time to an imposed SH. shillings had been produced in the colonies without authorisation from the British authorities. and then the H's crossbar eliminated resulting in the $ symbol but with a double vertical stroke. $. 3-4. a firm based in New Bedford.the dollar sign. The Spanish for slave is esclavo and for "nail" is clavo. as currency. Therefore the "S" with a nail. such as the Spanish dollar. Paper money being counted in sheets could have used same symbol. the Americans should adopt a symbol based on the abbreviation for the British shilling but during colonial times they had used British units for financial calculations even when they used substitutes. according to one version of this theory that posits an earlier date for the invention of the symbol). e. In the English-speaking world a period is used to separate integral numbers from decimal fractions whereas in continental Europe the comma is used instead of the decimal point and either a period or a space is used for thousands and other groups of three digits. vol 13. 1992). so 'SH' was used. . but because of it the word shilling would still have carried patriotic connotations a century later. It may seem strange that having thrown off British rule and rejected the British pound in favour of the Spanish dollar. The Portuguese Cifrão Theory Even though Arabic numbers are used all over the world today. is derived from the words for "slave" and "nail" in Spanish (or in Latin.g. and the Portuguese used one called the cifrão.
Slaves constituted a store of wealth and as a result the abbreviation for slaves that slave-owners used in their account books came to represent money. The Dollar Symbol One of the few sites to consider the Portuguese cifrão theory. This seems like the kind of explanation that would be popular with conspiracy theorists. but I (Roy Davies) have seen it on the Internet and was also told it by someone who said he had heard it from a Latin-American economist and an American history professor. at least not in English language ones. Canadian one-dollar coin (Loonie) . "Dolar" redirects here. It does not seem to be very popular in printed sources. The Origins of $. see Dollar (disambiguation). The dollar sign and the Potosi mint mark Messages to a numismatic discussion forum about the resemblance of the dollar sign to the Potosi mint mark. Type Glossary A-Z The entry on currency symbols also claims that the dollar sign is derived from an old symbol for the shilling. For the Slovenian philosopher. Dollar is Dolor One of the very few articles available on the Internet advocating the view that the dollar symbol is derived from a symbol for slaves. Where did the dollar sign come from? An article attributing its invention to Oliver Pollock. International abbreviations for the new eurocurrency This article also includes a discussion of the dollar sign and propounds the view that it is derived from the abbreviation for the shilling. see Mladen Dolar. For other uses. Other Websites on the Dollar Sign Origin of the dollar sign An essay by Mark Brader. although in the end the author plumps for the peso theory.
including the United States.United States one dollar coin United States dollar bill Australian one-dollar coin A New Zealand One Dollar coin One New Taiwan dollar 500 old Zimbabwean dollar bill The dollar (often represented by the dollar sign $) is the name of the official currency of many countries. Hong Kong. East Timor. Suriname. Brunei. El Salvador. Australia. Belize. Taiwan. Canada. Singapore. the Eastern Caribbean territories. . and New Zealand. Panama. Ecuador.
where the silver was mined. but do not use it as their official currency 4 See also 5 References 6 External links  History  Etymology On the 15th of January.) "Joachimsthaler" was later shortened in common usage to taler or thaler (same pronunciation).1 Economies currently using the dollar o 3. and this shortened word eventually found its way into Danish and Norwegian as talari. thal or tal refers to a valley or dale.2 Countries and regions which have previously used the dollar o 3.4 Countries which accept the dollar. the lion dollar had been replaced by the Spanish "pieces of eight" which were distributed widely in the Spanish colonies in the New World and in the Philippines. By the mid-18th century. and circulated throughout the Thirteen Colonies during the 17th and early 18th centuries. circulated throughout the Middle East and was imitated in several German and Italian cities. and into English as dollar.  Development of use The coins minted at Joachimsthal soon lent their name to other coins of similar size and weight from other places.Contents [hide] y y y y y y 1 History o 1. Count Hieronymus Schlick (Czech: Jeroným lik z Passounu) of Bohemia began minting coins known as Joachimsthaler. 1520. (In German.4 Usage in Great Britain o 1. Swedish as (riks)daler. Flemish as daelder. Some well-worn examples circulating in the Colonies were known as "dog dollars".5 Usage elsewhere 2 National currencies called "dollar" 3 Economies which use the dollar o 3. this coin was also popular in the Dutch East Indies as well as in the Dutch New Netherland Colony (New York). Italian as (rigs)daler. . Ethiopian as tallero. One such example. Dutch as (rijks)daalder.3 Other territories which currently use the dollar o 3. the Dutch lion dollar.3 Adoption by the United States o 1. named for Joachimstal (modern Jáchymov in the Czech Republic).2 Development of use o 1. Carried by Dutch traders.1 Etymology o 1.
Spanish dollars gained significance because they backed paper money authorized by the individual colonies and the Continental Congress. but were reduced in overall weight (to 412. coins. As a result." Silver was mostly removed from U. S. . Coins known as "Thistle dollars" were in use in Scotland during the 16th and 17th century. the United States Dollar was defined as a unit of weight equaling 371 4/16th grains (24. S. Common in the Thirteen Colonies. It was specified that the "money of account" of the United States should be expressed in those same "dollars" or parts thereof. and so on. lived in the 11th century). Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton reported to Congress the precise amount of silver found in Spanish milled dollar coins in common use in the States. subsection 2: "The Secretary [of the Treasury] shall sell silver under conditions the Secretary considers appropriate for at least $1. Virginia. S. Currently the closest thing to a definition is found in United States Code Title 31. upon whom the play was based. Various acts have subsequently been passed affecting the amount and type of metal in U. may have begun at the University of St Andrews. with many quotes in the plays of Shakespeare referring to dollars as money.292929292 a fine troy ounce. but these are not intended for general circulation. and perhaps even the use of the coin. This might be supported by a reference to the sum of "ten thousand dollars" in Macbeth (Act I. Section 5116.25 grains). U.  Adoption by the United States By the American Revolution.  Usage in Great Britain The word dollar had been in use in the English language as a variant for "thaler" for about 200 years before the founding of the United States. On February 21. 1792.485 parts fine silver to 179 parts alloy). or 416 grains of standard silver (standard silver being defined as 1. the quantity of silver in the lesser coins was reduced. coinage by 1965 and the dollar became a free-floating fiat currency without a commodity backing defined in terms of real gold or silver. Additionally. and use of the English word. In an act passed in January 1837. the dollar's alloy (amount of non-silver metal present) was set at 11%. 1853. statute. such that a half-dollar was to contain half as much silver as a dollar. quarter-dollars would contain one-fourth as much. all lesser-denomination coins were defined as percentages of the dollar coin.057 grams) of pure silver. S. with the effect that their denominations no longer represented their silver content relative to dollar coins. Subsequent coins would contain the same amount of pure silver as previously. Spanish dollars were even legal tender in one colony. Scene II) (an anachronism because the real Macbeth. The US Mint continues to make silver $1-denomination coins. so that today there is no legal definition of the term "dollar" to be found in U.Pieces of eight (so-called because they were worth eight "reals") became known as Spanish dollars in the English-speaking world because of their similarity in size and weight to the earlier Thaler coins. paragraph b. On April 2.
The only ones on this list that have still retained their original parity from the days of the universal Spanish dollar are the Singapore dollar and the Brunei dollar. Hence. a British five-shilling piece. notably the United Kingdom. the Belize dollar. whereas the Hong Kong dollar was worth only 1s 3d sterling (6p approx). which indicated that that particular coin had been assayed by a well-known merchant and determined genuine. and the United States dollar.5p approx) sterling. the silver dollar circulated in many parts of the world. Trade. the Hong Kong dollar. the Guyanese dollar. Following abandonment of the gold standard by Canada in 1931. in the wake of the Franco-Prussian war. The term "dollar" has also been adopted by other countries for currencies which do not share a common history with other dollars. the Straits dollar was worth 2s 4d (11. the Canadian dollar began to drift away from parity with the US dollar. the Barbados dollar. when China and Hong Kong came off the silver standard. This resulted in the US Coinage Act (1873) which put the United States on to a 'de facto' gold standard. was sometimes called "dollar". with a value in relation to the British gold sovereign of roughly $1 = 4s 2d (21p approx). the worldwide price of silver began to fall. hence their re-use by the Bank of England. Silver dollars reaching China (whether Spanish. . to mint trade dollars. During World War II. It returned to parity a few times. As a result of the decision of the German Empire to stop minting silver thaler coins in 1871. by 1935. the original of which was known as a Spanish dollar. Many of these currencies adopted the name after moving from a sterling-based to a decimalized monetary system. By 1900. Canada and Newfoundland were already on the gold standard. which were often of slightly different weights to comparable domestic coinage. but since the end of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates that was agreed in 1944. The silver dollars of Latin America and South East Asia began to diverge from each other as well during the course of the 20th century. the Trinidad and Tobago dollar. the New Taiwan dollar. the Brunei dollar.  Usage elsewhere Chinese demand for silver in the 19th and early 20th centuries led several countries. when the US dollar was (approximately) valued at 5 shillings. the Canadian dollar. value of silver dollars had fallen to 50 percent of gold dollars. or other) were often stamped with Chinese characters known as "chop marks". Large numbers of these 8-real coins were captured during the Napoleonic Wars. the Canadian dollar has been floating against the US dollar. particularly Latin America and the Far East. the halfcrown (2s 6d) became nicknamed a "half dollar" by US personnel in the UK. Examples include the Australian dollar. and the result was that the value of the dollar in North America increased in relation to silver dollars being used elsewhere. the Singapore dollar. The Straits dollar adopted a gold exchange standard in 1906 after it had been forced to rise in value against other silver dollars in the region.In 1804. the Bermuda dollar. They remained in use until 1811. the East Caribbean dollar. United States and Japan. It was an overstruck Spanish 8 Real coin (the famous 'piece of eight').  National currencies called "dollar" Prior to 1873. or crown. Existing dollar units today are the Bahamian dollar.
the Jamaican dollar. the Zimbabwe dollar. the Namibian dollar. the Rhodesian dollar. y y The tala is based on the Samoan pronunciation of the word "dollar".the New Zealand dollar. Chinese cash Jamaican pound 2001 2001-01-01 Ecuadorian Sucre Salvadoran colón 1966-02-14 Australian Pound Date Established Preceding Currency 1973 British Honduran Dollar . the Fiji dollar. The Slovenian tolar had the same etymological origin as dollar (i.e. Real (Spanish/Mexican). and the Solomon Islands dollar. thaler). the Cayman Islands dollar.  Economies which use the dollar  Economies currently using the dollar Countries Antigua and Barbuda Australia and its external territories Bahamas Barbados Belize Brunei Canada Dominica East Timor Ecuador El Salvador Fiji Grenada Guyana Hong Kong Jamaica Kiribati Liberia Marshall Currency East Caribbean Dollar Australian Dollar Bahamian Dollar Barbados Dollar Belize dollar Brunei dollar Canadian Dollar East Caribbean Dollar United States Dollar United States Dollar United States Dollar Fiji Dollar East Caribbean Dollar Guyana Dollar Hong Kong Dollar Jamaican Dollar Kiribati dollar along with the Australian Dollar Liberian Dollar United States Dollar ISO 4217 code XCD AUD BSD BBD BZD BND CAD XCD USD USD USD FJD XCD GYD HKD JMD N/A/AUD LRD USD 1863 1969 Rupee.
code: USD) is the official currency of the United States of America.S.Islands Federated States of Micronesia Namibia Nauru New Zealand and its external territories Palau Saint Kitts and Nevis United States Dollar KWD Namibian Dollar along with the South NAD African rand Australian Dollar AUD New Zealand Dollar NZD USD XCD XCD XCD CAD SGD SBD SRD TWD TTD TVD/ AUD USD USD 1993 South African rand 1967 New Zealand pound United States Dollar East Caribbean Dollar East Caribbean Saint Lucia Dollar Saint Vincent East Caribbean and the Grenadines Dollar Saint Pierre Canadian Dollar. or as USD or US$ to . $. dollar is normally abbreviated as the dollar sign. unofficial and Miquelon Singapore Singapore Dollar Solomon Solomon Islands Islands Dollar Suriname Surinamese dollar Republic of New Taiwan Dollar China (Taiwan) Trinidad and Trinidad and Tobago Tobago Dollar Tuvaluan dollar along Tuvalu with the Australian Dollar United States United States Dollar and its territories United States Zimbabwe Dollar The United States dollar (sign: $. The U.
S.1 Continental currency o 4. Dollar Index o 9.4 Dollar versus Euro 10 Exchange rates o 10.S.1 Images of U. Several countries use it as their official currency.S.1 Nicknames 3 Dollar sign 4 History o 4.2 Dollar coins o 5. and it is also used as the sole currency in some British Overseas Territories.distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies and from others that use the $ symbol.2 Silver and gold standards 5 Coins o 5. It is divided into 100 cents.1 The dollar as international reserve currency o 9. The Sacagawea dollar is one example of the copper alloy . Contents [hide] y y y y y y y y y y y y y 1 Overview 2 Etymology o 2.1 Historical exchange rates 11 See also 12 References 13 External links o 13. in many others it is the de facto currency. currency and coins  Overview The Constitution of the United States of America provides that the United States Congress shall have the power "To coin Money". dollar is the currency most used in international transactions and is one of the world's reserve currencies.3 Mint marks 6 Banknotes 7 Means of issue 8 Value 9 International use o 9.2 U. Section 5112 provides in which forms the United States dollars shall be issued. Laws implementing this power are currently codified in Section 5112 of Title 31 of the United States Code.1 Collector coins o 5.3 Dollarization and fixed exchange rates o 9. The U. Those coins are both designated in Section 5112 as "legal tender" in payment of debts.
.S.000 mills or ten dimes to a dollar. or 4 quarters to a dollar. or units. coins while denominations equal to or greater than a dollar are emitted as Federal Reserve notes (with the exception of gold. see the 2009 Financial Report of the United States Government). silver and platinum coins valued up to $100 as legal tender. $50 and $25 gold coins. Constitution. When currently issued in circulating form. while "eagle" and "mill" are largely unknown to the general public.S. These other coins are more fully described in Coins of the United States dollar. . The sums of money reported in the "Statements" are currently being expressed in U. and to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure.S. The U. In the past. only cents are in everyday use as divisions of the dollar. The term eagle was used in the Coinage Act of 1792 for the denomination of ten dollars. Congress adopted legislation titled An act establishing a mint. and regulating the Coins of the United States. and that all accounts in the public offices and all proceedings in the courts of the United States shall be kept and had in conformity to this regulation". Section 20 of the act provided. Section 5112 also provides for the minting and issuance of other coins. though mills are sometimes used in matters of tax levies and gasoline prices. dollar bill uses the decimal system. or reales. which have values ranging from one-hundredth of one dollar to fifty dollars. The word "dollar" is one of the words in the first paragraph of Section 9 of Article 1 of the U. there are 1. consisting of 100 equal cents (symbol ¢). The U. In 1854. That provision of the Constitution is made specific by Section 331 of Title 31 of the United States Code.S. In 1792 the U. dollars (for example. "dollars" is a reference to the Spanish milled dollar.dollar. which were referred to as a "Union. including "DOLLARS OR UNITS²each to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current." discontinued in the 1930s)." and "Quarter Union. The pure silver dollar is known as the American Silver Eagle. However. and subsequently was used in naming gold coins. this act designated the United States dollar as the unit of currency of the United States..S. "That the money of account of the United States shall be expressed in dollars.S. In another division. "dime" is used solely as the name of the coin with the value of 10¢. denominations equal to or less than a dollar are emitted as U. The Constitution provides that "a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time". proposed creating $100. "paper money" was occasionally issued in denominations less than a dollar (fractional currency) and gold coins were issued for circulation up to the value of $20 (known as the "double eagle. In other words. or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver". a coin that had a monetary value of 8 Spanish units of currency. but worth far more as bullion). James Guthrie. dollar may therefore be described as the unit of account of the United States. Both one-dollar coins and notes are produced today." thus implying a denomination of 1 Union = $100. Section 9 of that act authorized the production of various coins. although the note form is significantly more common." "Half Union. In that context. then Secretary of the Treasury.
Joachim's Valley. Joachimstaler was later shortened to the German Taler.000). "green" and "dead presidents" (the last because late presidents are pictured on some of the bills). introduced that year. dollar. is a common term for the amount of $1. "Benji" or "Franklin" (after Benjamin Franklin. coins are produced by the United States Mint. small-sized notes.S.  Nicknames This section does not cite any references or sources. dollar banknotes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Alternatively. Banknotes' nicknames are the same as their values (such as "five". measure 6.S.000). (April 2008) The colloquialism "buck" (much like the British word "quid" for the pound sterling) is often used to refer to dollars of various nations. including the U. Dutch as daalder. U. which is made of wood fiber. and English as dollar. The suffix "K" or "k" (from "kilo-") is also commonly used to denote this amount (such as "$10k" to mean $10. when someone refers to a "large" or "stack". then part of the Holy Roman Empire.14 inches (156 mm) by 2. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. thaler is said to come from the German coin Guldengroschen ("great guilder". Ethiopian as talari.S. may have originated with the colonial fur trade. named for Joachimstal.Series of 1917 $1 United States bill Today. "twenty" etc. now Jáchymov. "valley".) The $100 bill is nicknamed "Benjamin". dating to the 18th century. cognate with "dale" in English).4 mm).0043 inches (0.S. "Grand". minted from the silver from Joachimsthal.  Etymology Further information: Dollar In the 16th century. "Greenback" is another nickname originally applied specifically to the 19th century Demand Note dollars created by Abraham Lincoln to finance the costs of the Civil War for the North. have been issued by the Federal Reserve. Count Hieronymus Schlick of Bohemia began minting coins known as Joachimstalers (from German thal. Flemish as daelder. now part of the Czech Republic).11 mm).000. Other well-known names of the dollar as a whole in denominations include "greenmail". since 1914. dollar (but not to the dollars of other countries). Italian as tallero. unlike most common paper. being of silver but equal in value to a gold guilder). It is still used to refer to the U.61 inches (66 mm) by 0. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.42 inches (188 mm) by 3. who is pictured on the . The "large-sized notes" issued before 1928 measured 7. U. USD notes are made from cotton fiber paper. In colloquial English. sometimes shortened to simply "G". and.125 inches (79. it is usually a reference to an amount that is a multiple of $1. or nowadays usually Tal. The original note was printed in black and green on the back side. This term. the valley where the silver was mined (St. a word that eventually found its way into Danish and Swedish as daler.000 (such as "fifty large" meaning $50.
In Panama. money as "cha-chingers".S. and the $1 bill . prices in U. "Jefferson" or "T. the $10 bill . "Century note" or "bill" (e. The newer designs are sometimes referred to as "Bigface" bills or "Monopoly money".g. "bucks". Puerto Ricans. the dollar is referred to as "lata". The dollar has also been referred to as a "bone" and "bones" in plural (e. The $20 bill has been referred to as "double sawbuck".S. with the word "peso" used in Mexico primarily to refer to the Mexican peso.J. Some people refer to U. the $5 bill . "green-backs" and "smackers". both living in Puerto Rico and in the United States.S.g. "fiver" or "five-spot".as "fin"."single" or "buck". In Ecuador. dollar is "coco". "twenty bones" is equal to $20) or a "bean". which is a pet name for Jorge ("George" in Spanish). "ten-spot" or "Hamilton" (after Alexander Hamilton). dollars are referred to as "en americano" ("in American"). In Peru. may refer to the dollar as "peso". In French-speaking areas of Louisiana. In some places in Mexico. "Tom". The $2 bill is sometimes called "deuce". the equivalent of buck is "palo" (literally "stick"). "C-note" (C being the Roman numeral for 100). American money was not bad to have or use by Cubans in the island. dollar "fula".note). "two bills" being $200). Cubans call the U. a nickname for the U.as "sawbuck". "dub" or "Jackson" (after Andrew Jackson). a reference to the portrait of George Washington on the $1 note. hence the nickname. the dollar is referred to as "piastre" (pronounced "peeas") and the French holdover "sous" (pronounced "soo") is used to refer to the cent.  Dollar sign Main article: Dollar sign .S. Loosely translated from Cuban jargon mean bad or not good. but it's possession was penalized before the mid-90's." (after Thomas Jefferson).
Potosí. (April 2010) See also: History of the United States dollar Obverse of rare 1934 $500 Federal Reserve Bill. Examples circulating in the colonies were usually worn so that the design was not fully distinguishable.S. These Pillars of Hercules on the silver Spanish dollar coins take the form of two vertical bars (||) and a swinging cloth band in the shape of an "S". does not consider the fact that the symbol was already in use before the formation of the United States. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. Another explanation is that this symbol for peso was the result of a late 18th-century evolution of the scribal abbreviation "ps. and the Spanish dollar and Mexican peso remained legal tender until 1857. A fictional possibility suggested is that the dollar sign is the capital letters U and S typed one on top of the other. The Spanish. . This theory." The p and the s eventually came to be written over each other giving rise to $. popularized by novelist Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged. usually written before the numerical amount. and in Lima. dollar (as well as for many other currencies).  History The neutrality of this section is disputed. Bolivia. though it is possible that it comes from the Pillars of Hercules on the Spanish Coat of arms on the Spanish dollars that were minted in the New World mints in Mexico City.Silver real of 1768. Peru. featuring a portrait of President William McKinley. The symbol $. is used for the U. and Mexican silver pesos circulated side by side in the United States.S. The sign's ultimate origins are not certain. Reverse of $500 Bill The first dollar coins issued by the United States Mint (founded 1792) were similar in size and composition to the Spanish dollar. U. Please see the discussion on the talk page. The lion dollar was popular in the Dutch New Netherland Colony (New York). thus they were sometimes referred to as "dog dollars". silver dollars. but the lion dollar also circulated throughout the English colonies during the 17th century and early 18th century. The coinage of various English colonies also circulated.
whereas the gold equivalent of the U. Hamilton got the treasury to weigh a sample of Spanish dollars and the average weight came out to be 371 grains. New Jersey pound. The value of gold or silver contained in the dollar was then converted into relative value in the economy for the buying and selling of goods. This exchange rate with sterling remained right up until Britain abandoned the gold standard in 1931. 1/10. as is the custom now.The U. Rhode Island pound. North Carolina pound. The Coinage Act of 1792 set the value of an eagle at 10 dollars. The gold equivalent of the Spanish dollar in sterling was 1 = $4. see Connecticut pound. The last coins to be converted to profiles of historic Americans were the dime (1946) and the Dollar (1971). dollar was at a slight discount in relation to the Spanish dollar. and so the new U. 1/4. and the dollar at 1/10th eagle.0 g) of silver (depending on purity) and an 'eagle" to be between 247 and 270 grains (17 g) of gold (again depending on purity). and 1/20 dollars. and 1/10 eagles. Georgia pound.  Continental currency See also: Continental currency . Maryland pound. This allowed the value of things to remain fairly constant over time. Delaware pound. before that "heads" side of coinage used profile faces and striding.S. The choice of the value 371 grains arose from Alexander Hamilton's decision to base the new American unit on the average weight of a selection of worn Spanish dollars (and later Mexican peso). 1/2. A new Spanish dollar was usually about 377 grains in weight. It called for 90% silver alloy coins in denominations of 1.S. New Hampshire pound. dollar was created and defined by the Coinage Act of 1792. The early currency of the USA did not exhibit faces of presidents. and standing figures from Greek and Roman mythology and composite native Americans. 1/4. In fact. New York pound. The currency as we know it today did not get the faces they currently have until after the early 20th century. Pennsylvania pound. South Carolina pound and Virginia pound. It specified a "dollar" to be based in the Mexican peso at 1 dollar per peso and between 371 and 416 grains (27. George Washington was against having his face on the currency. Massachusetts pound. For articles on the currencies of the colonies and states. except for the influx and outflux of gold and silver in the nation's economy. seated.80. it called for 90% gold alloy coins in denominations of 1. a practice he compared to the policies of European monarchs. dollar was 1 = 4.S.86 . 1/2.
Massachusetts. North Carolina South Carolina The continental currency suffered from printing press inflation and was replaced by the silver dollar at the rate of 1 silver dollar = 1000 continental dollars. Unsourced material may be .  Silver and gold standards This section does not cite any references or sources. Pennsylvania New York. Virginia Delaware. Maryland. the United States and the individual states began issuing "Continental Currency" denominated in Spanish dollars and (for the issues of the states) the £sd currencies of the states. New Hampshire. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. New Jersey. The dollar was valued relative to the states' currencies at the following rates: Value of Dollar in State Currency 5 Shillings 6 Shillings 7½ Shillings 8 Shillings 32½ Shillings State Georgia Connecticut.Continental One Third Dollar Bill (obverse) In 1775. Rhode Island.
S. In 1862. due to the Civil War. Silver half dollars were last issued for circulation in 1969. According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing..22 grains (1.505 g) in 1837 (16:1 ratio). 1934 through January 9. Silver and gold coins continued to be issued and in 1878 the link between paper money and coins was reinstated. 1834 saw a shift in the gold standard to 23. The gold coins that were minted however. The Gold Standard Act of 1900 abandoned the bimetallic standard and defined the dollar as 23. make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts" clause in article 1.50 g). dollar freely float on currency markets. Gold coins were confiscated in 1933 and the gold standard was changed to 13. followed by a slight adjustment to 23. 1935. Silver coins continued to be issued for circulation until 1964. This disconnection from gold and silver backing also occurred during the War of 1812. These notes were used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and were not circulated among the general public. These notes were printed from December 18.challenged and removed. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.505 g) of gold. 1971 saw the U. or 24. and the half dollar was reduced to 40% silver.604 g) of gold. when the Mint Act was passed. however there is no evidence of Congress making this law. (April 2010) This article is outdated. The use of paper money not backed by precious metals had also occurred under the Articles of Confederation from 1777 to 1788. paper money was issued without the backing of precious metals.25 grains (24..67. The price was at $42. equivalent to setting the price of 1 troy ounce of gold at $20.22 grains (1. equivalent to setting the price of 1 troy ounce of gold at $35. when all silver was removed from dimes and quarters.22 per ounce before August 15.  Coins Main article: Coins of the United States dollar . Please see the talk page for more information. were not given any denomination whatsoever and traded for a market value relative to the Congressional standard of the silver dollar. and were issued by the Treasurer of the United States to Federal Reserve Banks only against an equal amount of gold bullion held by the Treasury. Between 1968 and 1975. a variety of pegs to gold were put in place. Series 1934. With no solid backing and being easily counterfeited. This standard persisted until 1968. This was a primary reason for the "No state shall. respectively. the dollar was pegged to silver at 371.056 g). section 10 of the United States Constitution.000 Gold Certificate. (March 2009) From 1792.888 g). giving rise to the phrase "not worth a continental". the largest note it ever printed was the $100. This has to do with Alexander Hamilton's suggestion to Congress of a fixed 15:1 ratio of silver to gold.71 grains (0. the continentals quickly lost their value.2 grains (1.75 grains (1. Many historians[who?] erroneously assume gold was standardized at a fixed rate in parity with silver.
Only 1. $50.special issue coins * $50.128 were made. $25 (1/2 troy oz).00 (Stella) coin was also minted. y American Eagles originally were not available from the Mint for individuals but had to be purchased from authorized dealers. though some are far more valuable today for their numismatic value. but never placed into circulation and is properly considered to be a pattern rather than an actual coin denomination. In 2006 The Mint began direct sales to individuals of uncirculated bullion coins with a special finish.5 gold coin) 1792-1929 Three-dollar piece 1854-1889 Half Eagle ($5 gold coin) 1795-1929 Eagle ($10 gold coin) 1795-1929 Double Eagle ($20 gold coin) 1850-1933 Collector coins for which everyday transactions are non-existent.00 (Half Union) 1915 * Presidential Proofs (see below) 2007-present Technically. and $100 platinum coin) 1997±present y United States commemorative coins . all these coins are still legal tender at face value. 645 of . $25.1857 Penny 1793±present 2-cent 1864±1873 3-cent 1851-1873 Half Dime 1792-1873 (Not to be confused with the Nickel below also worth 5 cents) Nickel 1866±present Dime 1792±present 20-cent 1875-1878 Quarter 1796±present Half dollar 1794±present Dollar coin 1794±present Quarter Eagle ($2. and $50 (1/4 troy oz) Gold bullion coin 1986-Present * American Platinum Eagle ($10.Official United States coins have been produced every year from 1792 to the present. In addition. y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y Half-cent 1792 . and for gold and silver coins. their precious metal value. The $50 coin mentioned was only produced in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915) celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. and bearing a "W" mintmark. * American Silver Eagle $1 (1 troy ounce) silver bullion coin 1986-Present * American Gold Eagle $5 (1/10 troy oz). $10 (1/4 troy oz). an experimental $4. From 1965 to 1970 the Kennedy half dollar was the only circulating coin with any silver content though the Mint still makes what it calls Silver Proof sets for collectors.
it contained 416 grains of "standard silver" (89.which were octagonal.  Collector coins The United States Mint produces Proof Sets specifically for collectors and speculators. Thomas Jefferson. coin ever.S.75% copper). except for 4 years during World War II when nickel was needed for the war. Ulysses S. Gold dollars were also minted in the 19th century. and Zachary Taylor 2010 has Millard Fillmore. Another type of proof set is the Presidential Dollar Proof Set where four special $1 coins are minted each featuring a president. the nickel has been 75% copper and 25% nickel. Rutherford B. and their similar color. and in some cases the dollar having silver content. Dollar coins have not been very popular in the United States. y y y y y 2007 had George Washington. these proved to be unpopular because they were often mistaken for quarters. John Tyler. Known as the Flowing Hair Dollar. nickel. It was designated by Section 9 of that Act as having "the value of a Spanish milled dollar". John Adams. Hayes. From 1934 to present the only denominations produced for circulation have been the familiar penny. Minting of these dollars for circulation was suspended in 1980 (collectors' pieces were struck in 1981). featuring . they remain legal tender. Franklin Pierce.S. James K. as specified by Section 13  of the Coinage Act of 1792. Eisenhower. coin that was not round as well as the largest and heaviest U. their milled edge. Polk. and Abraham Lincoln 2011 is to have Andrew Johnson. and James A. The nickel is the only coin still in use today that is essentially unchanged (except in its design) from its original version. John Quincy Adams. dime. and James Madison 2008 had James Monroe. additional Anthony dollars were struck in 1999. Anthony dollar coin was introduced in 1979. featuring President Dwight D. a new $1 coin. half dollar. quarter. Please help improve this section or discuss this issue on the talk page. Coins of the United States dollar. Silver Proofs tend to be the standard designs but with the dime. Garfield  Dollar coins This section may stray from the topic of the article into the topic of another article. but. Silver dollars were minted intermittently from 1794 through 1935. Every year since 1866. As the number of Anthony dollars held by the Federal Reserve and dispensed primarily to make change in postal and transit vending machines had been virtually exhausted. and Martin Van Buren 2009 had William Henry Harrison. this remains the only U. was minted from 1971 through 1978. quarter. In 2000. as with all past U.S. half dollar and dollar. (April 2010) Flowing Hair Dollar The first United States dollar was minted in 1794. Grant. James Buchanan. a copper-nickel dollar of the same large size. coins. The Susan B.25% silver and 10. Andrew Jackson. due to their nearly equal size.
In addition. is not usually associated with U. due to the nature of U.S.S. this new coin has failed to achieve the popularity of the still-existing $1 bill and is rarely used in daily transactions. Highly sought after by collectors. There are indications that the dollar coin's failure was also due to the reluctance of armored transport companies to make the necessary adjustments to handle the new coins. introduced a new $1 U. though a few will give change in dollar coins.S. Roosevelt/dime. coins of different denominations with the same President featured on the obverse (heads) side. (Lincoln/penny. This feature. more detailed portraits. the traditional inscriptions of "E Pluribus Unum. Presidential dollar coin. Franklin D. The reverse side features the Statue of Liberty. under the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. without requiring changes to vending machines that accept the Anthony dollar. the error coins were identified by the absence of the edge impressions "E PLURIBUS UNUM IN GOD WE TRUST 2007 P". coins. which corrected some of the mistakes of the Anthony dollar by having a smooth edge and a gold color.S. and the mint mark will be inscribed on the edge of the coin instead of the face.Sacagawea. starting with George Washington. In February 2007. The mint of origin is generally accepted to be mostly Philadelphia. President to be elected to two nonconsecutive terms. they commonly accept only $1 bills. The failure to simultaneously withdraw the dollar bill and weak publicity efforts have been cited by coin proponents as primary reasons for the failure of the dollar coin to gain popular support.) Another unusual fact about the new $1 coin is Grover Cleveland will have two coins with his portrait issued due to the fact he was the only U. with the Statue of Liberty serving as a sufficient replacement. Mint. Early releases of the Washington coin included error coins shipped primarily from the Philadelphia mint to Florida and Tennessee banks. (the Sacagawea dollar) was introduced. some amateur collectors were initially duped into buying "upside down lettering error" coins. Jefferson/nickel. Based on the success of the "50 State Quarters" series." the year of minting or issuance. although identifying the source mint is impossible without opening a mint pack also containing marked units. this will be the first time there will be circulating U. the U. whereas coins are more permanent. the new coin features a sequence of presidents in order of their inaugurations. The result of the armored carriers' unwillingness to handle the new coins was that they virtually never reached merchants in quantities sufficient to be given out as change on a routine basis. Edge lettering is minted in both orientations with respect to "heads". and the government's reluctance to mandate it. Washington/quarter and Kennedy/half dollar. on the obverse side.S. similar to the edge inscriptions seen on the British £1 coin. and trading for as much as $850 each within a week of discovery. To allow for larger.  Mint marks . Some cynics also erroneously point out that the Federal Reserve makes more profit from dollar bills than dollar coins because they wear out in a few years. The inscription "Liberty" has been eliminated.S. coin designs." "In God We Trust. or for retail clerks to become used to handling them. The fallacy of this argument arises because new notes printed to replace worn out notes which have been withdrawn from circulation bring in no net revenue to the government to offset the costs of printing new notes and destroying the old ones. As most vending machines are incapable of making change in banknotes. However.
Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power to "borrow money on the credit of the United States". Notes above the $100 denomination ceased being printed in 1946 and were officially withdrawn from circulation in 1969. $10. see large denomination bills in U. $10. including the United States Note and the Federal Reserve Bank Note.S. The Philadelphia Mint issues coins bearing a letter P (or no mark at all). was used for a short time in the mid-19th century." Federal Reserve Notes are designated by law as "legal tender" for the payment of debts. District of Columbia. These notes are now collector's items and are worth more than their face value to collectors. Currently printed denominations are $1. These notes were used primarily in inter-bank transactions or by organized crime. $50. It operated from the 1830s until the American Civil War.00) which are not meant for everyday use. The San Francisco Mint uses an S. or at any Federal Reserve bank. Though still predominantly green. usually found on the front of the coin near the date although in the past it was more commonly found on the reverse. The West Point Mint uses a W.000. higher-contrast numerals. however. continue to strike proof coins for collectors. With the advent of electronic banking. and distribution of currency readers to assist the visually impaired during the transition period. $2. It does. and again from 1879 to 1909. $1. it was the latter usage that prompted President Richard Nixon to issue an executive order in 1969 halting their use. The letter D was also used for coinage of the Dahlonega Mint from 1837 to 1861.000 were all produced at one time.S.S.  Means of issue . The latter two mints struck gold coins only. while the Denver Mint uses a letter D. for the Carson City Mint. and $100. the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is planning to implement a raised tactile feature in the next redesign of each note. Congress has exercised that power by authorizing Federal Reserve Banks to issue Federal Reserve Notes. $5.  Banknotes Main article: Federal Reserve Note The U. $5.Most U. The Federal Reserve Note is the only type that remains in circulation since the 1970s. they became less necessary. As a result of a 2008 decision in an accessibility lawsuit filed by the American Council of the Blind. A CC mark. Those notes are "obligations of the United States" and "shall be redeemed in lawful money on demand at the Treasury Department of the United States. Congress has also authorized the issuance of more than 10 other types of banknotes. in the city of Washington. The New Orleans Mint used a mint mark O. but the mint at that location was only a temporary establishment. currency for details. post-2004 series incorporate other colors to better distinguish different denominations. and C was used for the Charlotte Mint during the same timespan. $20. coins bear a mint mark as part of the design. though this is rarely seen as the West Point mint generally only makes high denomination coins (with face values over $1. except the $1 (which it is by law not allowed to redesign[why?]) and the version of the $100 bill already in process.000. It also plans larger.000. though no coins have been released from that mint for general circulation since 1980. Notes in denominations of $500. more color differences. and $100.
the 12-person Federal Open Market Committee meet to determine US monetary policy.97 1950 $0.64 1890 $0. Usually. the short term goal of open market operations is to achieve a specific short term interest rate target.85 2000 $0.47 2008 $0. To fulfill those requests.39 2007 $0.00 1860 $0. The amount of cash in circulation is increased (or decreased) by the actions of the Federal Reserve System. Conversely.66 1900 $0. it will sell securities to the banks in exchange for dollars. When the Federal Reserve makes a purchase.S. For example.26 1790 $0. it will buy securities (such as US Treasury Bonds) anonymously from banks in exchange for dollars. Every business day. the US government maintains over 800 billion US dollars in cash money (primarily Federal Reserve Notes) in circulation. dollar compared to 1774 USD Equivalent Equivalent Equivalent buying buying buying Year Year Year power power power 1774 $1.03 1780 $0. the rate at which member banks lend to one another overnight. (iv) "Open mouth operations" (talking monetary policy with the market). in the case of the USA the Federal Reserve targets the federal funds rate. it credits the seller's reserve account (with the Federal Reserve).04 1840 $0.06 1820 $0. This money is not transferred from any existing funds ± at this point that the Federal Reserve has created new high-powered money. monetary policy might instead entail the targeting of a specific exchange rate relative to some foreign currency or else relative to gold.03 1940 $0. to take dollars out of circulation. Eight times a year. the Federal Reserve places an order for printed money from the US Treasury Department.56 2009 $0.20 1800 $0.96 1990 $0.  Value Buying power of one U.79 1970 $0. In other instances. (iii) Moral suasion (cajoling certain market players to achieve specified outcomes).04 .88 1920 $0. Commercial banks can freely withdraw in cash any excess reserves from their reserve account at the Federal Reserve.Currently.89 1980 $0.10 1810 $0.89 1880 $0.05 1830 $0.33 2010 $0.04 1850 $1.69 1910 $0. If the Federal Reserve desires to increase the money supply. the Federal Reserve System engages in Open market operations to carry out that monetary policy.59 1870 $0. The other primary means of conducting monetary policy include: (i) Discount window lending (as lender of last resort). The Treasury Department in turn sends these requests to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (to print new dollar bills) and the Bureau of the Mint (to stamp the coins).94 1930 $0.62 1960 $0. (ii) Fractional deposit lending (changes in the reserve requirement).
The United States Consumer Price Index. The table to the right shows the equivalent amount of goods that.S.S. published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Federal Reserve initially succeeded in maintaining the value of the U. dollar declined significantly during wartime.4% of its buying power. The decline in the value of the U.S. dollar has lost about 96. Over the very long run. World War I.S. and World War II.for instance. dollar and price stability. Congress shall have the power to "coin money" and to "regulate the value" of domestic and foreign coins. dollar and it declared that the U. and silver coins.S.S. especially during the American Civil War.S.U. It reflects inflation as experienced by consumers in their day-to-day living expenses. That Act provided for the minting of the first U. which was established in 1913. reversing the . national bank notes. The value of the U. in a particular year. The table shows that from 1774 through 2009 the U.S. could be purchased with $1. Consumer Price Index 1913±2006 The 5th paragraph of Section 8 of Article 1 of the U. A graph showing the U. dollar corresponds to price inflation. was designed to furnish an "elastic" currency subject to "substantial changes of quantity over short periods. Constitution provides that the U. the prior gold standard kept prices stable . Congress exercised those powers when it enacted the Coinage Act of 1792." which differed significantly from previous forms of highpowered money such as gold.S. The Federal Reserve. is a measure estimating the average price of consumer goods and services in the United States.S. dollar in 1914 was not very different from the price level in the 1880s. which is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. dollar shall have "the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current".S. the price level and the value of the U. CPI relative to 1982-1984 and the annual year-over-year change in CPI is shown at right. A consumer price index (CPI) is a measure estimating the average price of consumer goods and services purchased by households.
and so inflation was regarded as relatively benign. In 1979.S. gold stocks dwindled as banks and international investors began to convert dollars to gold. The Federal Reserve tightened the money supply and inflation was substantially lower in the 1980s. Between 1965 and 1981.S. Facing an emerging currency crisis and the imminent danger that the United States would no longer be able to redeem dollars for gold. the value of the U. however. Although some economists are in favor of a zero inflation policy and therefore a constant value for the U. the U.  International use . President Carter appointed Paul Volcker Chairman of the Federal Reserve.inflation caused by the First World War and stabilizing the value of the dollar during the 1920s. dollar was fixed to $35 per ounce. prices in the 1930s. the rate of inflation was approximately 3.S. dollar was thus anchored to the value of gold. resulting in the "Nixon shock. dollar was therefore no longer anchored to gold. however. stable rate of inflation between 1987 and 1997. continued to increase the money supply.S. There is ongoing debate about whether central banks should target zero inflation (which would mean a constant value for the U. and hence the value of the U. Over the thirty-year period from 1981 to 2009.S. dollar lost over half its value. gold convertibility was finally terminated in 1971 by President Nixon. This was largely due to the prevailing economic view at the time that inflation and real economic growth were linked (the Phillips curve). The so-called "Great Moderation" of economic conditions since the 1970s is credited to monetary policy targeting price stability." The value of the U. but a low. The Federal Reserve.S. the U. currency. others contend that such a policy limits the ability of the central bank to control interest rates and stimulate the economy when needed. and between 1997 and 2007 it was approximately 2%. dollar stabilized. stable inflation (which would mean a continuously but slowly declining value of the dollar over time.S. dollar in the 1970s. dollar lost two thirds of its value. Rising government spending in the 1960s. dollar.5%.S.S. and the value of the U. dollar over time) or low. before presiding over a 30% deflation in U. and it fell upon the Federal Reserve to maintain the value of the U. and as a result the value of the dollar began to decline. resulting in stagflation and a rapidly declining value of the U.S. led to doubts about the ability of the United States to maintain this convertibility. This is because the Federal Reserve has targeted not zero inflation. Under the Bretton Woods system established after World War II.S. as is the case now).
-dollar bank deposits held by non-residents of the United States are known as "eurodollars" (not to be confused with the euro). All holdings of U. In addition to holdings by central banks and other institutions.Worldwide use of the U. The dollar is also used as the standard unit of currency in international markets for commodities such as gold and petroleum (the latter sometimes called petrocurrency is the source of the term petrodollar). dollar with serious global financial consequences.S. But Samuelson recently has said he now believes that at some uncertain future period these pressures will precipitate a run against the U. Some non-U. dollar is the world's foremost reserve currency.S. most American banknotes actually are held outside the United States). dollar and the euro: United States External adopters of the US dollar Currencies pegged to the US dollar Currencies pegged to the US dollar w/ narrow band Eurozone External adopters of the euro Currencies pegged to the euro Currencies pegged to the euro w/ narrow band Note that the Belarusian ruble is pegged to the Euro. Economist Paul Samuelson and others (including. The U.).S. Dollar in a currency basket. regardless of the location of the bank holding the deposit (which may be inside or outside the U.S. which are believed to be mostly in onehundred-dollar banknotes (indeed. and U. at his death. there are many private holdings. companies dealing in globalized markets. list their prices in dollars. such as Airbus.S. Russian Ruble.S.  The dollar as international reserve currency Main article: Reserve currency . Milton Friedman) have maintained that the overseas demand for dollars allows the United States to maintain persistent trade deficits without causing the value of the currency to depreciate or the flow of trade to readjust.S.
The euro inherited this status from the German mark. In August.9 70.9% 2.4% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 4.0% 4.0% 15.4% 6.9 24.2% 4.2% 0.8 % % % % 2.5 70.8 24.7% 3.8% 1.6% 0. has increased its standing considerably.S.8 14.3% 3.3% 0. It is "absolutely conceivable that the euro will replace the dollar as reserve currency.2 26. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in September 2007 that the euro could replace the U.1% .Percentage of global currencies The U.9 66.7% 2.2% 2.3% 5.2% 0. Despite the dollar's recent losses to the euro.4% 0.1 64." Currency composition of official foreign exchange reserves v · d · e '95 US dollar Euro Pound sterling Japane se yen Germa n mark French franc Swiss '96 '97 '98 '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 59.4% 1. dollar is an important international reserve currency along with the euro.1% 3. and since its introduction.1% 3. two scholars affiliated with the government of the People's Republic of China threatened to sell its substantial reserves in American dollars in response to American legislative discussion of trade sanctions designed to revalue the Chinese yuan.9% 3. The Chinese government denied that selling dollar-denominated assets would be an official policy in the foreseeable future.S.8 65.4 27.1 65.4 65.2 % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % 17.7% 2.7% 5.3% 0.2% 6.6% 2.3 % % % % % % % % % % % 2. mostly at the expense of the dollar.3 24.3% 6.9 18.3 25.3 70.5% 4.7 14.1% 0. with an accumulation more than double that of the euro.5 65.0 62. or will be traded as an equally important reserve currency.3% 0.8% 6.8 19.3% 0.8% 6.7% 4.3 26.7% 2.8% 2.5 13.1% 2.9% 3.6% 3.2% 0. dollar as the world's primary reserve currency.9% 2. it is still by far the major international reserve currency.6% 4.7 66.2 25.2 69. 2007.4% 1.7 64.1% 0.1 62.2% 0.
2% Swiss franc 3. The former members of the U.9% 1. Two British dependencies also use the U.franc Other 13.S. which included Palau.1% 1. 2006-2009 IMF: Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves Sources: 1999-2005 ECB: The Accumulation of Foreign Reserves  U.S. Dollar Index Main article: U. a process known as official dollarization. so the USDX tracks only six currencies today. Ecuador (2000). and the Marshall Islands. dollar since 1944.  Dollarization and fixed exchange rates Other nations besides the United States use the U.2% 1. at that time. The baseline of 100.9% Canadian dollar 9.S. For instance. pg.7 10. " US Dollar Index".6% Source: NYBOT.9% 1. and East Timor (2000) all adopted the currency independently. It began with 17 currencies from 17 nations. the Federated States of Micronesia. Dollar Index (Ticker: DXY) is the creation of the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT). Euro 57. dollar: the British Virgin Islands (1959) and Turks and Caicos .S.2% 3. It was established in 1973 for tracking the value of the USD against a basket of currencies. where the bulk of trade has shifted strongly towards new partners like China and Mexico and oilexporting countries while the United States has de-industrialized.00 on the USDX was set at its launch in March 1973. but the launch of the euro subsumed 12 of these into one.2 6. represented the largest trading partners of the United States. Dollar Index The U.6% Pound sterling 11. which. dollar as their official currency.4% 1.S. the USDX has climbed as high as the 160s and drifted as low as the 70s.S.5% 1. chose not to issue their own currency after becoming independent.S.8% 2.1% Swedish krona 4. The USDX has not been updated to reflect new trading realities in the global economy. Since 1973.6% Japanese yen 13. This event marks the watershed between the wider margins arrangement of the Smithsonian regime and the period of generalized floating that led up to the Second Amendment of the Articles of Agreement of the IMF.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Panama has been using the dollar alongside the Panamanian balboa as the legal tender since 1904 at a conversion rate of 1:1. El Salvador (2001).6% 1.6 11.3 (PDF) The Index is described by the NYBOT as "a trade weighted geometric average".1% % % % Sources: 1995-1999.4% 1. having all used the U.8% 1.
the Chinese yuan has been de facto repegged to the dollar since July 2008 at a value of ¥6. Likewise. However.28/USD.S. Malaysia pegged its ringgit at RM3. dollars are accepted as if it were legal tender.S. Belarus. Sint Eustatius and Saba have adopted the dollar on January 1. and Syria did likewise in July 2007.S. Kuwait did likewise on May 20. In Mexico's border area and major tourist zones. Argentina used a fixed 1:1 exchange rate between the Argentine peso and the U.S. The Netherlands Antillean guilder (and its successor the Caribbean guilder) as well as the Aruban florin are pegged to the Dollar at a fixed rate of 1:1. U. The currencies of Barbados and Belize are similarly convertible at an approximate 2:1 ratio. On July 21.S. Many Canadian merchants also accept U.S. albeit sometimes only at face value.S.  Dollar versus Euro . Some countries that have adopted the U. 2007. the USD is commonly accepted although not officially regarded as a legal tender. it is accepted as if it were a second legal currency. the yuan has remained around that value within a narrow band since then. indirectly linked to the U. on the other hand. pegged to Hong Kong dollar at MOP1. dollar issue their own coins: See Ecuadorian centavo coins. to a basket of foreign currencies (U. Panamanian Balboa and East Timor centavo coins. 2011 as a result of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles. dollar at a fixed exchange rate. After the U. In some countries such as Peru and Uruguay.8/USD in 1997. one dollar is equal to 1500 Lebanese pound. pegged its currency. and pataca of Macau.S. In Cambodia. Prices of most big ticket items such as houses and cars are set in U. invasion of Afghanistan. dollars. The People's Republic of China's renminbi was informally and controversially pegged to the dollar in the mid-1990s at ¥ 8. notes circulate freely and are preferred over the Cambodian riel for large purchases. dollar from 1991 until 2002. similar to the Hong Kong dollar. although no official announcement had been made. peg their currencies to the dollar. with the riel used for change to break 1 USD. The islands Bonaire. and is used interchangeably with local currency as de facto legal tender. In Lebanon. dollars.83/USD. dollar. The local currencies of Bermuda and the Bahamas can be freely exchanged at a 1:1 ratio for USD. including Saudi Arabia.S.Islands (1973).S. Several oil-producing Arab countries on the Persian Gulf. the Belarusian ruble. Some other countries link their currency to U. 2005 both countries removed their pegs and adopted managed floats against a basket of currencies. U.79. The exchange rate between the Hong Kong dollar and the United States dollar has also been linked since 1983 at HK$7. euro and Russian ruble) in 2009. dollar at roughly MOP8/USD.03/HKD. since the dollar is the currency used in the international oil trade. after three years of slow appreciation.8/USD.
1658 31 Dec ¼0.6723 2008 27 Oct ¼0.7404 2006 02 Jan ¼0.8026 15 Jul ¼0. The fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008 prompted the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates in September 2007.9 trillion reserve in response to a falling U.7335 2005 15 Nov ¼0. dollar's decline was linked to a variety of other factors. and again in March 2008. reflecting a widening current account deficit.6867 Source: Euro exchange rates in USD.8456 05 Dec ¼0.2118 06 Jan ¼0.7756 27 Nov ¼0.6614 2011 08 Jan ¼10. dollar 1999±2011 Highest Lowest Year Date Rate Date Rate 1999 03 Dec ¼0.6038. .8571 03 Jan ¼0.S. including a major spike in oil prices. From 2003 to 2005.6254 2009 04 Mar ¼0. depreciation persisted. Although the current account deficit began to stabilize in 2006 and 2007.9626 2001 06 Jul ¼1.S.7918 2004 14 May ¼0.0477 2002 28 Jan ¼1. 1999-2011 Euro per U.Euro-US Dollar exchange rate.9985 05 Jan ¼0. Economists such as Alan Greenspan suggested that another reason for the decline of the dollar was its decreasing role as a major reserve currency. as it did against other major currencies.8482 2000 26 Oct ¼1. ECB Not long after the introduction of the euro (¼ . In addition to the trade deficit. currency which also set the dollar under pressure. reached in July 2008. the U.9637 31 Dec ¼0. ISO 4217 code EUR) as a cash currency in 2002.8473 28 Dec ¼0.1927 05 Jan ¼1.7965 03 Dec ¼0.8374 20 Jan ¼150. Chinese officials signaled plans to diversify the nation's $1. the dollar began to depreciate steadily in value.S.9536 2003 08 Jan ¼0. this depreciation continued. sending the euro to a record high of $1.7501 2007 12 Jan ¼0.
57 1.88 0. 116. including the euro. The European sovereign debt crisis that unfolded in 2010 sent the euro falling to a four-year low of $1.50 3. a sharp turnaround began in late 2008 with the onset of the global financial crisis.27 8.179 3 58 51 61 30 08 29 02 39 82 65 40 dollar Source: Last 4 years 2005-2002 2003-2000 1996-1999 1993-1996 1990 1970-1992 1970-1985 Canada. As investors sought out safe-haven investments in U. India and Russia announced their intentions to diversify their foreign reserve portfolios away from the U.27 8.05 0.61 0.66 0. China.861 0.However.79 0.1877 on June 7.4 250.S.69 1.14 12 13.97 7.16 1.671 1 37 3 9 7 3 93 90 94 06 28 43 peso Renmi 1.66 10.63 85 1. treasuries and Japanese government bonds from the financial turmoil.66 0. many countries such as China.321 1 05 02 58 55 87 04 08 17 15 40 34 60 dollar Mexic 2.S.74 1. 113.50 1.54 0.90 1.41 0.49 0.936 4.705 2.58 1.27 8.66 1.48 1.79 1.27 8.4 98 6.7 11.1 an 2.8 10. 107.40 1. 117.19 7.27 8.76 8. 5 5 25 08 73 80 57 22 94 15 11 31 76 39 se yen 6 Pound 0.08 1.53 sterlin 64 4 3 07 60 84 98 46 56 17 56 93 25 95 92 g Canad 1.33 9.9 11.448 0.45 9.94 nbi 0 6 32 20 83 84 70 71 72 68 36 23 58 77 yuan Singap 1.45 43 1. 110. Mexico 200 9 0. 108. 240. 121.83 0.54 0.S. 111.168 1. 125.54 0.9 10.54 1.13 1. averaged over the year.  Exchange rates See also: Currencies pegged to the USD  Historical exchange rates Currency units per U. The euro's decline in 2008-2010 had erased half of its 20002008 rally.27 8.69 0.78 5.80 0.55 9. as investors considered the risk that certain Eurozone members may default on their government debt.11 1. 197 199 199 199 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 1980* 1985* 0* 0* 3 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 0.6 8 0.67 Euro 43 51 87 32 71 78 33 40 33 60 93 91 Japane 357. 115. .48 1.80 0.07 1. * = value at start of year.29 1.60 6.3 146.85 0. dollar.65 0.21 1.801 2.12 9.79 1.93 1.08 1.41 ore 2. 103.62 0.2 10. Mexican peso values prior to 1993 revaluation.73 1. At the same time.30 1.61 0.06 ian 1. however. the Japanese yen and United States dollar sharply rose against other currencies.69 1.83 07 1.72 0. dollar.71 76 93.61 1.
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