US Colonial and Continental Currency

Until the Massachusetts Bay Colony issued the first paper currency in 1690, money in the colonies was limited to British and Spanish coins. Indeed, the Spanish dollar, known as a "piece of eight," was the dominant coin of the New World. But a shortage of coins made transactions difficult, so unofficial paper money was printed.

The Colonial paper issued between 1690 in Massachusetts and 1788 in New York included bills engraved by Paul Revere — an image of a codfish graces one side of his bills for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Pennsylvania was the first colony to allow its citizens to use their land as collateral for loans of currency. Benjamin Franklin, who helped create the Pennsylvania paper, believed that it was the British government’s decision to take away the currency of its colonies that most contributed to the Revolutionary War.

During that war, the fledging nation financed its army by issuing Continentals, printed on Benjamin Franklin’s press, in 1775. Like Colonial currency, Continentals were backed by neither gold nor silver—it was promise of future tax revenues alone that was supposed to give investors confidence.

Nor surprisingly, it didn’t, and the Continentals were quickly devalued. At one point, holders of Continentals were getting two and a half cents on the dollar for their paper. As George Washington himself said, "A wagonload of Continentals will hardly purchase a wagonload of provisions." Collectors do much better today.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

American Currency Exhibit

American Currency Exhibit

This collection, from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, covers currency from 1690 through half a dozen era… [read review or visit site]

Bank Note Bank

Bank Note Bank

This world banknote and currency image-sharing database is notable for its breadth of contributors and content (abo… [read review or visit site]

Two Cent Revenue Stamped Paper

Two Cent Revenue Stamped Paper

Everything you'd ever want to know about revenue stamped paper (first authorized in 1862). This site features infor… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Colonial Currency, Pennsylvania Benjamin Franklin Printed 1760 Fifteen ShillingsMarch 25, 1776 New Jersey Six Shillings Continental Currency Note - No Reserve1776 $1 South Carolina Colonial Currency Palmetto Tree Pcgs Cu64ppq!**rare** High Grade 1776 30 Shilling "colonial Note" Stunning/color1771 $1 North Carolina Colonial Currency Pcgs Gem Cu65ppq Amazing! 1782, Pair Of Revolutionary War Payment Bonds, Soldiers SignedColonial Currency Maryland Two Dollars 1775 Rare Revolutionary War NoteContinental Currency Note. September 26, 1778. Sixty Dollars. Choice Crisp Au 1773 Continental Currency Two Shillings & Six Pence Pennsylvania 1773 AvfVirginia. May 3, 1779. Fifty Dollars NoteContinental Congress Note. February 17, 1776. Four Dollars. Choice Very Fine1779 Continental Currency 5 Dollars Bill Genuine, Friedberg #cc-91 Decent CircSet Of Colonial Currency (4) Four Notes. De, Md, Pa, Nj, Issued From 1760-1777Colonial Currency, Nj, June 14, 1757 15 ShillingsMaryland Colonial Currency Dec.7, 1775 $6, Pcgs Very Fine 20Continental Currency Coin Fugio 1776 Old Colonial Currency Nice NrCentral Bank Of The Philippines - 50 Pesos, 1949. Proof. Choice Unc. Rare.1777 Revolutionary War Occupation Currency-8 Shillings-vf+ Philadelphia-j.dunlap1776 $1/6 Continental Currency, Georgia. 1776 Blue Seal. $2. Floating Jugs Pass-co Abt Unc-50Continental Congress. April 11, 1778. $7. Genuine Yorktown Issue NoteColonial Currency, February 20, 1790. Corp Of The City Of New York. 3 Pence NoteFebruary 17, 1776 One Third Dollar Continental Currancy Note Philadelphia Cc-114Continental Currency, 1/14/1779, $35Colonial Pennsylvania 6 Pence April 25,1776 Fine+1778 Two Shillings 6 Pence Half Crown Pennsylvania Colonial Hall Printer Aszzx3Continental Currency Note September 26, 1778 Twenty Dollars Choice Crisp Unc.Colonial Currency, Nc, March 9, 1754 Act. Twenty-six Shillings & Eight PenceColonial Currency, Nj, April 23, 1761, 30s Plate B. Choice Fine To Very Fine.2s/6d 1786 Rhode Island Colonial Currency Ri-293 Pcgs Extremely Fine 45 Amazing1782 40 Pounds, 17 Shillings, 2 Pence, Connecticut Colonial NoteColonial Currency. South Carolina. March 6, 1776 Act. Fifty Pounds. TrophiesColonial Currency, Ga, September 10, 1777, $4/5Colonial Currency, Sc, March 6, 1776. Revolutionary War. 15 Pounds. Rattlesnake15s 1773 Pennsylvania Colonial Currency Pcgs Au55 Lucky Pa-16830s 1786 Rhode Island Colonial Currency Ri-299 Cga 68 Opq Flawless PerfectionMay 5 1780 $8 Massachusetts Colonial Note Pmg 40 Extremely Fine1793 Stonington, Connecticut Lottery TicketColonial Currency Pennsylvania 2 Shillings & 6 Pence 1773 October 5 1773 50 Shillings Pennsylvania Colonial Currency Sn 5918Colonial Currency, Sc. November 15, 1775. Two Pounds Ten Shillings Note RarityColonial Currency, Pa, July 20, 1775. 20s Choice Ef+ John Benezet Signed 1780 New Hampshire Dollar $1.00 Colonial Currency Hall Printer Aszzx3Colonial Currency, Pa, April 10, 1777, 4d. Black Text. Crisp Uncirculated$100 1780 Virginia Colonial Currency Va-192 Pcgs Vf35 $4 1774 Maryland Colonial Currency Md 68 Cga 53*Pennsylvania - 10 Shillings - April 25, 1776 - Hall & Sellers - Colonial NoteColonial Currency, Ny,4/2/1759, £10$100 1780 Virginia Colonial Currency Va-192 Pcgs Vf35 Clothing For The ArmyColonial Currency Note, Conn. July 1, 1780. 40 Shillings. Hole Cancel. Ch. Cu6 Dollar Currency 1700's Colonial Nice!!!!!!Ct Interest Certificate For Deliverance Cooper 1789 1 Pound 9 Shillings Pcgs1776 New Jersey Colonial Note - One ShillingHgr 1780 $7 Colonial ((massachusetts)) Pmg Au-581777 16 Shillings Pennsylvania Colonial Note Pmg 45 Choice Extra Fine$4 1780 Massachusetts Colonial Currency Pcgs Vf30 Punch Cancel1780 $1 Dollar-state Of Massachusetts Bay-militia Muster Pay W/interest Paid-epq1764 15 Shillings Newe Jersey Colonial Note Very Rare Pmg 8Colonial Currency Pennsylvania 5 Shillings 17751780 Massachusetts Bay $7.00 Colonial Currency Hall Printer Aszzx3