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    

Maryland Colonial Currency Dec.7, 1775 $6, Pcgs Very Fine 20The American Oriental Bank Of Fukien - $1, 1922. Specimen. Pmg 66epq.$4 1774 Maryland Colonial Currency Md 68 Cga 53*1776 New Jersey Colonial Note - One Shilling30s 1786 Rhode Island Colonial Currency Ri-299 Cga 68 Opq Flawless PerfectionOctober 5 1773 50 Shillings Pennsylvania Colonial Currency Sn 59181777 16 Shillings Pennsylvania Colonial Note Pmg 45 Choice Extra Fine15s 1773 Pennsylvania Colonial Currency Pcgs Au55 Lucky Pa-168$4 1780 Massachusetts Colonial Currency Pcgs Vf30 Punch CancelScarce 1748 Colonial Currency Note North Carolina 15 Shillings Old Paper Money2s/6d 1786 Rhode Island Colonial Currency Ri-293 Pcgs Extremely Fine 45 AmazingPre Civil War 1849 Pennsylvania $10 Note Fractional Currency Us Paper Money Yqz$100 1780 Virginia Colonial Currency Va-192 Pcgs Vf35 Continental Currency, 1/14/1779, $351776 New York Colonial Currency 10 Spanish Milled Dollars1778 South Carolina 7 Shillings, 6 Pence Colonial Note *free S/h After 1st Item*May 5 1780 $8 Massachusetts Colonial Note Pmg 40 Extremely Fine1776 Us Colonial Paper Money Banknote 1/6th One Sixth Dollar Hall & Sellers Nr!Continental Currency Three Dollars 1786, Trio Of Revolutionary War Interest Payment Loan Bonds, SoldiersColonial Currency, Ny,4/2/1759, £10Colonial Currency, Md, 4/10/1774, $11776 $2/3 Continental Currency.fr.#cc-22.pmg-15 Genuine French Revolution Assignat 25 Sols Bank Notes January 4, 1792 Serie1028$100 1780 Virginia Colonial Currency Va-192 Pcgs Vf35 Clothing For The Army1778 South Carolina 2 Shillings, 6 Pence Colonial Note *free S/h After 1st Item*1772 Colonial 18 Pence Note-april 3rd Issue-no Pinholes-pennsylvania Beauty !! 1776 $1/6 Maryland Colonial Note. Md-92. Pmg-30net1778 South Carolina 3 Shillings, 9 Pence Colonial Note *free S/h After 1st Item*1778 South Carolina 5 Shillings Colonial Note *free Shipping After First Item*1775 4 Dollar Annapolis Maryland Colonial Currency1776 $4 Continental Currency.fr.#cc-49.pmg-30netColonial Currency, Georgia. 1776. Fractional Denomination. One Quarter DollarInternational Banking Corporation / Shanghai - $10, 1905. Good Very Fine. Historic Cape Henlopen €Massachusetts May 5, 1780 Colonial Note Genuine French Revolution Assignat 25 Sols Bank Notes January 4, 1792 Serie 37 Genuine French Revolution Assignat 10 Sous Bank Notes October 24 1792 Serie 1207Genuine French Revolution Assignat 50 Sols Bank Notes May 23, 1793 Serie 1064Continental Congress Note. February 17, 1776. Seven Dollars. Choice Very Fine.Feb 17th 1776 Pcgs Vf 20 Four $4 Dollar Continental Colonial CurrencyColonial Currency, De, 5/1/1777, 5sCga Gem Unc 66 Opq $5.00 Connecticut Stonington Bank Obsolete BanknoteOne Half 1/2 A Dollar Fugio Colonial Continental Currency Feb. 17th 1776 Sept. 26th 1778 Fifty $50 Dollar Continental Colonial CurrencyColonial Currency, Nc, 12/1768, 40sOne Sixth 1/6 Of A Dollar Feb. 17th 1776 Fugio Continental Colonial Currency1778 South Carolina 10 Shillings Colonial Note *free Shipping After First Item*Colonial Currency, Ma, 12/31/1786, $51778 Continental Currency-military Muster Pay-$30 Dollars-higher Grade Rarity !Colonial Paper Money Bill Nice Piece Of History Colonial Currency, Virginia, May 4, 1778, One Fourth Of A DollarFeb 17th 1776 Three $3 Dollar Colonial Continental Currency Maryland $6 Bank Note January 1 1767 Colonial NoteColonial Currency Three Pence Nice 1815 Philadelphia Pennsylvania Bank CheckContinental Currency. February 17, 1776. Seven Dollars Choice Crisp UncirculatedCollectible Organizer Software For Currency, Banknotes