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 Ten Shilling Note Printed By Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin Colonial Currency Note, Delaware. June 1, 1759Benjamin Franklin Printed Colonial Currency Note, Delaware. 1759. Five Shillings1779 $40 Continental Franklin Printed Colonial Delaware Note June 1, 1759. Ten ShillingsFugio Half A Dollar - Continental Currency Feb 17, 1776 - Rare! No Reserve!Benjamin Franklin Printed Colonial Currency, Pennsylvania. June 18, 1764. 10sContinental Currency May 1775Rare 7 Pc Lot Of Us Fractional Postage Currency - Good To Very Fine!! Nr!Noblespirit~no Reserve~3859/67~crisp Xf Pa-170 50/- Colonial Currency 1773March 1776 Colonial Currency Note 1 Shilling Bill Ben Franklin Era Paper MoneyBenjamin Franklin Printed Colonial Currency Note. Pennsylvania. May 1, 1760. 5s1782 5 Pounds, 19 Shillings And 5 Pence Connecticut Colonial Note1782 11 Pounds, 13 Shillings And 9 Pence Connecticut Colonial NoteVery Rare High Grade 1779 North Carolina (smithfield) $10.00 Colonial BanknoteCentral Bank Of The Philippines - 10 Pesos, Nd (1949). Speicmen. Pmg 64net.Connecticut 1783 Pay-table Office Payment To Capt. John Morgan1782 11 Pounds, 13 Shillings And 6 Pence Connecticut Colonial NoteFr-cc-22 2/3 Two Thirds Dollary Continental Currency February 17th, 1776 F/vfJuly 1 1780 1s3d Connecticut Colonial CurrencyContinental Congress. February 17, 1776. Seven Dollars. Choice Very Fine.French Revolution Assignat 15 Sols Bank Notes Jan. 04, 1792 Original Serie 769.September 26, 1778 $60 Continental CurrencyColonial Currency, Colony Of Rhode Island. November 6, 1775. Nine Pence.Colonial Currency. Virginia. May 5, 1777. Eight Dollars. Choice Crisp EfMaryland $6 Colonial Note *free Shipping After First Item*Colonial Currency, North Carolina. April 4, 1748. 10s. BirdOriginal October 1, 1773 Ten Shillings Colonial Currency Note By Hall & Sellers1777 Pennsylvania 3 Pence Colonial Currency Note Pmg Fine 15 NetColonial Currency, Ri, July 2, 1780. Three Dollars. Guaranteed. Fully SignedColonial Currency, Sc. March 6, 1776. Twenty Five Pounds. Choice Extremely Fine$2 Maryland 1770 Colonial Note - Vg Condition- Repaired And Pin Holes In CornersContinental Congress. September 26, 1778. Thirty Dollars. Crisp Very Fine.1779 $35 Continental Currency Note No. 39229 Hall & SellersContinental Congress. November 29, 1775. Three Dollars. Very Fine.Colonial Currency, Nj, 1786. One Shilling. Plate A. Conservation. Fine.1778 $30 Continental Currency Early Colonial History Fine Condition CollectibleContinental Congress. May 9, 1776. Seven Dollars. Crisp Very Fine+.1897 El Banco Espanol De La Isla 10 Cent American Bank Note Co. New York ScarceState Of Massachusetts Bay One Dollar 1780Colonial Currency, Maryland. January 1, 1767. Six Dollars. Contemporarily Sewn1773 Two Shillings Pennsylvania Colonial Currency Aszzx3Genuine French Revolution Assignat 10 Sous Bank Notes January 4, 1792 Serie:987 Colonial Currency, Maryland. March 1, 1770. Four Dollars. Contemporarily Sewn1st Day Issue France 10 Mark Swastika Brazil 300 R 1938 2p 1924 2 Hitler StampDollar Bill With An Extra Piece Of Paper Stuck To It.