Massachusetts pound

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An eight pence note in Massachusetts state currency, issued in 1778. These "codfish" bills, so-called because of the cod in the border design, were engraved and printed by Paul Revere. US-Colonial (MA-258)-Massachusetts-16 Oct 1778 (OBV).jpg
An eight pence note in Massachusetts state currency, issued in 1778. These "codfish" bills, so-called because of the cod in the border design, were engraved and printed by Paul Revere.

The pound was the currency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its colonial predecessors until 1793. Like the British pound sterling of that era, the Massachusetts pound was subdivided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence, but the Massachusetts and British pounds were not equivalent in value. British and other foreign coins were widely circulated in Massachusetts, supplemented by the pine tree shilling produced by the "Hull Mint" between 1652 and 1682 and by local paper money from 1690.

Contents

The paper money issued in colonial Massachusetts was denominated in pounds, shillings, and pence. Initially, six shillings were equal to one Spanish dollar. After years of high inflation, in 1749 Massachusetts withdrew its paper money from circulation and returned to specie.

Massachusetts once again began issuing paper money after the American Revolutionary War began in 1775. The state currency depreciated greatly and was replaced by the U.S. dollar in 1793.

Coins

Silver pine tree shilling, dated 1652. LVPL-1CFD55 Silver pine tree shilling of Massachusetts, North America (FindID 285997).jpg
Silver pine tree shilling, dated 1652.

Shillings were issued in denominations of 3 and 6 pence and 1 shilling. The first pieces bore the letters "NE" and the denomination "III", "VI" or "XII". The coins (the pine tree shillings) were smaller than the equivalent sterling coins by 22.5%. [2] Later pieces, struck between 1652 and 1660 or 1662, bore the image of a willow tree, [3] with an oak tree [4] appearing on coins produced between 1660 or 1662 and ca. 1667. However, the most famous design was the final one to be issued, the pine tree type, struck between ca. 1667 and 1682. [5] The coins circulated widely in North America and the Caribbean.

The shillings nearly all bore the date "1652". This was the date of the Massachusetts Bay Colony legislation sanctioning the production of shillings. The date was maintained by the Massachusetts moneyers in order to appear to be complying with English law that reserved the right of produce shillings to the crown, since, in 1652, England was a Commonwealth (King Charles I having been beheaded three years previously). The shillings were struck by John Hull and Robert Sanderson, two Massachusetts settlers. The image of the pine tree on the later coins may symbolize an important export for Massachusetts - pine trees for ships' masts. [6] The "Hull Mint" producing the pine tree shillings was closed by the English government in 1682.

Paper money

Two shilling note, dated 1 May 1741. US-Colonial (MA-87.15)-Massachusetts-1 May 1741 OBV.jpg
Two shilling note, dated 1 May 1741.

From 1690, paper money was issued, denominated in pounds, shillings and pence. The notes were printed from engraved copper plates (probably the work of silversmith Jeremiah Dummer). [7]

The pine tree shilling struck by "The Hull Mint" in Boston for the Massachusetts Bay Colony was initially worth 9 pence sterling. However, the value of this first issue of notes declined relative to silver coins and, in 1704, the "Old Tenor" notes were introduced, again at a value of 1 Massachusetts shilling = 9 pence sterling. The value of these notes also declined and they were followed, in 1737, by the "Middle Tenor" issue, worth 3 times the Old Tenor notes, and, in 1741, by the "New Tenor" issue, worth 4 times the Old Tenor notes. In 1759, all previous issues were replaced by the "Colonial" issue, worth 10 times the Old Tenor notes.

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Early American currency

Early American currency went through several stages of development during the colonial and post-Revolutionary history of the United States. John Hull was authorized by the Massachusetts legislature to make the earliest coinage of the colony, the willow, the oak, and the pine tree shilling in 1652.

Connecticut pound

The pound was the currency of Connecticut until 1793. Initially, the British pound circulated along with foreign currencies. This was supplemented by local paper money from 1709. Although the local currency was denominated in pounds, shillings and pence, it was worth less than sterling, with 1 Connecticut shilling = 9 pence sterling. This rated the Spanish dollar at 6 Connecticut shillings. The first issue of notes is known as the "Old Tenor" issue.

The pound was the currency of Delaware until 1793. Initially, the British pound and foreign coins circulated. This was supplemented from 1723 by local paper money. Although this was denominated in pounds, shillings and pence, the notes were worth less than sterling, with 1 Delaware shilling = 9 pence sterling.

The Maryland pound was the currency of Maryland from 1733 until its gradual replacement with the Continental currency and later the United States dollar between the American Revolution and the early 1800s. Initially, the coins of the Pound sterling circulated along with foreign coins. From 1733, this was supplemented by paper money, known as "Proclamation Money", denominated in pounds, shillings and pence, but worth less than sterling, with 1 Maryland shilling = 9 pence sterling. A second "New" issue of notes was introduced in 1751, replacing the earlier notes at a rate of 1 New shilling = 1¼ Proclamation shillings.

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New Jersey pound

The pound was the money of account of New Jersey until 1793. Initially, the British pound and some foreign currencies circulated, supplemented from 1709 by local paper money. However, although the notes were denominated in pounds, shillings and pence, they did not have the same value as the British pound sterling or of other colonial currencies with denominations in pounds. A proclamation of Queen Anne, issued in 1704 and legislated by parliament in 1707, standardized the value of all colonial currencies at 6 colonial schillings to a full weight Spanish Milled Dollar, which was in turn equivalent to 4 shillings 6 pence sterling. This made a colonial schilling equivalent to nine pence sterling and a colonial pound equivalent to 2 troy oz 18 dwt 8 gr of silver. Currency issued at this rate was referred to as “Proclamation Money”.

North Carolina pound

The North Carolina pound, commonly known as the pound, was the currency of North Carolina until 1793. Initially, the British pound circulated, supplemented from 1709 by local paper money and the introduction of Colonial currency and the Pound denominations in 1712. Although these notes were denominated in pounds, shillings and pence, they were worth less than sterling, with 1 North Carolina shilling = 9 pence sterling. The first issue of paper money was known as "Old Tenor" money. In 1748, "New Tenor" paper money was introduced, worth 7½ times the Old Tenor notes.

Rhode Island pound

The pound was the currency of Rhode Island until 1793. Initially, the British pound and foreign coins circulated, supplemented by local paper money from 1710. These notes were denominated in pounds, shillings, and pence, but they were worth less than sterling, with 1 Rhode Island shilling = 9 pence sterling. The first issue of notes was known as the "Old Tenor" issue. This fell in value and "New Tenor" notes were introduced in 1740, worth four times the Old Tenor notes. Both Old and New Tenor notes were replaced in 1763 by "Lawful money" at a rate of 1 Lawful shilling = 6⅔ New Tenor shillings = 26⅔ old Tenor shills.

Virginia pound

The pound was the currency of Virginia until 1793. Initially, the British pound sterling circulated along with foreign currencies, supplemented from 1755 by local paper money. Although these notes were denominated in pounds, shillings and pence, they were worth less than sterling, usually discounted so 1 Virginia shilling was equal to 9 British pence, while 1 British shilling was equal to 12 British pence. In British pounds, shillings and pence (£sd), duodecimal coinage, which was in use in the UK until the adoption of decimal coinage in 1971.

The pound was the currency of Prince Edward Island until 1871. It was subdivided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. It was replaced by the dollar in 1871. British coins circulated, together with locally produced coins and paper money.

Pine tree shilling Historic unit of currency

The pine tree shilling was a type of coin minted and circulated in the thirteen colonies.

References

  1. Newman, The Early Paper Money of the America, 185–86.
  2. N E Coinage Introduction
  3. Willow Tree Introduction
  4. Oak Tree Introduction
  5. Pine Tree Coinage Introduction
  6. NMAH | Legendary Coins & Currency: Massachusetts the pine tree shilling , "1652" (struck 1667-1674)
  7. Doty, R. G. (April 2006). "When Money Was Different". www.common-place.org. Retrieved December 21, 2009.