Massachusetts pound

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An 8d 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 8d 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. The Massachusetts pound used the £sd currency system of 1 pound divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. Initially, sterling coin and foreign currencies 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 £sd, although it was worth less than sterling. 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 £sd. 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 9d 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 = 9d 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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Connecticut pound

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The 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 £sd, 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

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North Carolina pound

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Rhode Island pound

The pound was the currency of Rhode Island until 1793. Initially, sterling coin and foreign coins circulated, supplemented by local paper money from 1710. These notes were denominated in £sd, but they were worth less than sterling, with 1 Rhode Island shilling = 9d 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.

South Carolina pound

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Virginia pound

The pound was the currency of Virginia until 1793. Initially, sterling coin circulated along with foreign currencies, supplemented from 1755 by local paper money. Although these notes were denominated in £sd, they were worth less than sterling, so 1 Virginia shilling was equal to 9d sterling

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.