Money in the 1700s: Colonial Paper Currency History In Pictures

colonial america

Collecting ancient currency from the Americas is a hobby that I enjoy. There are many reasons why I enjoy collecting this type of currency.

One reason is because it is unique and interesting. Another reason is because it allows me to learn more about the history of the Americas before colonization.

(Make sure you check out what money looked like in the 1800s).

I am interested in collecting these currencies for a number of reasons, but one reason, in particular, is because they are so different than what we use today. They have different symbols and pictures on them that we do not see on our money today.

This hobby has allowed me to learn about history and culture in a way that I would not be able to do otherwise.

United States currency has undergone many changes over its history.

There is some interesting information about the United States currency. This is a look at the currency back from the 1700s and how currency began and changed over the years.

Colonial Paper Money

The early 1700s

The early 1700s

At the beginning of the 1700s Colonial Notes were used. This was the beginning of paper currency. The currency was controlled by the Massachusetts Bay Colony to help give the military the funds that it needed to operate.

The colonies took notice of this and they began to use paper notes as their currency. This set the base for modern money. It showed paper money with agreed-upon terms and values.


Franklin Unique Colonial Notes

At this time there was an update in the notes that were used for currency. The currency became the Franklin Unique Colonial Notes. Benjamin Franklin noticed that people were beginning to make counterfeit notes and he wanted to make a change to this.

He used his printing firm in Philadelphia and make these notes with special prints on them. There was a raised pattern made from real leaves. This set the notes apart from the currency that was in circulation and make it harder to counterfeit them.

The raised measures on the notes helped give them protection and gave them a new look. He was one of the first people to take measures to safeguard money and make sure it was valid when accepted.



By this time there was another change to the United States currency. The theme for the currency was independence and strength. The Continental Currency has special illustrations and designs that were inspired by the works of the thirteen colonies.

The work featured the fighting and the defeat against the British during the American Revolution.

The illustrations on the money showed the values and virtues of the colonies during this time. The pictures on the money reflected what was happening in the country at this time.



There were additional changes that were made to the continental currency at this time. At this time there was a phrase that was added to the money. The phrase “not worth a Continental” was added to the paper currency.

This was used to help finance the Revolutionary War. The currency lost its value at this time and it happened rather quickly. There was not a solid backing for the money at this time so there was nothing to base its value on.

The value of money has also seen a decrease due to the increase in counterfeiting of the money.



At this time the first two dollar note came into circulation. These notes are said to be Continentals and they are only nine days older than the United States itself. The extract date for the first circulation of these bills is known.

The Continental Congress first issues the two-dollar bill on June 25, 1776. This was said to be the bills of credit. It was released to help fund the defense for the United States.


Alexander Hamilton

At this time the first official bank was created. Alexander Hamilton created the Bank of the United States. The purpose of this bank was to develop a credit system that would be able to be used by the government.

The bank controlled several issues. It was the first bank that was used to create private currencies. It was also the first bank to keep track of borrowing money and lending money.

This was the history of currency in the United States during the 1700s. At this time there were both ups and downs in the economic system of money. Some things were developed that are still used today.

The dollar sign is still used when talking about money and banks are still used for borrowing. This history shows how American money has evolved- just don’t stick them in your money counting machine!

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