Early Colonial Currency

Welcome, dear readers, to a delightfully informative and humor-infused exploration of colonial currency! Prepare yourselves for a wild ride through history as we delve into the peculiar world of early American money. From paper to shillings, this blog post will be a rollercoaster of knowledge with a generous sprinkle of chuckles along the way.

The Birth of Colonial Currency

Picture this: It’s the early 18th century, and the American colonies are flourishing with hopes of independence. But wait! There’s one tiny problem. Trade is happening, yet the lack of a common currency makes transactions a bit tricky. Thus, the colonies decided to create their own unique paper money. Just like that, colonial currency was born!

The Creativity of Colonial Bills

Oh, the creativity of our colonial ancestors! When it came to designing their currency, they didn’t hold back. Each colony was like a mini artistic hub, with bills boasting intricate engravings, vibrant colors, and delightful illustrations. From majestic eagles to farmers sowing seeds, these bills could easily double as mini works of art.

The Hilarity of Currency Values

Now, let’s talk about the values of colonial currency, which were as unpredictable as the weather on a spring day. Imagine this: You have a shiny new bill in your hand, proudly displaying a denomination of 50 pounds. You strut to the local market, ready to make it rain… until you realize that the value of that bill is equivalent to about $3 today. Oops! Talk about a devalued paper fortune.

Counterfeiting: The Original “Fake News”

Ah, the notorious world of counterfeiting! It seems that even in the colonial era, there were individuals with a knack for duplicating currency. These clever tricksters took their craft quite seriously, using everything from advanced printing techniques to secret ink recipes. But fear not, dear readers! Authorities fought back with their own measures, including everything from public hangings to branding counterfeiters. It was like a real-life game of cat and mouse, only with more wigs and tricorn hats.

The Revolutionary Currency Shift

As tensions between the colonies and England grew, so did the need for independence. In a symbolic move, the Continental Congress began issuing its own currency, aptly named the Continental Currency. However, this new money faced quite a challenge—the infamous hyperinflation monster. Prices skyrocketed, and soon, people were using Continental bills as kindling rather than as a means of exchange. Well, at least it provided warmth during the long winter nights.

And there you have it, folks! A whimsical journey through the history of colonial currency, where artistry, value fluctuations, and the battle against counterfeiters took center stage. It’s fascinating to reflect on how far we’ve come in terms of money management since those early days. So, the next time you’re gazing at your wallet, take a moment to appreciate the colorful bills in your possession and the absurdity of the past. After all, money may make the world go round, but a good laugh keeps us spinning happily on our way.


British Museum. “American Currency: An Express Train through Time.”
History.com Editors. “How Counterfeiting Works.”
Newman, Eric P. “The Early Paper Money of America.”
U.S. Department of the Treasury. “Money in Colonial Times.”