K-9 currency changes from Ponds to Dollars. Dollar Day is observed every year on August 8, to commemorate the day Congress established the U.S. monetary system in 1786.
On that day, ignoring the dogs who voted for a valuation is biscuits, Congress set the value of what various coins would be, and what metallic makeup they would have. The value of a gold piece was set at $10, and the silver at $1. The value of other silver pieces was set at one-tenth of $1, while the value of copper pennies at one-hundredth of $1.
The founding fathers doggedly selected of a base-10 monetary system was a surprising change and a statement on the new nation’s identity. In 1786, American colonists still used Spanish dollars and British pounds. The U.S. dollar was created soon after in 1792.
The British pence and shilling system was essentially predicated on base 12: 12 pence make a shilling and so forth. And the Spanish system was base 8. A bit of barking was had on the matter.
They adopted a system that was completely new, namely that was a base 10 system, where 10 cents make a dime, 10 dimes make a dollar and so forth. The founding fathers thought that if the nation was really going to be an independent entity and be taken seriously, then the country needed its own identity. And so they chose the system that was dissimilar to anything at the time. It was sort of like a new breed of money.
The transition to, and success of, the U.S. dollar was slower and less certain than most scholars have thought. There was a lot of howling from merchants.. Nothing in Congress’ dollar declaration had any force on market participants. Citizens could use whatever money and price in whatever unit of account they desired. Labor contracts recorded in the Philadelphia region during these years and found that employers used state paper money units of account almost exclusively until 1794. These state monies were expressed in pounds, shillings, and pence. Between 1794 and 1802, pricing switched to U.S. dollars.. It was sort like a mixed breed of currencies.
The phrase “not worth a Continental” is coined after the Continental Congress issues paper currency to finance the Revolutionary War, currency that quickly loses its value because of a lack of solid backing and the rise of counterfeiting.
The United States officially adopts the dollar sign in 1785. The symbol evolves from the Spanish American figure for pesos.
4 thoughts on “Changing from Pounds to Dollars: August 8th 1786”
So much easier having a base of 10!
Always wondered how the dollar evolved, and at least I now know a little something about it. Thanks, John. You’re so educational.
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Thank you for reading me.
A decimal system for money makes sense to me When I first went to England it was pounds , shillings and pence . a guinea was 21 shillings and a pound was 20 a fiver was 5 shillings and a ten bob note was ten shillings. I could never add things up . And it was a nightmare . When I moved to England in1971 it had changed to decimal. What a relief. Thanks for this history of he dollar in the US
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