The history of United States coinage is a story that parallels the rise of America. Starting from a humble beginning in a basement in Philadelphia in the first few years of the country, it grew to a large highly sophisticated system that produces millions of coins per year. Due to a lack of silver, the first silver coins produced by the Mint came from silverware contributed by George and Martha Washington. Coins are something we take for granted today and put in jars and baskets on our night stands to accumulate for a rainy day when we need a few extra dollars. For more than half of the history of America, that wouldn't have been possible for the average citizen. It wasn't until after the Civil War that coinage became widely used for all types of transactions. Until that time, barter and money substitutes, such as tokens, script, and foreign coins, were used as a mediums of exchange. During the 1830's, and then again during the Civil War, coins were in such short supply that merchants and private individuals began producing cent-sized coins, just to make change for the day to day transactions. In America, it was legal until 1857 to use foreign money in transactions. The Spanish dollars and their fractional parts, called "bits," were very common during colonial times until the mid-1800s.
30 Minute Book SeriesEach book in the "30 Minute Book Series" is fast paced, well written, and accurate for a book that covers the topic in as much detail as a short book allows. In less than an hour, you can read or listen to the book - a perfect companion for a lunch hour or a nice distraction for a train ride home from work.
About the AuthorDoug West is a retired engineer, small business owner, and an experienced non-fiction writer with several books to his credit. His writing interests are general, with special expertise in science, biographies, numismatics, and "How to" topics. Doug has a Ph.D. in General Engineering from Oklahoma State University.
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