Massachusetts pound

A twelve pence (one shilling) note in Massachusetts state currency, issued in 1776. These "codfish" bills, so-called because of the cod in the border design, were engraved by Paul Revere.[1]

The pound was the currency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its colonial predecessors until 1793. Like the British pound sterling of that era, the Massachusetts pound was subdivided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence, but the Massachusetts and British pounds were not equivalent in value. British and other foreign coins were widely circulated in Massachusetts, supplemented by locally-produced coins between about 1652 and 1682 and by local paper money from 1690.

The paper money issued in colonial Massachusetts was denominated in pounds, shillings, and pence. 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 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 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 coins nearly all bore the date "1652". This was the date of the local legislation sanctioning the production of coins. The date was maintained by the Massachusetts moneyers in order to appear to be complying with English law that reserved the right of produce coins to the crown, since, in 1652, England was a Commonwealth (King Charles I having been beheaded three years previously). The coins 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 mint was closed by the government in 1682.

Paper money

From 1690, paper money was issued, denominated in pounds, shillings and pence. The notes were printed from engraved copper plates (probably the work of silversmith Jeremiah Dummer).[7]

The Massachusetts shilling was initially worth 9 pence 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 = 9 pence 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.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pound (currency) — The pound, a unit of currency, originated in England as the value of a pound mass of silver. [ [ Online Etymology Dictionary] ] For a long time, £1 worth of silver coins were a troy pound in… …   Wikipedia

  • Pound sterling — GBP redirects here. For other uses, see GBP (disambiguation). Pound sterling Peuns sterling (Cornish) Punt steirling (Irish) Punt Sostynagh …   Wikipedia

  • Pound, Roscoe — born Oct. 27, 1870, Lincoln, Neb., U.S. died July 1, 1964, Cambridge, Mass. U.S. legal educator and botanist. After studying botany at the University of Nebraska and law at Harvard University (1889–90), he was admitted to the Nebraska bar, and he …   Universalium

  • pound — A place for confinement of strays and other animals found running at large illegally, maintained by public authority or maintained by a private agency through contract or arrangement with public authority. Massachusetts Society for Prevention of… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • Jersey pound — Jersey pound …   Wikipedia

  • Manx pound — ISO 4217 code none User(s) Isle of Man (alongside pound sterling) Inflation 3.6% …   Wikipedia

  • Cypriot pound — Λίρα Κύπρου (Greek) Kıbrıs lirası (Turkish) …   Wikipedia

  • New Zealand pound — ISO 4217 code NZP User(s) New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, Tokelau Subunit 1/20 shilling …   Wikipedia

  • Malawian pound — User(s) Malawi Subunit 1/20 shilling 1/240 penny Symbol £ …   Wikipedia

  • Nigerian pound — User(s) Nigeria Subunit 1/20 shilling 1/240 penny Symbol £ …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.