Silver Dollars

Silver coins minted in the United States of several values, since its beginnings at the end of the eighteenth century (Flowing Hair type) to the most recent coinage.

Ancient American coins, the early collections

The US mint created the American Coin Cabinet in 1838, when Adam Eckfeldt, chief coiner from 1814 until 1839, donated his personal collection.In the first years of the nation, from 1860 and after the American Revolution, currencies from Spain, England and France mainly, circulated and were officially used.

Old American coins, the evolution of the dollar

After the Spanish monetary reform in 1497, a silver coin that represented 8 golden “reales” was created and was called “real de a ocho” or “peso de ocho” (piece of eight). It was almost the same size and weight as that of a silver thaler (a coin minted for the first time in a Bohemian valley or “thal”). Around year 1700 this Spanish coin started circulating in America, and was called a “Spanish dollar”, where the word “dollar” was a direct derivation of “thaler”.By 1790, the American market had already accepted the Spanish dollar as basic currency unit. The words “Spanish peso” were abbreviated as SP, and when these initials were put together one on top of the other, symbol $ was created.In 1792 the US mint created the US dollar, although at the beginning it was less popular than the Spanish dollar, as it was heavier and had better silver. Nevertheless, the influence of the Spanish dollar was patent even in Wall Street, where the shares of the stock market were measured based on dollar eighths after the “8 reales”. This denomination survived until 1997.