View Full Version : Money The curious origins of the dollar symbol

06-04-2019, 09:33 PM
No one is absolutely sure of the origin of the symbol '$'. Most accepted story goes back to trade between english speakers and spanish speakers in the Americas. Spain did not officially leave what is now US territory until General Jackson saw the Spanish out of Pensacola in about 1821. So certainly from the time of Olgelthrope 1733 in Savannah Georgia until 1821 when the spanish finally left there was contact between the two groups. The contact might have been earlier since the english did have colonies further to the north at earlier dates and there was a lot of earlier trade in the Caribbean ports..

The most widely accepted theory does in fact involve Spanish coinage, and it goes like this: in the colonies, trade between Spanish Americans and English Americans was lively, and the peso, or peso de ocho reales, was legal tender in the US until 1857. It was often shortened, so historians tell us, to the initial ĎPí with an ĎSí hovering beside it in superscript. Gradually, thanks to the scrawl of time-pressed merchants and scribes, that ĎPí merged with the ĎSí and lost its curve, leaving the vertical stroke like a stake down the centre of the ĎSí. A Spanish dollar was more or less worth an American dollar, so itís easy to see how the sign might have transferred.

As with everything American at the moment, thereís a partisan dimension to the debate about the dollar signís ancestry: for duelling political reasons, one faction favours the idea that itís homegrown, another that it was imported. http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190528-the-curious-origin-of-the-symbol?utm_source=pocket-newtab

06-06-2019, 03:19 PM
From wiki on pieces of eight-The Spanish dollar, also known as the piece of eight or the peso, is a silver coin, of approximately 38 mm diameter, worth eight Spanish reales, that was minted in the Spanish Empire following a monetary reform in 1497.

The Spanish dollar was widely used by many countries as the first international/world currency because of its uniformity in standard and milling characteristics. Some countries countersigned the Spanish dollar so it could be used as their local currency.[1]

The Spanish dollar was the coin upon which the original United States dollar was based, and it remained legal tender in the United States until the Coinage Act of 1857. Because it was widely used in Europe, the Americas, and the Far East, it became the first world currency by the late 18th century.[2][3][4] Aside from the U.S. dollar, several other currencies, such as the Canadian dollar, the Japanese yen, the Chinese yuan, the Philippine peso, and several currencies in the rest of the Americas, were initially based on the Spanish dollar and other 8-real coins.[5] Diverse theories link the origin of the "$" symbol to the columns and stripes that appear on one side of the Spanish dollar.[6]

The term peso was used in Spanish to refer to this denomination, and it became the basis for many of the currencies in the former Spanish colonies, including the Argentine, Bolivian, Chilean, Colombian, Costa Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Ecuadorian, Guatemalan, Honduran, Mexican, Nicaraguan, Paraguayan, Philippine, Puerto Rican, Peruvian, Salvadoran, Uruguayan, and Venezuelan pesos. Of these, "peso" remains the name of the official currency in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Philippines, and Uruguay.

06-07-2019, 06:01 AM
Good stuff. I love history.