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.