• Table of Contents
  • Explanatory Essays
  • Basic References

    The best single volume of information for collectors of colonial currency is:

    Eric Newman, The Early Paper Money of America, 4th edition, Iola, WI : Krause Publications, 1997.
    Newman gives a very informative historical introduction with bibliography on pp. 9-32 followed by a selection of color illustrations on pp. 33-56. The main catalog on pages 57-453 present an illustrated catalog describing all emissions and including a price listing for most notes. This is followed by useful appendices on sheet structure, counterfeits and exchange rates and indices of printers, watermarks and mottos.

    The best introductory article on colonial currency on the web is:

    Ron Michener, "Money in the American Colonies" in the Economic History Services Website Encyclopedia, called ET.NET Encyclopedia at:

    Two essential books:

    Leslie V. Brock,The Currency of the American Colonies 1700-1764, New York: Arno Press, 1975.


    Joseph A. Ernst, Money and Politics in America 1755-1775: A Study in the Currency Act of 1764 and the Political Economy of Revolution, Chapel Hill: Institute of Early American History and Culture, by the University of North Carolina Press, 1973.

    Website with contemporary sources on colonial currency:

    Ron Michener has a wonderful website containing the text of several contemporary pamphlets focusing on the currency situation in Massachusetts (but with non-Massachusetts material as well, including Franklin's "Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency,"). Additionally, there are texts of documentary sources (including the Currency Acts of 1749, 1751 and 1754). Michener has also mounted an article by Brock, "The Colonial Currency, Prices and Exchange Rates" (1992) and a large portion of Andrew McFarland Davis's book, Currency and Banking in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay,(1900), at "The Leslie Brock Center for the Study of Colonial Currency".

    On calculating the current value of a given amount of colonial money see:

    the convertion calculators on the web at:
    "The Current Value of Old Money".
    Specific converters for the purchasing power of the British pound sterting 1264-2002 and for the US dollar 1665-2002 at:
    "EH Net How Much is That?"

    Two essential books on this topic:

    John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600-1775: A Handbook, Chapel Hill: Institute of Early American History and Culture, by the University of North Carolina Press, 1978.


    John J. McCusker, How Much Is That In Real Money? A Historical Commodity Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States, 2nd edition, Worcester, MA: American Antiquarian Society, 2001.

    On the origin of the term "dollar" see the interesting article by Newman on "The Earliest Money Using the Dollar as a Unit of Value" (also linked at the Brock site, this essay is made available by the Chicago Coin Club website. It is from the club's publication Perspectives in Numismatics (1986) edited by Saul B. Needleman.