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The History of Money

  • Colonial Notes

    Colonial Notes
    In the early years of America Colonialists used English, Spanish, and French currencies. The Massachusetts Bay Colony issued the first paper money in the colonies that would later form the United States.
  • Period: to

    History of Money

  • Continental Currency

    Continental Currency
    American colonists issued paper currency for the Continental Congress to finance the Revolutionary War.
  • Nation's First Bank

    The Continental Congress chartered the Bank of North America in Philadelphia as the nation's first “real” bank to give further financial support to the Revolutionary War.
  • U.S. Mint

    U.S. Mint
    The Federal Monetary System was established with the creation of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The first American coins were struck in 1793.
  • State Bank Notes

    State Bank Notes
    1,600 different private banks issued paper money. State bank notes, with over 30,000 varieties of color and design, were easily counterfeited.
  • Greenbacks

    Greenbacks were the first form of national paper currency.
  • Gold Certificates

    Gold Certificates
    Gold Certificates were issued by the Department of the Treasury against gold coin and bullion deposits and were circulated until
  • Secret Service

    Secret Service
    The Department of the Treasury established the United States Secret Service to control counterfeiting. At that time, one-third of all circulating currency was estimated to be counterfeit.
  • National Bank Notes

    National Bank Notes
    National Bank Notes, backed by U.S. government securities, became predominant.
  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing

    Bureau of Engraving and Printing
    The Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing started printing all U.S. currency.
  • Silver Certificates

    Silver Certificates
    The Department of the Treasury was authorized to issue Silver Certificates in exchange for silver dollars.
  • Federal Reserve Act

    Federal Reserve Act
    In 1913 the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was passed. It created the Federal Reserve System as the nation's central bank. The System was authorized to issue Federal Reserve Notes. Now the only U.S. currency produced.
  • Standardized Design

    Standardized Design
    Currency was reduced in size by 25 percent, and a consistent design was introduced with uniform portraits on the front and emblems and monuments on the back.
  • US Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act

    Some banks have been seeking to evade restrictions by leaving the Federal Reserve System. Under this act all deposit-taking institutions are to be subject to the Federal Reserve System's reserve requirements in a planned, seven year program
  • US Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act

    Following a worrying increase in bank failures on top of the shambles of the savings and loan institutions, a new regulatory system is introduced.
  • New Security Features

    New Security Features
    A security thread and microprinting were introduced to deter counterfeiting by advanced copiers and printers. The features first appeared in Series 1990 $100, $50 and the $20 notes. By Series 1993, the features appeared in all denominations except $1 notes.
  • Currency Redesign

    The Secretary of the Treasury redesigned U.S. currency to incorporate a new series of counterfeit deterrents. The newly designed $100 was introduced in 1996, the $50 in 1997, and the $20 in 1998. The new $50 was the first to incorporate a low-vision feature, a large dark numeral on a light background on the lower right corner of the back, to help people with low vision identify the denomination.
  • New Age of Banking

    New Age of Banking
    By value over 90% of all transactions in the US are made electronically. The high costs of check and coin payments is a strong motivating factor in the development of electronic payment systems in the US and abroad.
  • State Quarters

    State Quarters
    The program is scheduled to run from 1999 until 2008, with five new quarters released every year over ten years. The 50 new quarters will feature a design that honors each state's unique history and tradition. The quarters are being released in the order that the states joined the union.
  • Redesign

    The U.S. Treasury introduced redesigned $5 and $10 bills to make counterfeiting more difficult. The new notes feature oversized pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton that are slightly off-center. Other anti-counterfeiting measures include watermarks that can be seen under a light, security threads that glow when exposed to ultraviolet light and tiny printing that’s visible with the help of a magnifying glass. The $100, $50 and the $20 bill underwen