Naija News: How the Dollar became United States currency.


This day, 235 years ago, marked the start of the US dollar as the United States currency, following the use of Continentals or Continental Currency.

The use of Dollar as a monetary value was formally approved by the continental congress on 6 July 1785. Though, the word ‘Dollar’ has been used by the Spanish during the colonial period when it was referred to ‘Spanish dollar’ or ‘eight-real coin’.

During the American civil war (1861-1865), the federal government commenced issuance of the paper bills. Christopher Der-Seropian suggested colour green be added at the back of each bill, his suggestion was approved as green colour denotes ‘stability’. Unlike other countries, all US dollar notes of different denominations had the same colour for the most part of the 20th century.

To protect the currency from counterfeiting, micro printing and security threads were introduced in 1991.

The $ 100 note was introduced in 1996, 10 February 2011, the newly designed $ 100 note came into circulation designed with the picture of Benjamin Franklin, quill pen, Declaration of independence and inkwell,

$ 50 note in 1997, Ulysses S. Grant’s picture and the Capitol building is featured on the note, it was redesigned on 2004 with added colours, treasury seal, serial number and the series years.

1998 welcomed the introduction a new machine-readable note $ 20 bill which featured the picture of Andrew Jackson and the white house. The high counterfeiting rate of $ 20 bill led to it being reprinted, and came into circulation 9 October 2003.

$ 5 which was first printed in 2000 featured the picture of Abraham Lincoln and his memorial, a redesign was issued 13 March 2008 during a ceremony at President Lincoln’s cottage

$ 10 with the picture of Alexander Hamilton notes were printed in year 2000, a redesigned was done in 2006 added colours, image of the torch on the statue of liberty and series years.

The redesign of dollar notes was necessitated mainly to reduce fake and also differentiate US dollar from other country’s dollar.  In 2016, the Treasury declared a few changes to the $ 5, $ 10 and $ 20 bills, which will be introduced in the next redesign.

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