Spanish Coin

Spanish Coins on American Notes

    A WWW Numismatic Exhibit

About this page If George Washington did throw a silver dollar across the Potomac, it surely was a Spanish dollar. 

The Spanish dollar, perhaps better known as the eight reales or piece of eight, circulated widely in the United States long before there were US dollars. It was the model for the US dollar. Spanish coins served as legal tender in the United States, and were only demonetized in 1857. 

Vignettes of coins of the Spanish American colonies, and less commonly those of homeland Spain, were used on many US obsolete notes. As such they may have served as indications of value to a public justifiably reluctant to accept paper money. Spanish coins were familiar to United States residents, and they were esteemed widely for uniform and high quality and stable value. 

Spanish coin vignettes were used on our colonial currency as well as obsolete notes. 

This exhibit examines a selection of post-colonial US obsolete notes that have depictions of Spanish coins. 

Types of  Spanish Coins
Types of  Notes
Fraudulent Notes
Promises to Pay
Coin Obverses
Paper Money and Other Organizations

Notes by State

Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.
Bob Schreiner

Last Updated: October 26, 2003