The birth of the U.S. dollar, in 1792, has a rich history

Dara Elasfar, The Washington Post

Before 1792, most Americans had money troubles. Goods and services could be exchanged for pieces of gold or silver if people had them. Some would use British or Spanish coins. Tobacco leaves, shells and pieces of land were other options. Colonies issued their own type of paper currency, but it wasn’t reliable to use when trading and traveling. But on April 2, 1792, Congress established what is now one of the most widely recognized symbols in the world: the dollar.

“In America, they used whatever they could get their hands on,” said Frank Noll, a historical consultant for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. “But the Coinage Act established the dollar as a unit of currency for the United States.”

The Coinage Act of 1792 created the U.S. Mint, an institution dedicated to producing coins and controlling their movement around the world. The first official American currency was…

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