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Dollar: the history of the American symbol

Almost anywhere in the world, when making payments in a hotel, restaurant, shopping center or supermarket, to your question: "What is the best currency to pay in: euros, pounds sterling, yen or dollars?" - you will most often get an unambiguous answer: “in dollars”. However, dozens of national currencies of different countries bear this name. Therefore, when they are used, it is customary to make clarifications indicating the specific country: Canadian, Australian, Panamanian, New Zealand, Ecuadorian, and so on. And only the American dollar, “by default”, does not require such clarifications. Speaking of "dollar", we, as a rule, mean precisely the American national currency, which is the pride and symbol of the country; pointing to the independence, strength and power of America. Its dollar is one of the most important reserve currencies in the world, and it is considered that around 70-80% of the total world trade turnover is calculated in US currency. But this was not always the case. Let us follow his long journey to greatness.

Фото: Depositphotos

Many of us are famous for the famous Czech resorts: Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně or Jáchymov, with its radon baths. By the way, this is when working with local uranium ores, the Nobel laureate in physics and chemistry, Maria Curie discovered radium and polonium. It was here in 1516 that a large silver deposit was discovered. And the village that emerged in the valley next to it (in Tala) soon began to bear the name Yohimstal, in honor of the patron saint of miners St. Joachim. This name is “in the Valley of Jochim”, the city wore with honor for many centuries, before renaming it already in XX century, in Jáchymov. And in 1518, the local count Schlick received from the Czech King Louis the right to coinage. Produced in ever-increasing volumes, these silver coins gradually began to be in demand throughout Europe and were called jokhimstalami, on behalf of their place of production. On the obverse of the medal was depicted St. Joachim, and on the opposite - the Bohemian coat of arms.

Later, when the mint becomes royal, the figure of the saint will be replaced with the image of King Ferdinand. Changes in the names of coins also belong to this time: parties going to the west began to be called thalers, and to the east (to Russia) - yokhimki or efimki. Soon thaler confident will occupy a leading position in international trade. In Spain it will be called Thalero, in the Southern Netherlands - Daldre, in the Lower German lands - Daalder, in Scandinavia - Daler, and in Italy - Tallero. In England, the thaler was initially called dalller, then dallar, but eventually came to the dollar. The appearance on the market of these high-grade silver coins, along with the gold ones in circulation, was actually the apogee of the second stage in the history of the development of money circulation.


At the first stage, the function of money was traditionally performed by ordinary goods. It is believed that the very origin of money is inextricably linked with the emergence and development of the social division of labor. It is likely that in the VII-VIII centuries BC primitive tribes had surplus products that they were ready to offer for exchange for other goods. Roughly speaking, it could look like this: not all men of the tribe were great hunters, at the very time when rarely anyone could make a good ax or bow. So the idea was born: the gunsmith makes a weapon, and the hunter pays for his use with his loot. This was the simplest form of payment: the goods for the goods, or the exchange of goods by barter. But over time, footwear and tailors working with the skins of dead animals also appeared in the tribe. They did not need bows or axes at all, but only meat. Then the exchange became more difficult: the meat of wild animals obtained for the weapon, the gunsmith now also gave to the shoemaker and the tailor. With the increase in goods on the market, there was a need to identify some priority product that would be recognized by all. Indeed, in order to compare the distances between objects, measures of length were invented, and when determining the mass of goods - measures of weights. So in determining the value of the goods needed some measure of value, or money. In different countries, at different times, livestock, salt, grain, olive oil, cotton fabrics, fur, copper bracelets, horses, and even dried fish performed their functions.

Scientists are well aware of the price list in effect in Ireland in the 100th century: they asked for dried fish for one horseshoe, three for a pair of women's shoes, while a barrel of wine was estimated at 120 fish, and the same barrel of oil was already at XNUMX. In Mexico “money” was cocoa beans, in Canada, Alaska and Siberia - skins of valuable animals, some tribes of South America and the islands of Oceania - seashells or pearls, and in some places on the mainland - tobacco leaves. But with the development of trade relations, the emergence of cities and states, priorities began to change towards goods of universal value. After all, the beans were moldy, the skins were eaten by moths, the shells were too fragile, and the tobacco leaves could not be stored for a long time.

Therefore, metal products are increasingly used as money. They were more durable, took up less space, and more importantly, images and inscriptions could be applied to them. Most often, tin and copper were used for these purposes, together with their alloys, as well as iron or lead. Over time, three major "coin metals" have been identified: gold, silver and copper. Nevertheless, when making purchases, the bars still had to be not only weighed, but also checked for their quality. After all, there has always been a doubt: is this product really silver, or is there a lot of other impurities in it? It is believed that the solution to this problem was found in Lydia, a small state in the west of Asia Minor. There, in the XNUMXth century BC, from the local electrum breed (an alloy of silver and gold), ingots of a certain weight and purity began to be cast, putting a special stamp on them.

The idea was so good that soon all the important shopping centers of the world began to implement a similar practice. After all, now it was no longer necessary to check either the weight or the quality of the product: all this was guaranteed by the so-called. "State seal". In different places, these bars came in different shapes and weights. Later, one of them - the largest and heaviest, was called "talent". Nowadays they say this about a person gifted with special abilities in any business. And in ancient times this meant the largest measure of weight - the mass of a live bull. In ancient Greece, for example, talent weighed at different times from 26 to 60 kilograms. Of course, you can't go to the market with such an ingot, and that's why talent was paid only for major transactions between city-states.

But even the use of much smaller bars made the small trade difficult. And then the Lydians established the issue of already small coins. Even the date of their first birth is known: 685 year BC. er Although, residents of China, India, Mesopotamia and Egypt also claimed the place of the discoverers, but scientists traditionally give the palm to the Lydians. Moreover, the appearance on the market of true gold coins (98% gold) occurred in the VI. BC. under the famous Lydian king Creuse, who began minting them (weighing 11) from the gold of the alluvial deposits of the Paktol river. That is why they began to be called “crezeids”. It is believed that it was under Krozet that trade began to flourish in Lydia, and retail markets emerged, where every trader specialized in the sale of a particular commodity. Over time, Creuse became so wealthy that even a popular saying came to our day: "As rich as Creuse."

King Croesus. Photo: Wikipedia, the public domain

This innovation is actually complete. first stage in the history of the development of monetary circulation, in which the functions of money were performed by random goods, and was the beginning second stage - in which the role of the universal equivalent was assigned to gold and silver. Then come third stagein which there will be a transition to paper or credit money; and then the last one fourth - with the gradual displacement of cash from circulation, as a result of which electronic types of payments will appear. But the world will go to this for millennia, and for now, the market is still dominated by coins and paper money.

How did this word “coin” come about? There are several versions about this. The most common of them refers to the times of Ancient Rome, when one of its main patrons was the wife of Jupiter - Juno Regina (ruler), who was also called Juno of the Capitoline, since her temple was located on the Capitol Hill. But most often she bore the name Juno Moneta - a fortuneteller, an adviser. In the second half of the XNUMXrd century BC. next to the already mentioned temple was built the first workshop in Rome for minting money, which soon turned into a large mint. The workshop was named Officina Monetae - Workshop of the Coin, or Workshop of the Counselor. Therefore, all the products manufactured here were called coins. This term has become so entrenched in monetary circulation that since then all metallic money has been called coins. And toss them up to the sky, with the hope in a difficult situation to get a hint from Juno Coin - the Counselor.

Here one should look for the origins of the international recognition of the term - money. Produced in different countries of the world, coins differed in weight, type of metal, color and shape. They could be square (sometimes with rounded edges), polygonal (with the number of faces from 6 to 13), oval, wavy, or in the form of a rosette. In our time, it has become possible to manufacture even composite coins, with a rim from a different material. Most often, round coins are still used in everyday life, due to their greatest manufacturability of manufacture, and ease of handling. Let's say it does not tear pockets with its corners, and is easily applicable in various machines.

Although many researchers believe that this form, in the first place, is a tribute to tradition. Indeed, in ancient times, coins were cut from a long metal rod. In addition, various "dealers" in coins with an uneven, square or diamond shape tried to cut off the edges, and from the resulting pieces melt new money. Not to mention the fact that in soft metals the sharp edges were simply erased. The great scientist Isaac Newton, who was also an employee of the British Royal Mint, also put his hand to the fight against fraudsters. It was he who proposed to put a notch on the welt. From that time on, on the edges of almost all the coins in the world, one can see a distinctive carved pattern: ribbed, mesh, lacing, patterned, or printed text message. Here this welt or edge of the coin is called edge... At the same time as his front side - obverse. As a rule, a coat of arms, a portrait of a monarch, the name of a country, or a coin issuing bank are not applied to it. And on the back of the coin, called reverseusually indicate the denomination of the coin.

But if all the problems associated with the production and use of coins were actually solved, what made humanity start using paper money? The fact of the matter is that the main problems remain. Because it is not petty trade that rules the world. And when carrying out a large purchase, the number of coins with holes in the middle, which could be strung on a cord during a campaign on the market, was not enough and hung on your neck. No breast is enough.

Over time, it was already difficult to get along even with a cart with sacks of coins. Indeed, with a lack of copper coins, it was necessary to use iron coins, which were many times heavier. And then several wealthy families of China in the Sichuan region, formed a kind of bank, in whose warehouses they began to store the coins transferred to them for safekeeping. In return, they issued special receipts indicating the amounts transferred to them and guaranteed signatures and seals. And although a similar idea could have occurred to many (they later used receipts in Europe on leather, silk, metal, etc.), the main role was played by the presence in China of factories for the production of cotton paper, on which these receipts were written. Hence the later name for paper money in Europe - banknotes (bank - bank and note - receipt).

Innovation has taken root and soon began to spread to other regions of China. And in the 1024 year (the period of the Sung Empire), the state began to deal with the issuance of paper notes, which were uniform for the whole country, which contributed to its development and prosperity. One of the witnesses of this process was the Venetian merchant and traveler Marco Polo, who for a long time lived at the court of the Mongol Khan Kubilai, who then owned China. Returning home in 1295 year, he in his book told the Europeans not only about the intricacies of the circulation of paper money, but also their manufacture. This was the starting point for their subsequent use in many European countries.

Money in the Americas

They appeared thanks to the first settlers. From Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, etc., they brought with them the national currency, as a rule, gold or silver coins. Psychologically, this is easily explained. After all, regardless of the country of manufacture or habitat, the number of grams of silver or gold indicated on them has always been a confirmation of their value and solvency. Even numerous waves of “Russian” emigration succeeded in bringing with them similar royal coins or Soviet silver fifty dollars. And in the 1652 year, for the first time in America, in the Massachusetts colony, they began minting several types of silver coins (peculiar variations of the shilling), despite English law, according to which the right to issue money belonged only to the monarch. The original ploy allowed it to bypass the colonists: all coins issued in Massachusetts for 30 years were dated to 1652 the year when there was no monarch in England. And already in the 1690 year there appeared the first so-called. paper money tied to gold equivalents. In reality, this was a cross between banknotes and short-term liabilities of the government, with the aim of urgently financing a military expedition to Canada. However, they were initially favorably received, enjoyed success, and this innovation quickly spread to other colonies and regions. However, the need to conduct and continue military operations, solve internal problems and finance all sorts of local projects ultimately led to a decline in solvency and trust in these banknotes and by the year 1750 was actually returned to the usual metal treatment. But it did not last long. Already in the 1775 year, in the period of the beginning of the struggle for independence, the Continental Congress now tried to repeat the paper experiment of Massachusetts, but on a larger scale, without at the same time having no support for it in gold or silver. And although real steps were taken to establish the First Bank and the Mint (in 1792, the first dollars began to be issued here), but they did not bring the desired effect. Government papers began to depreciate quickly as people realized that neither the states nor Congress could afford to buy them back. And soon the refusal to accept paper money begins to take such a general character, that all trade rolls into a primitive barter.

The "continental dollar" went down in history with a proverb: "This paper is not worth the money that was spent on printing it." This was the most powerful and precipitous inflation in the history of the United States. This situation had to be sorted out already on the ground, by the efforts of local administrations and their banks. These were tough times. And where were they easy after the revolutions? But the years passed, and the now united country began to gradually expand, rebuild and develop. By the first half of the 17th century, the main economic regions were already clearly identified in the United States: the industrial North and the agricultural South. The North needed raw materials from the South, especially cotton, and the South needed the machines of the North. This allowed them to coexist peacefully for a long time. But gradually serious economic and political contradictions arose between them, exacerbated by an ambiguous attitude towards slavery. This led to the split of the country and the beginning of a civil war, which required huge funds on both sides. On July 1861, 60, the US Congress passed an act obliging the Treasury to issue new banknotes for a huge amount at that time - $ 5 million. Considering that the bills were defined in denominations of 10, 20 and 1866 dollars, it is difficult even to imagine how great this money supply was. Banks of the Southerners, or "Confederates", performed a similar operation, but in smaller volumes. Their money suffered the same fate as the "continental dollar," while Civil War Treasury notes (greenbacks) were recognized as legal tender after the end of the war. Since XNUMX National Bank notes were provided with US government securities and became the main type of paper money.

By that time, 75% of bank deposits were in the hands of national banks, and as the state notes went out of circulation, the national currency stabilized. And yet, after the financial panic of 1893 and 1907 in 1913, a law was passed to establish the Federal Reserve System in the role of the country's central bank and regulating cash and credit flows in the interests of economic stability. The Federal Reserve was authorized to issue Federal Reserve notes, which currently represent the only US currency and make up 99% of the total money supply in circulation. The Fed includes 12 federal reserve banks located in major cities, which have a numerical and letter designation in alphabetical order:

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Therefore, if you, for example, see the designation 3C on a bill, it means that it is printed in Philadelphia.

Coins and paper money USA

Over the centuries, dollars (both coins and bills) have repeatedly changed their size, design, materials and color range from 1652. Only their name, born in the late Middle Ages in distant Bohemia, remained unchanged. In this country you do not need to be a numismatist, collecting currency from around the world. Here are collections of US dollars, produced at different times and by different states, can make thousands of copies.

  • Coins. They can be gold, silver, platinum, copper or nickel. They may differ by year of release, be anniversary, memorable, investment, trial, be the whole series. For example: “National Parks”, “50 States”, “Presidents of the USA”, or “First Ladies”.
  • Can be produced in small quantities for collectors (like a coin in 50 cents), or products whose circulation is completed (with face values ​​2, 3, 20 cents, or 2.5, 3, 5, or 10 dollars).
  • Now minted at the US Mint and are in circulation coins in 1, 5, 10, 25 cents and 1 dollar.

1 cent (1 ¢) - one cent - also called a penny

  • Types: The first one-cent coins (1793 — 1807)
  • With the image of Liberty in a classic style (1808-1814)
  • With the image of Freedom in the diadem (1816-1857)
  • With a flying eagle (1856-1858)
  • With the image of an Indian (1859-1909)
  • Wheat cent (1909-1958)
  • Depicting the Lincoln Memorial (1959 - 2008) Another round date (200 years from the date of birth) was marked by minting 4 coins, which symbolized periods of life Abraham Lincoln.

5 cent (5 ¢) - - five cents - Half-time, it is also called nickel /

  • Types: First 5 cent coins (1792 — 1805)
  • With a bust of Liberty in a cap (1829-1837)
  • With Freedom seated (1837-1873)
  • With shield (1866-1883)
  • Featuring Liberty V (1883-1912)
  • With the image of an Indian (1913-1938)
  • With a picture of Jefferson (1938 )

In honor of the 200 anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 2004 — 2005, minted 4 types of coins, on the reverse of which episodes of this expedition were depicted.

10 cents (10 ¢) - one dime - also called dime / dime

  • Types: “Draped Bust” - with a covered bust of Freedom (1796 — 1807)
  • "Capped Bust" -Bust Freedom Head Covered (1809 — 1837)
  • With Freedom seated (1837-1891)
  • Barbera (1892-1916)
  • Freedom with wings on the head "Mercury" (1916 — 1945)
  • With the image of Roosevelt (1946 )

25 cent (25 ¢) - one quarter (also called a quarter)

  • Types: First 25 cent coins (1796, 1804 — 1807)
  • With a bust of Liberty in a cap (1815-1838)
  • With Freedom seated (1838-1891)
  • Barbera (1892-1916)
  • With standing Freedom (1916-1930)
  • With the image of Washington (1932 )
  • Series - Bicentennial of US Independence (1976)
  • Fifty States
  • With the image of national parks

1 dollar ($ 1) - one dollar

  • Types: The first one-dollar coins (1794 — 1804)
  • Gobrecht (1836, 1838, 1839)
  • With Freedom seated (1840-1873)
  • Gold (1849-1889)
  • Morganovsky (1878 — 1904, 1921)
  • Peaceful (1921 — 1935, 1964)
  • Eisenhower (1971-1978)
  • Susan Anthony (1979 — 1981, 1999)
  • Sakagavei (2000 )
  • Depicting US Presidents (2007-2016)
  • Depicting First Ladies (2007 — 2016)


Over the long history of paper money circulation, various types of paper were issued in the country: United States Banknotes (United States Note), Silver Certificates, Gold Certificates (Gold Certificate), Federal Reserve Bank Note, Federal Reserve Banknotes (Federal Reserve Note), National Bank Note (National Bank Note). All banknotes issued from 1861 are legal tender.

The typical design of the banknotes was approved in 1928: on the obverse side there is a prominent US statesman, on the reverse side (reverse) - scenes from history and monumental symbols of the country. According to the law, a portrait of a living person cannot be placed on money, since his personality and civic contribution can still be overestimated. And since 1957, the national motto “In God We Trust” has become mandatory on the reverse.

For the manufacture of banknotes used a special wood-free paper, consisting on 25% of flax and 75% of cotton, reinforced with synthetic fibers. All modern dollar bills have the same size-independent 155.956 size on 66.294 mm (6.14 on 2.61 inches). Now in free circulation are present and issued banknotes of the following denominations: 1, 2 (irregular release, last time was released in 2003 year); 5,10,20,50 and 100 dollars. Banknotes in 500 $, 1000 $, 5000 $, 10 000 $ were issued before 1945, and from 1969, they were officially withdrawn from circulation. Of all issued banknotes with 10000 $ face value, the number of which is monitored by the Fed (the last issue in 1944 year), only 130 pieces are not withdrawn from circulation. The highest denomination banknote (100000 $) was issued in the 1934 year. All these banknotes of large denominations were never available to the general public and were used only for payments between government financial institutions. Today, the largest banknote has a denomination of 100 $.

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As you can see, the reverse of the 1 dollar bill has a slightly different design. On It shows on either side of the two sides of the Great seal of the USA The center is occupied by the word ONE, over which in smaller letters is written “IN GOD WE TRUST” (We hope in God). The bald eagle, which is the national symbol of the United States, is depicted on the front side of the print and on the right side of 1 $. In his beak, he holds a white ribbon with an inscription in Latin “E PLURIBUS UNUM” (Unity in diversity). This phrase consists of 13 letters, and on the eagle's chest is a shield with stripes, whose number is also equal to 13. In the right paw, the birds are squeezed with 13 arrows, and in the left - an olive branch with 13 leaves and 13 berries, symbolizing that the United States "wants peace, but is always ready for war." The head of an eagle is turned toward the branch, which means a greater preference for peace than war. Over the eagle head are placed 13 stars framed by a cloud. The stars are located in the 1-4-3-4-1 lines, forming the six-pointed star of David. On the eagle's chest is a shield with 13 red and white stripes.

On the reverse side of the seal and on the left side of 1 $ there is an unfinished pyramid, the top of which is crowned with an eye in a triangle. It consists of thirteen levels, traditionally symbolizing the 13 states that were originally part of the United States: On the first level is the date Roman numerals - MDCCLXXVI (1776). The eye at the top of the pyramid means "the all-seeing eye." The inscription "Annuit Cœptis" translates as "He supports or blesses us!". That is, the supreme forces always watch the United States and do everything to ensure that they exist safely. In the lower arc, a pyramid is surrounded by a ribbon with the slogan “Novus Ordo Seclorum” or “New World Order” written in Latin.

This overcomplication of symbolic images and the ambiguity in their interpretation ultimately led to the search for "Masonic" traces and even to the assumption that the author of the design of this banknote was the Russian mystic philosopher Nicholas Roerich. All this does not have any serious argumentation (Roerich was not in America at all when the banknote was issued), and the reference to the search for the word "freemason" in the arbitrary transfer of the Star of David to the opposite side of the press does not stand up to criticism at all. As well as the fact that the number 13 corresponds to the original number of states, and not a special Masonic sign, and that the "all-seeing eye" is a traditional heraldic symbol, and the meaningfulness of Latin phrases is simply a borrowing from Virgil's "Aeneid". But something still made Franklin Roosevelt agree to the transfer of the image of the Great Seal of the United States, approved by Congress back in 1782, to the 1935 bill. Even if we assume that he, like George Washington, could belong to, or sympathize with the Freemasons, then the tasks facing the lodge after 150 years since then could no longer remain unchanged. Rather, one can agree with a more pragmatic explanation: that the author of the New Deal, Roosevelt, could have been attracted simply by a direct text posted on the reverse between print fragments vertically:

Соединенные Штаты Америки

they trust in God

in one

One Dollar

And it is even wonderful that reviewing the bill makes us think, with the hope that all these inconsistencies and riddles will still find their solution and worthy, conscientious researchers. It would not even be interesting if the dollar - the main symbol of the country, would exist without any of its difficult to solve cherished secrets?

Dollar: name, symbolism and slang


The founding fathers of the United States, for the most part, had European roots, and were well aware of what was happening on the mainland. Since the number of problems that had to be resolved when organizing a new state was so huge that they tried (wherever possible) to use the experience already accumulated by previous generations. It was necessary to create a flag of the country, and they take the banner of the British East India Company as a basis, and modify it. It is necessary to come up with a name for the newly created state, and they refer to the name of one of the European republics - the United Provinces of the Netherlands, which is governed by a parliament called the States General. And they call their country the United States of America. The same thing happened with the dollar. The silver coin that spread throughout Europe was the thaler, in England it was called the dalller, then the dallar, but the settlers brought it under the name dollar. The Dutch took from their homeland their silver coins depicting a lion, which they affectionately called Levendaller here. And the Spanish silver pesos that flooded the country began to be called the Spanish dollar. And this name became so firmly in use that Thomas Jefferson, one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence, when he spoke at the Continental Congress about the introduction of a national currency in the country, never doubted its name for a minute: “The dollar is the most famous and familiar unit or coin - he told his colleagues. "It has already been adopted everywhere - from north to south, it has already become our currency, so we have a happy opportunity to use the currency already in circulation."

So, we figured out how the official name of the country's currency - the dollar - was adopted. But do not write the word "dollar" after the number every time. Some kind of sign was needed, or a symbol for speeding up the writing process.


How was the $ sign born? There are several versions here.

1. The most popular among them is that he was born from the abbreviation "US" - United States, by superimposing a capital letter "U" on a capital letter "S". However, no documentary evidence of this version has yet been found.

2. Associated with the Spanish peso, which in the US was called the Spanish dollar. There are so many options here that one gets the impression that the origins of the birth of this sign should still be sought in Spain.

a) The origin of the dollar sign from the Spanish abbreviation "P's", which used to denote the peso "P" with the addition of the letter "S" as an indication of the plural. As the letter "P" eventually split into II, and then moved to the second position is not entirely clear.

b) According to the next version, the letter “S” is the first letter of the word “Spain” (Spain). Such a letter was put on gold bullions exported from the Spanish colonies of the New World. When sending them to Spain, they were allegedly struck a vertical line, and after their arrival they added another one to control the origin of gold.

в) This version is based on the fact that Spanish reals were widely used in North America. They weighed one-eighth of British pounds sterling, and in the letter they are denoted as “1 / 8”. Therefore they were called "piece of eight". The census takers in the offices allegedly sought to shorten the text by removing 1 and moving /. The truth still needed to turn 8 into S, but that's another question.

d) The "royal" version is also widely known, asserting that the dollar sign is nothing more than a stylized coat of arms of the Spanish royal family, since in 1492 King Ferdinand II of Aragon chose the Pillars of Hercules as a symbol of the country - the rocks framing the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. These two pillars on the coat of arms are wrapped in a ribbon with the motto "Non plus ultra" - "no further." (Probably, the continuation was meant - "... the limits of the world"). This coat of arms was allegedly borrowed by the Americans who trade with them.

Фото: Depositphotos

3. Referring us to the ancient Roman monetary unit - sestration, a silver coin of two and a half pounds of copper, which was denoted by the letters "LLS" or "IIS", sometimes "HS". In the abbreviated spelling, two letters “L” with a truncated lower cross line were superimposed on the letter “S” and a dollar sign was obtained. That is how the monetary unit of sesterces in ancient Rome was designated on the letter. The ancient Roman theme was very fashionable in America: so the location of the US Congress is called the Capitol (as the main hill in Rome), and the upper house of Congress - Senate. Because the Roman trace here is quite possible.

4. There is also a "Masonic version", close to fans of conspiracy theories and secret societies, which says that the "$" symbol is the designation of the Temple of King Solomon (the initial letter from "Solomon" + two columns at the entrance to the temple). 5.

5. English The most likely. In the designation of the dollar took the sign of the shilling "S", which is simply "reinforced" with a vertical bar.

Of course, there is still a mass of various versions of the appearance of the dollar sign in everyday life. But since the faithful is unknown to anyone, you can choose any that you like. As for the international writing order in front of the dollar sum of the dollar sign - this is a tradition that the Americans inherited from the British - the latter always put the pound sign just before the number. True, this is not applied so strictly now.


There is no doubt that such a well-known word as “dollar” should have acquired some slang or jargon expressions. This is what happened. True, the birth of each of them has historical roots. As you already know, in connection with the beginning of the civil war, the government needed huge sums of money. In 1861, Congress passed an act obligating the treasury to immediately issue new banknotes in the amount of 60 million dollars in denominations of 5, 10 and 20 dollars. This was a very difficult task for the New York printing office of American Bank Note Co. First of all, they checked stocks of paper and paint in warehouses. It turned out that the most available were black and green.

Thus, millions of banknotes with a green back were issued. They were popularly nicknamed Greenbacks (Greenbacks - or green backs), which stuck at the official level, giving birth to two slang expressions "greenery" и "Bucks". Moreover, the treasury continued to issue all banknotes with a green “turnover”. It has become a kind of brand name. It was only in 2004 that the tradition was broken: 10, 20 and 50 banknotes were issued with other colors.

However, the use of slang “bucks” in everyday life has a few more explanations.

  1. The first is associated with the name of the buckskin hides, which were the main equivalent of goods valuation in commercial transactions between colonists and indians. There is a document 1748., in which it is said that the Indians purchased a barrel of whiskey from the settlers for five bucks, i.e. for 5 skins. Later, when the dollars had already appeared, the word “bucks” still figured for a long time in many buying and selling processes, until it became synonymous with the word “dollar”.
  2. The second version is related to the 10 dollar bill of the 1861 issue of the year, where the Roman numeral X was depicted. The Americans immediately noticed the similarity of this sign with the carpenter's goats, which could be seen at any sawmill. Therefore, the denominations of this denomination were called “goats” - “sawbuck”, which allegedly could later be transformed into “bucks”.

So in the United States and many countries around the world both the main name of the dollar and its slang are widely used at the same time. It is always important your attitude and emotions that you want to convey at the mention of the term: condescension, prejudice, contempt, tolerance, recognition, etc.

Let's say you hear the conversation in the store: “Yes, buy you, finally, this chain, if you like it so much. What do you always regret this "greens"?

Or a guest from Russia rant before leaving: “Well, that there is America. Country as a country. Even the bucks are the same here. ”

Фото: Depositphotos

Against this background, when we still pronounce the word "dollar", we unwittingly put our respect and pride in this amazing currency in it. It originated in ancient times, in a distant country, brought here and dissolved on this earth, penetrated into all its corners, and managed to become here near and dear. Then, recognized by Congress and gradually turned out to be so important and significant, that confidently stepping over the ocean, deserved the full recognition of the whole world.

And if somewhere behind a shop counter, at an airport counter, in a hotel lobby, at a restaurant table, you want to pay in cash, then you notice in the sparkle of your eyes, respectful bow, fuss of gestures, readiness to help - respect and respect. Not so much to yourself as to him - the almighty dollar - a national treasure and a symbol of the country. We are being told more and more often that a little more, a little more, and the euro or the yen will become on par with it. But is it possible to imagine that somewhere in Mexico or Paraguay, someone will decide to pay with the euro, or in distant Africa or Croatia with Romania - in yen. And the dollar is everywhere. Voices are heard even louder that it will soon turn into a real symbol, as it will be replaced by electronic means of payment. But how can we refuse it?

After all, when you open a wallet and take out dollars to make some kind of operation with them, you are not left with the confidence that you are doing quite right. After all, his “all-seeing eye” observes and blesses you from the top of the pyramid. "In God We Trust." And every dollar bill reminds us of his presence in our affairs.

This article by our author, journalist Leonid Rajewski is part of the “History of American Symbols” series.

Read also on ForumDaily:

Flag: the history of the American symbol

Statue of Liberty: the history of the American symbol

Bourbon: the history of the American symbol

Apple Pie: The History of the American Symbol

Hot Dog: The History of the American Symbol

Miscellaneous история dollar loudspeakers
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