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Continental Dollar

The Continental Dollar was a series of notes or currency created by the Continental Congress to support the Revolution. They were also called Continentals, and rapidly became worthless.

On the June 22, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved to issue a sum not exceeding two million dollars, on bills of credit, "for the defence of America," prescribed the form of the bills, and appointed a committee of five to attend to the printing of them. The plates were crudely engraved by Paul Revere, of Boston, and printed on such thick paper, that the British called the currency "the paste-board money of the rebels." Each denomination had a separate and significant device and motto, which bore the stamp of the mind of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who was one of the committee. Twenty-eight gentlemen were appointed to sign them. New issues were made at various times until the close of 1779, when the aggregate amount was $242,000,000. Then the bills had so much depreciated that one hundred dollars in specie would buy twenty-six hundred in paper currency. In January, 1781, Captain Allan McLane paid $600 for a pair of boots, and $10 for a skein of thread.

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