Continental Currency dollar coin

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Continental Currency dollar coin
United States
Value1 Continental dollar
Mass15–19 g
Diameter≈38 mm
CompositionPewter, brass, or silver
Years of minting1776
1776 Continental Currency dollar coin obverse.jpg
Design"Mind Your Business", Sun, and sundial
DesignerBenjamin Franklin
Design date1776
1776 Continental Currency dollar coin reverse.jpg
Design"We Are One", 13 state chain links
DesignerBenjamin Franklin
Design date1776

The Continental Currency dollar coin (a.k.a. Continental dollar coin, Fugio dollar, or Franklin dollar) was the first coin struck for the United States.[1] The coins were minted in 1776 and were made of pewter, brass, or silver.[2]


In 1776, after the start of the American Revolutionary War, the United States started issuing its own banknotes denominated in Continental Currency. While no Continental Currency legislation authorizing a dollar coin has been discovered, no resolutions from July 22, 1776 through September 26, 1778 mentioned the one-dollar banknote, suggesting that it was to have been replaced by a coin.[3]

Both sides of the coin were designed by Benjamin Franklin;[4] the obverse of the coin features the sun shining on a sundial, the Latin motto "Fugio" (I flee/fly, referring to time flying by), and "Mind your business", a rebus meaning "time flies, so mind your business".[1] The reverse features thirteen chain links representing the Thirteen Colonies.


As there is no evidence that the Continental Congress had authorized the production of dollar coins for the Continental Currency, it is unknown exactly who made the coins or where they were made; the exact mintage numbers are also unknown.

Today, about a hundred or more dollars struck in pewter survive,[2] it is thought that many more pewter coins were minted, but later melted due to wartime demand for the alloy.[3] Only a few silver examples are known to exist; this composition was most likely to have been standard for circulation. However, the idea of a silver dollar was likely scrapped as the United States had no reliable supply of silver during the war.[3]

Several brass trial strikings are also known.[5]


As with other early United States coinage, the dies for the Continental dollar coin were hand-punched, meaning no two dies were the same. One of the known obverse varieties was accidentally made with "CURRENCY" misspelled "CURENCY". Another variety, known as the "Ornamented Date", was also made with a misspelled "CURRENCY", this time "CURRENCEY"; this die was corrected by punching a "Y" over the "E" and an ornament was engraved over the original "Y".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "NMAH | Legendary Coins & Currency: Pewter Continental Dollar, 1776". Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  2. ^ a b "1776 $1 CURENCY, Pewter (Regular Strike) Proposed National Issues - PCGS CoinFacts". PCGS. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  3. ^ a b c "1776 $1 Continental Dollar, CURRENCY, Silver, EG FECIT MS63 | Lot #30423". Heritage Auctions. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  4. ^ "Continental Currency - PCGS CoinFacts". PCGS. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  5. ^ "1776 $1 CURENCY, Brass (Regular Strike) Proposed National Issues - PCGS CoinFacts". PCGS. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  6. ^ "1776 $1 Ornament after Date (Regular Strike) Proposed National Issues - PCGS CoinFacts". PCGS. Retrieved 2019-06-17.