Large denominations of United States currency
Large denominations of United States currency greater than $100 were circulated by the United States Treasury until 1969. Since U. S. dollar banknotes have only been issued in seven denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. Large-denomination currency had been used in the United States since the late 18th century; the first $500 note was issued by the Province of North Carolina, authorized by legislation dated May 10, 1780. Virginia followed suit and authorized the printing of $500 and $1,000 notes on October 16, 1780 and $2,000 notes on May 7, 1781. High-denomination treasury notes were issued, for example during the War of 1812. During the American Civil War Confederate currency included $500 and $1,000 notes. During the federal banknote issuing period, the earliest high-denomination notes included three-year Interest-bearing notes of $500, $1,000, $5,000, authorized by Congress on July 17, 1861. In total, 11 different types of U. S. currency were issued in high-denomination notes across nearly 20 different series dates.
The obverse of United States banknotes depict either historical figures, allegorical figures symbolizing significant concepts, or a combination of both. The reverse designs range from abstract scroll-work with ornate denomination identifiers to reproductions of historical art works. Series 1934 gold certificates were issued after the gold standard was repealed and gold was compulsorily confiscated by order of President Franklin Roosevelt on March 9, 1933, thus the series 1934 notes were used only for intragovernmental transactions and were not issued to the public. This series was discontinued in 1940; the series 1928 gold certificate reverse was printed in green. See history of the United States dollar. Although they are still legal tender in the United States, high-denomination bills were last printed on December 27, 1945, discontinued on July 14, 1969, by the Federal Reserve System, due to'lack of use'; the $5,000 and $10,000 disappeared well before then. The Federal Reserve began taking high-denomination currency out of circulation in 1969.
As of May 30, 2009, only 336 $10,000 bills were known to exist. Due to their rarity, collectors pay more than the face value of the bills to acquire them; some are in museums in other parts of the world. For the most part, these bills were used by banks and the federal government for large financial transactions; this was true for gold certificates from 1865 to 1934. However, for the most part, the introduction of an electronic money system has made large-scale cash transactions obsolete; when combined with concerns about counterfeiting and the use of cash in unlawful activities such as the illegal drug trade and money laundering, it is unlikely that the U. S. government will reissue large-denomination currency in the near future, despite the amount of inflation that has occurred since 1969. According to the U. S. Department of Treasury website, "The present denominations of our currency in production are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100; the purpose of the United States currency system is to serve the needs of the public and these denominations meet that goal.
Neither the Department of the Treasury nor the Federal Reserve System has any plans to change the denominations in use today." The National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution contains the Bureau of Engraving and Printing certified proofs and the Treasury Department collection of United States currency. Using a combination of proofs and issued notes, a nearly complete type set of high-denomination currency was compiled. Notably missing are several types of Compound and Interest Bearing Notes. Printed during the early to mid-1860s on thin paper, these high-denomination notes are non-existent, their issuance predates the BEP's responsibility for U. S. currency, so it is fortunate. Currency of the United States Gold certificate Fake denominations United States two thousand-dollar bill Silver certificate Silver standard Treasury Note Fricke, Pierre. Collecting Confederate Paper Money. Pierre Fricke. ISBN 978-0-9844534-9-8. Friedberg, Arthur L.. Paper Money of the United States: A Complete Illustrated Guide With Valuations.
Coin & Currency Institute. ISBN 978-0-87184-520-7. Retrieved 14 February 2014. Hessler, Gene; the Engraver's Line – An Encyclopedia of Paper Money & Postage Stamp Art. BNR Press. ISBN 0-931960-36-3. Hessler, Gene. U. S. Essay and Specimen Notes. BNR Press. ISBN 0-931960-62-2. Huntoon, Peter W.. United States Large Size National Bank Notes. Society of Paper Money Collectors, Inc. ISBN 0-9648774-1-4. Newman, Eric P.. The Early Paper Money of America. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-89689-326-X. Schwartz, John. Standard Guide to Small-Size U. S. Paper Money – 1928 to Date. Krause Publications. ISBN 978-1-4402-1703-6. Retrieved 14 February 2014. Media related to Money of the United States by face value at Wikimedia Commons Large Denominations from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing U. S. Department of the Treasury
United States ten-dollar bill
The United States ten-dollar bill is a denomination of U. S. currency. The obverse of the bill features the portrait of Alexander Hamilton, who served as the first U. S. Secretary of the Treasury; the reverse features the U. S. Treasury Building. All $10 bills issued today are Federal Reserve Notes; as of December 2013, the average life of a $10 bill is 4.5 years, or about 54 months, before it is replaced due to wear. Ten-dollar bills are delivered by Federal Reserve Banks in yellow straps; the source of the portrait on the $10 bill is John Trumbull's 1805 painting of Hamilton that belongs to the portrait collection of New York City Hall. The $10 bill is unique in that it is the only denomination in circulation in which the portrait faces to the left, it features one of two non-presidents on issued U. S. bills, the other being Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill. Hamilton is the only person not born in the continental United States or British America depicted on U. S. paper currency. In 2015, the Treasury Secretary announced that the obverse portrait of Hamilton would be replaced by the portrait of an as-yet-undecided woman, starting in 2020.
However, this decision was reversed in 2016 due to the surging popularity of Hamilton, a hit Broadway musical based on Hamilton's life. 1861: The first $10 bill was issued as a Demand Note with a small portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the left side of the obverse and an allegorical figure representing art on the right. 1862: The first $10 United States Note was issued with a face design similar to the 1861 Demand Note. The Roman numeral "X" may represent the origin of the slang term "sawbuck" to mean a $10 bill. 1863: Interest Bearing Notes, featuring a portrait of Salmon P. Chase and vignette of liberty, were issued that could be redeemed one year after the date printed on the bill for $10 plus 5% interest; the notes could be spent for $10. 1864: Compound Interest Treasury Notes, with a face design similar to the 1863 Interest Bearing Note, were issued that grew in face value 6% compounded semi-annually. It is unknown if the note could be spent for $10 plus interest. 1869: A new $10 United States Note was issued with a portrait of Daniel Webster on the left and an allegorical representation of Pocahontas being presented to the Royal Court of England on the right side of the obverse.
This note is nicknamed a "jackass note" because the eagle on the front looks like a donkey when the note is turned upside down. 1870: National Gold Bank Notes, featuring a vignette of Benjamin Franklin flying a kite on the left and liberty and an eagle on the right, were issued for payment in gold coin by participating national banks. The back of the bill featured a vignette of U. S. gold coins. 1875: The 1869 United States Note was revised. The blue and green tinting, present on the obverse was removed and the design on the reverse was changed. 1878: The first $10 silver certificate was issued with a portrait of Robert Morris on the left side of the obverse. The reverse, unlike any other federally issued note, was printed in black ink and featured the word SILVER in large block letters. 1879: Refunding Certificates were issued that paid 4% interest annually. 1886: A new $10 silver certificate with a portrait of Thomas A. Hendricks was issued. 1890: Ten-dollar Treasury or "Coin Notes" were issued and given for government purchases of silver bullion from the silver mining industry.
The note featured a portrait of General Philip Sheridan. The reverse featured an ornate design that took up the entire note. 1891: The reverse of the 1890 Treasury Note was redesigned because the treasury felt that it was too "busy" which would make it too easy to counterfeit. 1901: The famous United States Note featuring portraits of Meriwether Lewis on the left, William Clark on the right, an American bison, sometimes erroneously noted as being Black Diamond, the Bison, depicted on the reverse of the Indian Head Nickel. This United States Note was the only one to mention the legal provision that authorized its issuance; the reverse featured an allegorical figure representing Columbia between two Roman-styled pillars. 1907: Congress ended the interest paid on Refunding Certificates, forever making their face value $21.30. 1907: The first $10 gold certificate with a portrait of Michael Hillegas on the front and orange-colored back was issued. 1914: The first $10 Federal Reserve Note was issued with a portrait of Andrew Jackson on the obverse and vignettes of farming and industry on the reverse.
The note had a red treasury seal and serial numbers. 1915: Federal Reserve Bank Notes were issued by 4 individual Federal Reserve banks. The obverse was similar to the 1914 Federal Reserve notes except for large wording in the middle of the bill and a portrait with no border on the left side of the bill; each note was an obligation of the issuing bank and could only be redeemed at the corresponding bank. 1918: The 1915 Federal Reserve Bank Note was re-issued under series of 1918 by 4 Federal Reserve banks. 1923: The $10 United States Note was redesigned with a portrait of Andrew Jackson. Some of the design aspects of this note, such as the bottom border and numeral 10 overprinted with the word TEN, were transferred over to the series of 1928 $10 bill. 1929: Under the Series of 1928, all U. S. currency
United States dollar
The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent units, but is divided into 1000 mills for accounting; the circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars. Since the suspension in 1971 of convertibility of paper U. S. currency into any precious metal, the U. S. dollar is, de facto, fiat money. As it is the most used in international transactions, the U. S. dollar is the world's primary reserve currency. Several countries use it as their official currency, in many others it is the de facto currency. Besides the United States, it is used as the sole currency in two British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean: the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. A few countries use the Federal Reserve Notes for paper money, while still minting their own coins, or accept U. S. dollar coins. As of June 27, 2018, there are $1.67 trillion in circulation, of which $1.62 trillion is in Federal Reserve notes.
Article I, Section 8 of the U. S. Constitution provides that the Congress has the power "To coin money". Laws implementing this power are codified at 31 U. S. C. § 5112. Section 5112 prescribes the forms; these coins are both designated in Section 5112 as "legal tender" in payment of debts. The Sacagawea dollar is one example of the copper alloy dollar; the pure silver dollar is known as the American Silver Eagle. Section 5112 provides for the minting and issuance of other coins, which have values ranging from one cent to 100 dollars; these other coins are more described in Coins of the United States dollar. The Constitution provides that "a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time"; that provision of the Constitution is made specific by Section 331 of Title 31 of the United States Code. The sums of money reported in the "Statements" are being expressed in U. S. dollars. The U. S. dollar may therefore be described as the unit of account of the United States.
The word "dollar" is one of the words in the first paragraph of Section 9 of Article I of the Constitution. There, "dollars" is a reference to the Spanish milled dollar, a coin that had a monetary value of 8 Spanish units of currency, or reales. In 1792 the U. S. Congress passed a Coinage Act. Section 9 of that act authorized the production of various coins, including "DOLLARS OR UNITS—each to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver". Section 20 of the act provided, "That the money of account of the United States shall be expressed in dollars, or units... and that all accounts in the public offices and all proceedings in the courts of the United States shall be kept and had in conformity to this regulation". In other words, this act designated the United States dollar as the unit of currency of the United States. Unlike the Spanish milled dollar, the U.
S. dollar is based upon a decimal system of values. In addition to the dollar the coinage act established monetary units of mill or one-thousandth of a dollar, cent or one-hundredth of a dollar, dime or one-tenth of a dollar, eagle or ten dollars, with prescribed weights and composition of gold, silver, or copper for each, it was proposed in the mid-1800s that one hundred dollars be known as a union, but no union coins were struck and only patterns for the $50 half union exist. However, only cents are in everyday use as divisions of the dollar. XX9 per gallon, e.g. $3.599, more written as $3.599⁄10. When issued in circulating form, denominations equal to or less than a dollar are emitted as U. S. coins while denominations equal to or greater than a dollar are emitted as Federal Reserve notes. Both one-dollar coins and notes are produced today, although the note form is more common. In the past, "paper money" was issued in denominations less than a dollar and gold coins were issued for circulation up to the value of $20.
The term eagle was used in the Coinage Act of 1792 for the denomination of ten dollars, subsequently was used in naming gold coins. Paper currency less than one dollar in denomination, known as "fractional currency", was sometimes pejoratively referred to as "shinplasters". In 1854, James Guthrie Secretary of the Treasury, proposed creating $100, $50 and $25 gold coins, which were referred to as a "Union", "Half Union", "Quarter Union", thus implying a denomination of 1 Union = $100. Today, USD notes are made from cotton fiber paper, unlike most common paper, made of wood fiber. U. S. coins are produced by the United States Mint. U. S. dollar banknotes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and, since 1914, have been issued by t
United States two-dollar bill
The United States two-dollar bill is a current denomination of U. S. currency. The portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, is featured on the obverse of the note; the reverse features an engraving of the painting Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull. Throughout the $2 bill's pre-1929 life as a large-sized note, it was issued as a United States Note, National Bank Note, silver certificate, Treasury or "Coin" Note and Federal Reserve Bank Note; when U. S. currency was changed to its current size, the $2 bill was issued only as a United States Note. Production went on until 1966. Ten years passed before the $2 bill was reissued as a Federal Reserve Note with a new reverse design that commemorated the United States Declaration of Independence; as a result of banking policies with businesses which have resulted in low production numbers due to lack of demand, two-dollar bills do not circulate as well as other denominations of U. S. currency. This comparative scarcity in circulation, coupled with a lack of public knowledge that the bill is still in production and circulation, has inspired urban legends about its authenticity and value and has created problems for those trying to use the bill to make purchases.
The denomination of two dollars was authorized under a congressional act, first issued in March 1862. The denomination was continuously used until 1966. S. currency the two-dollar bill was assigned to. In August 1966, the Treasury Department discontinued production of all denominations of United States Notes, which included the two-dollar bill; the two-dollar denomination was not reassigned to the Federal Reserve Note class of United States currency and was thus discontinued. In 1976, production of the two-dollar denomination was resumed and the two-dollar bill was assigned as a Federal Reserve Note, with a new reverse design featuring John Trumbull's depiction of the drafting of the United States Declaration of Independence replacing the previous design of Monticello, it has remained a current denomination since that time. It was estimated that if two-dollar notes replaced half of the one-dollar notes in circulation, the federal government would be able to save about $26 million in 1976 dollars over the period from 1976 to 1981, due to reduced production and shipping costs.
However, due to their limited use, two-dollar notes are not printed as in a new series as other denominations, which are produced according to demand. Most bill acceptors found in vending machines, self checkout lanes, transit systems and other automated kiosks are configured to accommodate two-dollar bills if the fact is not stated on the label. Although they are available at most banks, two-dollar notes are not handed out except upon specific request by the customer, may cause a delay with a trip to the vault. Printing $2 bills is twice as cost-effective for the government as printing $1 bills, since they both cost the same amount to manufacture, but the public has not circulated them as widely. During the Great Depression, few Americans had enough money to require $2 bills. In the middle of the 20th century, $2 bills were used for betting on horse racing, tips at strip clubs and for bribery when politicians wanted votes, so acquired a negative reputation. Servicemen during World War II and were paid with $2 bills, the notes saw use at canteens, post exchanges USO clubs and commissaries.
Many people erroneously believe that the 1976 series note with its unusual reverse design was a special, limited issue, produced for the United States Bicentennial. Today, the general public is still unfamiliar with the notes because they are not circulated and continue to be hoarded. There remains a common misconception that the $2 bill is no longer being produced, though bills have been printed with series dates of 1976, 1995, 2003, 2003A, 2009, 2013. A series changes when there is changes in signatory; the U. S. treasury reports that $1,549,052,714 worth of $2 bills were in circulation worldwide as of April 30, 2007. Things such as unusual serial numbers, replacement notes designated by a star in the serial number can raise the collector value. "Collectible" or "enhanced" two-dollar bills, commemorating America's national parks and other places and events, have been made and sold by coin dealers and others in recent years by adding color, special graphics or color printed plastic overlays onto regular issue two-dollar bills by using computer printers.
The creators and marketers of some of these bills unscrupulously imply that they are authorized or issued by the federal government. Certain conventions and tourism/convention bureaus capitalize on the scarcity of $2 bills in circulation, encouraging convention attendees and tourists to spend $2 bills in order to illustrate to the host communities the economic impact that the conventions and tourism bring. Sometim
Obsolete denominations of United States currency
The United States has produced several coins and banknotes of its dollar which no longer circulate or have been disused. Many of these were removed for specific reasons such as inflation reducing their value, a lack of demand, or being too similar to another denomination; the U. S. Dollar has numerous discontinued denominations high denomination bills, issued before and in 1934 in six denominations ranging from $500 to $100,000. Although still legal tender, most are in the hands of museums; the reverse designs featured abstract scroll-work with ornate denomination identifiers. With the exception of the $100,000 bill, these bills ceased production in the 1940s, were recalled in 1969. Of these, the $100,000 was printed only as a Series 1934 gold certificate and was only used for internal government transactions; the United States issued fractional currency for a brief time in the 1860s and 1870s, in several denominations each less than a dollar. There have been numerous coins throughout the United States dollar's history that no longer circulate.
Some, like the half-cent coin were removed due to inflation reducing their value while others such as the two-cent piece were removed due to a lack of demand. Note that this table shows the latest status before the coin denomination was rendered obsolete. ^α Some Early United States commemorative coins were minted in this denomination. ^β Some Modern United States commemorative coins are minted in this denomination. ^γ The United States government claims that it never released the 1933 gold double eagle coin. ^δ The 2009 Double Eagle was not intended for circulation, but rather as a collector's coin. It may, however be used in transactions as the original Double Eagle was
Quarter (United States coin)
The quarter, short for quarter dollar, is a United States coin worth 25 cents, one-fourth of a dollar. It has a thickness of.069 inches. The coin sports the profile of George Washington on its obverse, its reverse design has changed frequently, it has been produced on and off since 1796 and since 1831. The choice of 1⁄4 as a denomination—as opposed to the 1⁄5 more common elsewhere—originated with the practice of dividing Spanish milled dollars into eight wedge-shaped segments. "Two bits" is a common nickname for a quarter. The current clad version is two layers of cupronickel, 75% copper and 25% nickel, on a core of pure copper; the total composition of the coin is 8.33% nickel, with the remainder copper. It weighs 1/80th of a pound, 0.1823 troy oz. The diameter is 0.955 inches, the width of 0.069 inches. The coin has a 0.069-inch reeded edge. Owing to the introduction of the clad quarter in 1965, it was called a "Johnson Sandwich" after Lyndon B. Johnson, the US President at the time; as of 2011, it cost 11.14 cents to produce each coin.
The U. S. Mint began producing silver quarters again in 1992 for inclusion in the annual Silver Proof set. Early quarters were larger in diameter and thinner than the current coin; the current regular issue coin is the George Washington quarter, showing George Washington on the front. The reverse featured an eagle prior to the 1999 50 State Quarters Program; the Washington quarter was designed by John Flanagan. It was issued as a circulating commemorative, but was made a regular issue coin in 1934. In 1999, the 50 State Quarters program of circulating commemorative quarters began; these have a modified Washington obverse and a different reverse for each state, ending the former Washington quarter's production completely. On January 23, 2007, the House of Representatives passed H. R. 392 extending the state quarter program one year to 2009, to include the District of Columbia and the five inhabited US territories: Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The bill passed through the Senate and was signed into legislation by President George W. Bush as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Pub. L. 110–161, on December 27, 2007. The typeface used in the state quarter series varies a bit from one state to another, but is derived from Albertus. On June 4, 2008, a bill titled America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, H. R. 6184, was introduced to the House of Representatives. On December 23, 2008, President Bush signed the bill into law as Pub. L. 110–456. The America the Beautiful Quarters program will continue for 12 years. Silver quartersWright 1792 Draped Bust 1796–1807 Draped Bust, Small Eagle 1796 Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle 1804–1807 Capped Bust 1815–1838 Capped Bust, With Motto 1815–1828 Capped Bust, No Motto 1831–1838 Seated Liberty 1838–1891 Seated Liberty, No Motto 1838–1865 Seated Liberty, With Motto 1866–1891 Barber 1892–1916 Standing Liberty 1916–1930Standing Liberty 1916–1917 Standing Liberty 1917–1924 Standing Liberty 1925-1930 Washington Quarter 1932–1964, 1992–1998 Washington Bicentennial 1975–1976 Washington U.
S. Statehood Series 1999–2008 Washington District of Columbia and U. S. Territories 2009 Washington America the Beautiful Quarters 2010–2021 Copper-nickel quartersWashington Quarter 1965–1974, 1977–1998 Washington Bicentennial 1975–1976 Washington U. S. Statehood Series 1999–2008 Washington District of Columbia and U. S. Territories 2009 Washington America the Beautiful Quarters 2010–2021 Non-clad silver quarters weigh 6.25 grams and are composed of 90% silver, 10% copper, with a total silver weight of 0.1808479 troy ounce pure silver. They were issued from 1932 through 1964; the current rarities for the Washington Quarter silver series are: Branch Mintmarks are D = Denver, S = San Francisco. Coins without mintmarks are all made at the main Mint in Philadelphia; this listing is for Business strikes, not Proofs 1932-D 1932-S 1934 – with Doubled Die Obverse 1935-D 1936-D 1937 – with Doubled Die Obverse 1937-S 1938-S 1939-S 1940-D 1942-D – with Doubled Die Obverse 1943 – with Doubled Die Obverse 1943-S – with Doubled Die Obverse 1950-D/S Over mintmark 1950-S/D Over mintmark The 1940 Denver Mint, 1936 Denver mint and the 1935 Denver Mint coins, as well as many others in the series, are more valuable than other coins.
This is not due to their mintages. Many of these coins are worth only melt value in low grades. Other coins in the above list are expensive because of their low mintages, such as the 1932 Denver and San Francisco issues; the overstruck mintmark issues are scarce and expensive in the higher grades. The 1934 Philadelphia strike appears in two versions: one with a light motto, the same as that used on the 1932 strikings, the other a heavy motto seen after the dies were reworked. Except in the highest grades, the difference in value between the two is minor; the Silver Series of Was
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. Established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue, the Treasury prints all paper currency and mints all coins in circulation through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, respectively. S. government debt instruments. The Department is administered by the Secretary of the Treasury, a member of the Cabinet. Senior advisor to the Secretary is the Treasurer of the United States. Signatures of both officials appear on all Federal Reserve notes; the first Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton, sworn into office on September 11, 1789. Hamilton was appointed by President George Washington on the recommendation of Robert Morris, Washington's first choice for the position, who had declined the appointment. Hamilton established—almost singlehandedly—the nation's early financial system and for several years was a major presence in Washington's administration.
His portrait appears on the obverse of the ten-dollar bill, while the Treasury Department building is depicted on the reverse. The current Secretary of the Treasury is Steven Mnuchin, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 13, 2017. Jovita Carranza, appointed on April 28, 2017, is the incumbent treasurer; the history of the Department of the Treasury began in the turmoil of the American Revolution, when the Continental Congress at Philadelphia deliberated the crucial issue of financing a war of independence against Great Britain. The Congress had no power to levy and collect taxes, nor was there a tangible basis for securing funds from foreign investors or governments; the delegates resolved to issue paper money in the form of bills of credit, promising redemption in coin on faith in the revolutionary cause. On June 22, 1775—only a few days after the Battle of Bunker Hill—Congress issued $2 million in bills. On July 29, 1775, the Second Continental Congress assigned the responsibility for the administration of the revolutionary government's finances to joint Continental treasurers George Clymer and Michael Hillegas.
The Congress stipulated. To ensure proper and efficient handling of the growing national debt in the face of weak economic and political ties between the colonies, the Congress, on February 17, 1776, designated a committee of five to superintend the Treasury, settle accounts, report periodically to the Congress. On April 1, a Treasury Office of Accounts, consisting of an Auditor General and clerks, was established to facilitate the settlement of claims and to keep the public accounts for the government of the United Colonies. With the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the newborn republic as a sovereign nation was able to secure loans from abroad. Despite the infusion of foreign and domestic loans, the united colonies were unable to establish a well-organized agency for financial administration. Michael Hillegas was first called Treasurer of the United States on May 14, 1777; the Treasury Office was reorganized three times between 1778 and 1781. The $241.5 million in paper Continental bills devalued rapidly.
By May 1781, the dollar collapsed at a rate of from 500 to 1000 to 1 against hard currency. Protests against the worthless money swept the colonies, giving rise to the expression "not worth a Continental". Robert Morris was designated Superintendent of Finance in 1781 and restored stability to the nation's finances. Morris, a wealthy colonial merchant, was nicknamed "the Financier" because of his reputation for procuring funds or goods on a moment's notice, his staff included a comptroller, a treasurer, a register, auditors, who managed the country's finances through 1784, when Morris resigned because of ill health. The treasury board, consisting of three commissioners, continued to oversee the finances of the confederation of former colonies until September 1789; the First Congress of the United States was called to convene in New York on March 4, 1789, marking the beginning of government under the Constitution. On September 2, 1789, Congress created a permanent institution for the management of government finances:Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be a Department of Treasury, in which shall be the following officers, namely: a Secretary of the Treasury, to be deemed head of the department.
Alexander Hamilton took the oath of office as the first Secretary of the Treasury on September 11, 1789. Hamilton had served as George Washington's aide-de-camp during the Revolution and was of great importance in the ratification of the Constitution; because of his financial and managerial acumen, Hamilton was a logical choice for solving the problem of the new nation's heavy war debt. Hamilton's first official act was to submit a report to Congress in which he laid the foundation for the nation's financial health. To the surprise of many legislators, he insisted upon federal assumption and dollar-for-dollar repayment of the country's $75 million debt in order to revitalize the public credit: "he debt of the United States was the price of liberty; the faith of America has been pledged for it, with solemnities that give peculiar force to the obligation." Hami