American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society



Funny Money: The Fight of the US Secret Service Against Counterfeit Money

A History of American Currency

The paper money issued by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1690 was the first authorized by any government in the Western world. False notes as well as genuine notes altered by criminals followed promptly.

From colonial notes to the much-maligned Continental Currency to the "broken-bank" notes prior to the Civil War, paper money was widely distrusted in early America. Only with increasing Federal government control of paper money during and after the Civil War did paper currency gradually come to predominate.