CANCELLED Money Talks: Before the Coinage Act of 1857



Money Talks:
Before the Coinage Act of 1857: How Americans Spent Foreign Coinage

With Dr. Jesse Kraft

Saturday, March 14
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

$30 for ANS members
$50 for non-members

From the earliest days of the British-American colonies, up through the late 1850s, a variety of foreign coinage circulated in the United States. At various times, coins from Spanish-America, Great Britain, France, and Brazil held legal tender status and formed a majority of the hard-money supply in the United States. Most of these coins did not conform to the predominant unit of account (i.e. “dollars” or “pounds”) and forced American consumers and merchants to navigate this system through a variety of ingenious, though sometimes confounding methods. This Money Talks discusses those methods, including the use of abstract mathematical formulas, a variety of exchange charts, the prolonged usage of British monetary terminologies, and ways to evade the heightened threat of counterfeit coins. Despite these hindrances, certain coins could freely circulate largely due to the familiarity that several generations of Americans had with them. It was not until consumers and merchants had to contend with new and different types of foreign coins (ca. 1840s and 1850s) that the system finally came to a halt.

Space is limited. RSVP to Emma Pratte at

Money Talks: Numismatic Conversations is supported by an ANS endowment fund generously given in honor of Mr. Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli and Mrs. Elvira Clain-Stefanelli.