1776 Continental Dollar
The 1776 Continental Dollar Coins are a very important part of the U.S. coinage history. That is why it is sad to say that only little is known about this important coin and the few facts known are still vague. But one thing is sure; the 1776 Continental Dollar Coins are one of the first signs or symbols of American Independence. It is in this year that the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress’ representatives. The coin served as a symbol of the Colonies’ strong union and their sovereignty. It was a statement or a message to England and to the rest of the world that they are no free and would not submit again to foreign interference and governance. This is why the Continental Coin is very important and popular among numismatists and even a favorite subject among historians.
Although it was called dollar coins, the correct denomination of the 1776 Continental coins is not very clear because the coin bears no marks of its value. It only earned the name because they are almost of the same size as the dollar coins of the later years. Even authorities can only give their educated guesses as to the coin’s denomination. There were several issues of coin struck using different metal alloys: Brass, Pewter and Silver. Speculations have it that the silver issues may have been meant to be one dollar and the brass issues to be one penny. It is unclear though what the more common pewter alloy coins were meant to be.
The design of the 1776 Continental Dollar is not much to be desired because of too many elements and words on it that were not really artistically combined or executed. However, the medieval emblems employed by the celebrated American polymath Benjamin Franklin are very meaningful and patriotic. On the obverse side, there’s the Sun with a face, which represents God; the Sundial for time and the word FUGIO (Latin for “I fly”, together they mean “time flies”; and the motto, “Mind your business”. Around the edge are the words “CONTINENTAL CURRENCY” and the date year, 1776. On the reverse side are the 13 states or colonies, each of them printed or abbreviated on a link chained together in a circle form. Inside the circle chained links is another circle with inscribed with the words, “American Congress” and in the innermost circle is the phrase “WE ARE ONE”. The overall design served its purpose to deliver the message of American independence and sovereignty. And it can’t get any clearer than that.