It's All About the Wilsons, Baby: Some Curious Historical Facts About U.S. Currency

By | June 9, 2019

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A United States hundred thousand dollar ($100,000) bill, Washington DC, mid 1930s. It is a gold certificate with Woodrow Wilson on the bill. Source: (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

Money is something we use on a daily basis, but few know about the more interesting historical aspects of the American currency. This article will discuss some of the more curious aspects of U.S. coins and bills.

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A fifty five dollar Continental. Source: (

Early Americans Hated Paper Money

The new United States issued its first paper currency (Continentals) even before independence in 1775. These notes were overprinted and became devalued. A famous saying was, "Not worth a continental." Instead, individual states issued currency to help support the war effort. The United States would not print paper money again until 1861, during the crisis of the American Civil War.

Nowadays Continental currency is valuable as a collector’s items. A legitimate half dollar Continental, for example, may be auctioned at a valued price of $2,500 dollars or more. Even more valuable were coins.