LETTER : Bet your bottom dollar on the peso

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Spanish American dollar, or silver piece of eight reales was the principal unit of currency and account used in North America prior to US independence, and was adopted by Congress as the unit of currency in 1792, after which the first US dollars were minted in 1794 (letters, 17, 18, 19 December) .

The reverse of the Spanish dollar bore two vertical columns, representing the Pillars of Hercules, each wrapped with an S-shaped scroll bearing part of the motto nec plus ultra. This was supposedly used as a convenient abbreviation in $ accounts, in North, Central, and South America.


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