Capping Liberty

The Invention of Numismatic Iconography for the New American Republic

Coinage under the Articles of Confederation

Although it had authorized the issue of medals and the creation of a national seal in 1776, it wasn’t until 1786 that the Continental Congress passed an ordinance to establish the coining regime for the new nation. In the meantime, the prevailing legislation was the provision in the Articles of Confederation of 1777 that “the United States in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective states.” The result was a monetary circulation that included old British coins, American and foreign imitations of them, coins issued by various states, and paper money issued both by the Congress and by individual states. There were also pattern proposals for a national coinage created in England and in America.