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 Museum Explorer

Daily life in
the Americas

Silver Shilling

Diameter: 15.000 mm

CM SS Banks 168-82

Silver shilling

From: Massachusets, North America
Date: AD 1652, issued 1652-60

During the 17th century, many thousands of people left Britain to live in the New England Colonies in North America. As more people moved to the colonies, they needed money to buy and sell things, but Britain did not send enough coins for them to use. In desperation people used musket balls, tobacco, beaver skins and many other goods instead of money.

In 1652, the colony of Massachusetts tried to solve the problem by making their own coins. This is their silver shilling. On it is a picture of a pine tree, the main export of the colony.