What does the $ in the dollar bill stand for?

The reason we use the dollar ($) symbol in our currency is because back when the US began using its own currency. It stood for ‘Independent States’. According the Constitution, each State can join the Republic whenever its citizens decides. However, they remained independent from Federal regulation. As (at that time) the feds we considered to be the negotiators to keep the country running. See the “Articles of Confederation” of 1781.



Mike R
San Francisco, CA

LINK TO COLUMN: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/724/what-does-the-s-in-the-dollar-sign-represent

Nonsense. The origins of the dollar sign aren’t certain, but none of the accepted theories have anything to do with “Independent States” – and in fact early dollar signs were more likely to have two strokes than one. It was probably a modification of an earlier spanish currency symbol or of the peso mark.

The rest of your post looks like goofy anti-tax stuff, but in any case, I don’t see what it has to do with the dollar sign at all.

“According to the Constitution … See the Articles of Confederation”
You do realize that those are two completely separate things, right? The Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation, which no longer have any legal force at all.

But once a state decides to join the republic, it’s no longer an independent state. (And most of them weren’t independent states before joining the republic anyway - they were American owned territories and had less independence that a state has.)

If we assume that that was the case, why do Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders (and I am sure several others; those are the only ones I remember) use the $?

Guess again, Stud. Did you sleep through History class?

Nice urban legend.

I mean, stupid urban legend.

Supposed column in question

I was told that it stemmed from the time when the USA was a British Colony and usesd the S to indicate Pound Sterling. So when it became independant they drew 2 vertivcal lines through the S and made it the Dollar Sign with two vertical strokes. There is not an ASCII symbol for it as the current one has only one stroke $. Sounds reasonable.

Told by who?

Demonstrably false in at least three ways.[ol]
[li]The dollar sign is older than US independence.[/li][li]The pound sign has been £ for much longer.[/li][li]ASCII characters (and Unicode characters, for that matter) do not specify glyph design, except for a handful of special cases (such as the Greek lower-case phi and theta, where mathematicians use what were two different handwritten versions as two different letters). The ASCII dollar sign, in particular, gets as many vertical lines as the type designer likes, and ASCII doesn’t care. In fact, the dollar sign I’m seeing in this thread on my computer has no lines, only single nubbins top and bottom.[/li][/ol]One might add that, at the time of US independence, the dollar was worth only about one crown, a quarter of a pound. In fact, dollar is old British slang for a crown.

The origin of the term dollar came from German. There was a place in Central Europe called Joachim’s Valley, which in German is Joachimstal. Joachimstal contained a good sized silver mine, which was used to make coins which were known as Joachimstalers. This got shortened to talers, which became dollars in English.

Lest there be any confusion here, both of these statements are true; the origin of the word “dollar” is “Thaler”, short for “Joachimsthaler”, and “dollar” is older English slang for 1 crown = 5 shillings = 20p.

Yes, I reread my post later and I realized it could have been interpreted that I was disagreeing with you. I wasn’t because what you said was correct. I was just adding some additional information about the origin of the term.

Arrggghhhh! That’s 25p.

This is the first time I ever wondered about the $ sign… I love to learn about things I

hit the button a little too soon… Once again I love to learn about things I know nothing about… Thank you for the lesson…

Excuse me… WHAT, $ in the dollar bill?! :confused:

I’ve been looking at dollar bills for 40+ years, and I sure as hell haven’t seen a dollar sign, ANYWHERE on it! :dubious:

The original question (in the main site, not this Forum) said “S in the dollar sign”; I dare say “$ in the dollar bill” in the post starting this thread was just a slip, especially considering the wild slipping and sliding to be seen in the rest of it.

60d actually if you’re talking pre-1970s.

Yes, I’ve noticed that a lot of the hypotheses about the origin of the “$” seem to assume that it must derive in some form or another from something actually struck onto the currency (Pillars in the Spanish peso), or else from phrasing in some foundational document (“Independent States”), as opposed to it being merely the convenient borrowing of a sign in use for late-1700s silver coinage.