Department of Economics

The Continental Dollar: What Happened to It After 1979?

Department of Economics
University of Delaware
Working Paper #2008-09

The Continental Dollar: What Happened to It After 1979?

Farley Grubb


The U.S. Congress issued paper money called Continental Dollars to finance the American Revolution. The story of the Continental Dollar is familiar to all -- a lot were issued and hyper-inflation ensued. However, the details of this story are less well known. Scholars even disagree over how much was issued -- disagree by over 50 percent. Meaningful monetary analysis of the Continental Dollar cannot proceed given this confusion in the data. Evidence is gathered here to reconcile past estimates and establish the exact amount and time path of Continental Dollars emitted thereby overcoming the entropy that has crept into the historical record.

JEL Codes: N1, N11, N2, N21

Keywords: Monetary Policy, Economic History

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