Printed Material

Table of Official Depreciation of Bills of Public Credit

Date: 1781
Publisher: Draper & Folson
About this artifact

This table sets the value of Massachusetts paper currency against the value of gold and silver for the year 1780. Throughout the colonies, paper currency was losing value against hard cash at an astonishing rate. The standard hard currency at the time was the Spanish milled dollar. From April 1st through the 20th, 1780, 1 Spanish milled dollar was worth 40 Massachusetts dollars. By February 27, 1781, the value would be 1 Spanish milled dollar to 75 Massachusetts dollars, or about half the value Massachusetts currency started with in April, 1780. The devaluation of money created many problems. Everyone lost buying power and money received in one month had little worth several months later.

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Courtesy Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield, MA