What is a “Dollar”?

The word “dollar” originally came from the Bohemian word “thal”, which meant “valley”. A silver coin was minted from the silver found in Joachimsthal, Bohemia (Joachim's Valley). The coin became known as “a thaler”, which soon after became translated into English as a “dollar”. During the 1700's, the Spanish produced a silver coin almost identical in size and weight to the thaler. Merchants called it the “Spanish Dollar”. In 1785, Congress accepted the Spanish Dollar as the official unit of value for the United States and proclaimed that all other coins, foreign and domestic, would be evaluated in terms of the Spanish Dollar. In 1786, the Board of the Treasury officially fixed the silver content of the adopted dollar at 375.64 grains of fine silver. It was subsequently adjusted to 371.25 grains of fine silver. It is important to realize that a "note" for a dollar is not a "dollar". A dollar is a unit of measure, similar to the ounce or quart, and therefore one can not properly claim that he has a dollar in his pocket, but rather that he has a dollar in silver or a dollar in gold, or a “one dollar note” in his pocket. Per Title 48 Stat 1730, the dollar is fixed at 15 and 5/21 grains of standard gold and was to be maintained at this level “in perpetuity”. So now that you know what a dollar is, do you have any?

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