Massachusetts, Pine Tree Shilling, "1652" (struck 1667-1674)

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Sources
Date Posted: 6/10/2009

As early as 1650, the colony of Massachusetts Bay was a commercial success. But an inadequate supply of money put its future development in jeopardy. England was not inclined to send gold and silver coins to the colonies, for they were in short supply in the mother country.

Taking matters into their own hands, Boston authorities allowed two settlers, John Hull and Robert Sanderson, to set up a mint in the capital in 1652. The two were soon striking silver coinage-shillings, sixpences, and threepences. Nearly all of the new coins bore the same date: 1652.

This was the origin of America's most famous colonial coin, the pine tree shilling...