Obverse of New England Shilling
Reverse of New England Shilling

Ron Guth: A distinguishing characteristic of a sovereign nation is the right to issue its own coins. America began exercising that right in 1792 by issuing Pattern Coins, in 1793 by issuing copper coins, in 1794 by issuing silver coins, and in 1795 by issuing gold coins. Prior to 1792, everyday business was conducted using a motley accumulation of tokens, coins, medals and counterfeits issued by private individuals, private mints inside and outside of America, and official mints outside of America. These are known as Colonial Coins.