Pine-Tree Shilling

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The Pine-Tree Shilling. This is a fac-simile of the first money coined in America. The mint-master, who was allowed to take fifteen pence out of every twenty shillings, for his trouble in coining, made a large fortune by it. Henry Sewall, the founder of Newbury, in Massachusetts, married his only daughter, a girl of eighteen years. When the wedding ceremony was ended, a large pair of scales was brought out and suspended. In one disk the blushing bride was placed, and “pine tree shillings,” as the coin was called, were poured into the other until there was an equiposie. The money was then handed to Mr. Sewall as his wife’s dowry, amounting to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. There are a few pieces of this money still in existence. One which I saw in the possession of a gentleman in New York was not as much worn as many of the Spanish quarters now in circulation among us. The silver appeared to be very pure.


Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1851)I:449


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