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Mint, first American

The earliest colonial coinage was in Massachusetts, in pursuance of an order of the General Court, passed May 27, 1652, which established a “mint-house” at Boston. The order required the coinage of “12-pence, 6-pence, and 3-pence peeces, which shall be for forme flatt, and stamped on one side with N. E., and on the other side with XIId, VId, and IIId,” according to the value of each piece. These coins were to be of the fineness of “new sterling English money,” and every shilling was to “weigh three penny Troy weight, and lesser peeces proportionably.” It was found, as soon as they were in circulation, that, owing to the excessive plainness of their finish, they were exposed to “washing and clipping.” To remedy this evil, the General Court, on Oct. 9 of the same year, ordered a new die, and required that “henceforth both shillings and smaller peeces shall have a double ring on either side, with this inscription: Massachusetts, and a tree in the centre, on the one side, and New England and the date of the year on the other side.” In 1662 a two-penny piece was added to the series. This mint existed about thirty-four years, but all the coins issued have only the dates 1652 and 1662, the original dies

The Pine-tree shilling.

having done service, probably, throughout the whole period. These coins are now known as “pine-tree shillings.” See coinage; currency. [196]

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