Continental currency

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1776 Continental currency

Continental currency known colloquially as Continentals were paper notes issued by the Second Continental Congress.

Continentals were destroyed through excessive money printing by the British government as part of a campaign of economic warfare. In his memoirs, Benjamin Franklin wrote about the tactics used:

The artists they employed performed so well that immense quantities of these counterfeits which issued from the British government in New York, were circulated among the inhabitants of all the states, before the fraud was detected. This operated significantly in depreciating the whole mass.[1]

In the wake of the excessively printed currency and heightened inflation, the phrase "Not worth a continental" became widely used.[2]