Aug 312012

The origin of the Dollar can be traced back to Joachimsthal or ‘Saint Joachim’s Valley’ in Bohemia, where silver was discovered in 1519.

The local ruler, Count of Schlick, coined the metal into large coins nicknamed Joachimsthalers.

The coin became the basic currency of the district and neighbouring areas also adopted and imitated the Joachimsthaler – which was abbreviated to the shorter and neater Thaler.

Joachimsthaler of 1525 (courtesy

Within a comparatively short time, many European regions had a large silver coin resembling the Thaler, among them the Talar (Saxony), Tallero (Italy), Daalder (Holland) and the Daler (Scandinavia). The equivalent English word was Dollar.

A 30-shilling silver coin known as the Sword Dollar was issued in Scotland under King James VI between 1567-71. Thistle Dollars were used in Scotland during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Spanish Dollars (eight-real coins aka  ‘pieces-of-eight’) were minted by Spain’s colonial mints in the Americas.

Widely accepted as international currency, Spanish Dollars found their way to Britain’s North American colonies where pounds, shillings, and pence were scarce.

Portrayed on Spanish Dollars, the Pillars of Hercules and their spiralling banners are reputedly the origin of the ‘$’ sign.

The design on Spanish ‘Pillar’ Dollars may explain the ‘$’ symbol.

The first Dollar coins issued by the United States Mint (founded 1792) were similar in size and composition to the Spanish Dollar.

In New South Wales, 40,000 Spanish Dollars were converted into the colony’s first official coinage – the famous Holey Dollar and Dump – issued in 1813.

Australia’s decimal currency was originally going to be called the Royal. But a public outcry at the prospect compelled to Government to adopt the name Dollar.



  3 Responses to “Where does the term ‘Dollar’ originate?”

  1. Those are such beautiful coins, especially the ‘frill’ on the Pillars

  2. This afternoon I visited the Bullion Club office located in the Dymocks Building at 428 George St Sydney. The Bullion Club are a recognised Perth Mint distributor. I visited them in order to sell 2 x NTR 10 ounce bars of silver, which I purchased from another recognised Perth Mint distributor called KJC Coins in Sydney. Having purchased and sold silver before, I became alarmed when the chinese operators of the Bullion Club asked if they could cut my NTR bars in half, so they could test the bars for their authenticity. This is un heard of, and something I have never experienced from a Bullion dealer ever before. I am also a registered Perth Mint Bullion customer with experinec in buying and selling bullion. I then proceeded to challenge the two chinese ladies about their strange request to test my silver bars by cutting them in half. I also informed them that I had purchased the bars from KJC coins. From my experience today, I beleive that The Bullion Club is not fit to be a distributor of Perth Mint bullion or coins, due to their strange and unorthodox request to cut my silver bars. I am convinced that if I had been stupid enough to allow them to proceed with such a test, they would have taken my bars out the back and replaced them with fake cut bars, where they could claim that my bars were fake, giving me the cut bars and keeping my real bars. I hope the Perth Mint can look into this as The Bullion Club in my oppinion is unethical and not the type of business that deserves distribution rights to Perth mint products.

    • Hi Brett

      Thanks for contacting us – we’ll certainly look into this matter. In the meantime, can you take your bars back to KJC?

      Kind regards

      Blog Team


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