|Section 9: Commerce in the colonies||Previous | Next | Section Index|
|When coins were used, many came from New World mints
England did not supply the colonies with ample coinage and prohibited them from making their own. Foreign coins were used instead. Spanish silver dollars, worth eight reales, were called pieces of eight because they were often cut into eight bits for change. A quarter was two bits. These coins became such an important part of the colonial economies that the dollar was the logical choice as the basic monetary unit of the United States.