Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty

Not Worth A Continental

June 23, 2010 by  

The Continental Congress was struggling to find funds and provisions for the Revolutionary forces when it decided to issue its own currency. On June 22, 1776, it issued $2 million in paper money. The currency featured the likeness of Revolutionary soldiers and carried the inscription, “The United Colonies.”

The “Continentals,” as the bills were known, were not backed by gold or any other assets. Merchants distrusted their value and demanded more and more of them for the same amount of goods. General George Washington complained that, “A wagonload of currency will hardly purchase a wagonload of provisions.”

By the end of the war the new currency was virtually worthless. The bills were ultimately redeemed by the new United States government at 1/100th of their face value. Because of this experience, the phrase “not worth a Continental” became a way to describe something that was virtually worthless.

The lesson also convinced our Founding Fathers to insist that any currency issued by the U.S. government be fully redeemable in gold or silvera requirement that became part of our Constitution and was honored for the next 100 years. Today, of course, our currency is only backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States,” which some cynics (this writer included) say explains why the value of the dollar continues to fall.

—Chip Wood

Chip Wood

is the geopolitical editor of He is the founder of Soundview Publications, in Atlanta, where he was also the host of an award-winning radio talk show for many years. He was the publisher of several bestselling books, including Crisis Investing by Doug Casey, None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham and The War on Gold by Anthony Sutton. Chip is well known on the investment conference circuit where he has served as Master of Ceremonies for FreedomFest, The New Orleans Investment Conference, Sovereign Society, and The Atlanta Investment Conference.

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “Not Worth A Continental”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at

  • http://??? joe momma

    …i am surprised at the slant of this article….usually level headed….the colonies had script long before the cafugalty that worked fine…..also the brits were conterfeiting continentals….what do these have in commone……1) ITMSS….it’s the money supply stupid![or loss of control thereof]….2) the stable money supply can be made up of sea shells if it has the faith of the consumers….3) cornering of the supply of precious metals, paper bills or sea shells distorts the currency to the favor of the cornererers….same darn battle we have been fighting since 16th century….

  • Jim H.

    I have some currency from the 50′s. On it says silver certificate. Now they say Federal reserve note. I wonder if my old silver certificate note is still backed by silver?

    • Anthony

      Jim – I would hang onto that. Supposedly, those were printed up around 1958 and JFK was attempting to print even more and get them into circulation as a competitive measure “against” THE FED.

      There is WIDE speculation that “this” is exactly why Kennedy was assassinated. No one I know, these days, believes any of the Oswald story, nor anything involving the (so-called) MAFIA, either.

      A few others insinuate that his death was the result of him involving himself in some sort of oil issue down in TEXAS. He may have had something to do with that, but the difference here is the “amount of money” and whose hands that SUM would eventually change hands from, and to……

      It’s much more logical and compelling to understand that Kennedy’s Executive Order 11110, is the real reason he was shot. You should google that up, and read asa many websites as you can, to see the different tellings of the events that occurred.

      Aside from JFK, only Reagan… and now Ron Paul, have shown the type of real patriotism that would make a John Wayne sit up and take notice.

      And, John Pickett — all that’s needed done to get rid of the FED, is to do exactly what Jackson did …. DE-FUND THEM. Once Congress says we will print no more Federal Reserve Notes, it will take approximately two years or so and teh FED would be bankrupt, as opposed to this Great Nation.

      The trouble with this… is having Representatives with guts enough to make that move. And, you can bet the World Bank and the IMF, along with the United Nations would all scream bloody murder about it, and potentially start a war between us and Britain all over again, as they did in the War of 1812.

      Still —- this is a fight worth fighting. And, we won’t even come close to getting back our Country until THIS fight is had.

  • s c

    Jim H, anyone who is naive enough to believe that ‘full faith and credit’ has any credibility needs to buy the beach property I have on the back side of the moon. Only those who live in denial can have faith in a currency that was stolen by central bankers and their illegitimate, immoral Federal Reserve.
    As far as your silver certificates are concerned, some currency collectors may want them. Forget about seeing any silver from a bank for them. That day came and went many years ago – thanks to the Fed and many corrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle.

    • Jim H.

      SC. It wouldn’t take very much silver to back that 1 dollar bill. It’s more of a collectible.

      • Richard Pawley

        The local coin dealer used to initial the silver certificates that he spent so that when someone called him on the phone to ask if it was valuable he would ask if it had his initials in the lower corner. If that silver certificate dollar was instead two silver half dollars, or four silver quarters or ten silver dimes, any of those would be worth $10 to $12. If it had been exchanged for a silver dollar at the bank, possible in this country up until 1963, it would be worth about $14 or more. The dollar even if it were brand new without a single fold or crease and no discoloration but truly new (uncirculated)would still not be worth what the silver would be worth. As a child I remember going to the cheapie movie house on some Saturdays for a silver dime and with the penny change I bought a tootsie roll. A few years later I recall my mom treating me to a banana split, the regular price was .29 and a penny tax. Those three silver dimes today would be worth about 3.30 to 3.60 and somewhere you might be able to find a banana split for that price. The point is silver and gold are real and paper is a coupon or a promise. I remember spending silver dollars just as my elderly parents remember their parents spending gold ones. Those days are gone forever, unless the Arabs or the Chinese come up with a new gold currency after the current world system collapses completely.

  • John Pickett

    THE FED. THE FED. Get rid of it!!! My Great, Great grand daddy did. If he Andrew Jackson did it we can too!!


Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.