What Is the Origin of the Dollar Sign?
What Is the Origin of the Dollar Sign? Historians are not certain how the United States began using the “$” as a dollar sign. The probable explanation is that it comes from a design marked on old Spanish coins called “pieces of eight.”
Before Americans had their own dollars, they used this Spanish coin for a silver dollar. One side of the coin was stamped with the symbol of Philip V of Spain—a ribbon winding around the two Pillars of Hercules, Gibraltar and Ceuta.
The “S” formed by the ribbon around each pillar may have led to the dollar sign, $. Dollars became America’s official currency in 1792.
However, it actually comes from a handwritten ‘ps’, an abbreviation for ‘peso’ in old Spanish-American books. The $ symbol first occurs in the 1770’s, in manuscript documents of English-Americans who had business dealings with Spanish-Americans.