Ron Thompson of Decatur, GA posed a question about denomination abbreviations seen on a U.S. colonial note. -Editor
I recently came across a Virginia Colonial $2 issue of First Day of May, 1780 that had an interest related box on the lower left of the face as follows:
Perhaps your readers could enlighten me as to what the s. d. q. means. Thanks
Well, I knew the "s" likely stands for shillings, and the "d" is for pence (based on the ancient denarius, a penny equivalent). But I was puzzled by the
"q". My wife would say puzzlement is my natural state. But starting with what I did know I asked Dr. Google and found this summary of British money abbreviations on the University of
Nottingham web site. -Editor
Until 1971, British money was divided up into pounds, shillings and pence.
• One pound was divided into 20 shillings.
• One shilling was divided into 12 pennies.
• One penny was divided into two halfpennies, or four farthings.
There were therefore 240 pennies in a pound.
To read the complete article, see:
Manuscripts and Special Collections : Money
So, it seems the s. d. q. means "shillings, pence and farthings". Great question! Here's an image of the note. -Editor
Excellent. Mystery solved! Next mystery – Why denominate the note in dollars and then pay the interest in British money equivalents? Perhaps collusion with Great Britain?
I have attached an image of the reverse that indicates that while Virginia issued the note the repayment would come, if demanded, from the United States of North America per a resolution of
Congress dated March 18, 1780.
I think we need a Special Counsel to investigate and get to the bottom of this!
Another great question. Can anyone help? -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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