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When you examine records of daily life in the colonies, you will frequently see references to money — the value of goods in a will or probate inventory, prices of goods for sale, or rewards for the return of runaway slaves or servants. This primer will help you understand the value of money in colonial America — what kinds of money were used, how people accounted for it, how they got it, and what it could buy.
As you might guess, when this system of money developed in the Middle Ages, it was tied up with measures of weight. The symbol for the pound is ?, based on the letter L for libra, which was the basic Roman unit of weight just as the pound is the basic English unit of weight. The United Kingdom converted to a decimal system of money in 1971, so today a pound is worth 100 pence.
Just as we use quarters, nickels, and dimes, the English had (and still have) other kinds of coins besides pennies and shillings, and some of those coins had colorful names. The English pound was the standard, but it wasn’t the only kind of money in circulation. Today, in the United States, the Federal Reserve manages the money supply so that there is always enough money available and the economy can continue to grow.
To get around the shortage of money, colonial governments printed paper money, and colonists used whatever foreign currency they could get their hands on — Spanish dollars, for example. But of course people frequently needed to borrow money — especially in a society as cash-poor as the American colonies. If a poor or middling farmer needed, say, a bushel of corn or a barrel of flour, he could borrow it directly from a wealthier neighbor. Wealthy planters, too, bought goods on credit, especially luxury goods shipped from England. The chronic money shortage and the desire for luxury goods thus meant that colonists both rich and poor were bound up in webs of debt.
As a result, wealthy planters who had cash could accumulate a great deal of power and influence by lending money — or threatening not to. If someone died without paying his debts, his goods would be listed in a probate inventory, valued in pounds, and, if necessary, sold at public auction to pay his creditors. Not all of this behavior can be traced to mercantilism and the money shortage, but in the absence of established financial institutions and sufficient cash to conduct a growing economy, political power in the colonies came to be made up of these complex, personal networks based in part on borrowing and lending money. It would be nice if we had a simple exchange rate to compare colonial pounds, shillings, and pence with today’s dollars and cents. Prices and goods available varied widely from colony to colony, and the relative prices of goods were very different from what they are today. Compare Valentine Bird’s bedroom suite with what you could buy from, say, Pottery Barn.
Using that kind of information, you can try to determine what was a necessity and what was a luxury, what the relative values of various goods might have been, and how people’s standard of living compared to ours today. Search LEARN NC for more resources on barter, colonial, economic history, economics, exchange rates, inflation, mercantilism, money, probate inventories, and tobacco. LEARN NC’s digital textbook for North Carolina History uses primary sources and multimedia to tell many stories about the past, not just one. Part two explores the political, social, and cultural history of the state from the first successful English colonies in the 1600s to the eve of the Revolution in 1763. LEARN NC, a program of the UNC School of Education, finds the most innovative and successful practices in K-12 education and makes them available to the teachers and students of North Carolina - and the world. Turkish markets are noisy, busy, crowded and hectic – and a hell of a lot of fun to experience.
Here in the UK we wouldn’t dream of trying to barter for a different price when we go shopping, but over in the Turkish markets, haggling down for a better deal isn’t just accepted – it’s expected!
All kinds of markets are rife with counterfeit designer goods, and while some will be obviously fake, others may be presented to you as the genuine article.


This tip obviously applies to all unfamiliar environments, but while the majority of people in the Turkish markets will be genuinely friendly, some may have a wicked agenda.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. We have one unit of currency (dollars) and a neat decimal system, but colonists used several overlapping currencies, all linked to the English monetary system — which itself had three different units and countless colloquial demoninations. Because a pound was worth 12×20 pennies, it could be divided evenly by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, and 20. Formally, pounds were referred to as pounds sterling, because a monetary pound was originally worth one pound of sterling silver. Shillings were abbreviated s, which didn’t stand for shillings but for solidus, a Roman coin. Used in auctions; the bid was placed in guineas, the seller received that number of pounds, and the auctioneer or merchant received that number of shillings.
In the 1700s, not only was there no Federal Reserve, but the policies of the English Parliament and Crown actually restricted the amount of money available in the colonies — and made commerce difficult, as a result.
Today, global trading in currency sets exchange rates, but there were no international banks to set exchange rates in the 1700s.
But someone who wanted to buy a bushel of corn, for example, might not have anything the seller wanted in trade. These official prices meant that exchanges conducted in tobacco could be accounted in pounds, shillings, and pence. Like a money shortage, this may be hard to imagine today, but there were no formal financial institutions anywhere in the American colonies! Poorer colonists borrowed from wealthier colonists; the wealthy borrowed from British merchants and from one another. Unlike today’s banks, wealthy planters could discriminate any way they pleased, and they could use a debt as leverage over someone. This happened before his family could inherit his property, and the process of sorting out who owed whom money could be lengthy and complicated. Compare the listed values of household goods, tools, slaves, and land; look at what everyone owned as opposed to what very few people owned.
It’s not as simple as a set of numbers or a calculator, but this method gives a far more complex and accurate picture of life in the eighteenth century.
An article from Colonial Williamsburg explains why this question is almost impossible to answer. They’re a quintessential part of a holiday to Turkey with package deal specialists like Jet2holidays, and when you know how to handle them, you can come away with some real bargains.
It’s a social practise in Turkey and can be really enjoyable too, when you know how to do it. Just ask yourself, how likely is it that an authentic Gucci handbag is going to turn up in a Turkish market for a fraction of the boutique price? Pickpockets and tricksters know that the Turkish markets are full of tourists with wallets crammed with cash, so don’t allow yourself to be distracted, always keep your bags in sight and with the zips tightly closed, and if anyone tries to lure you somewhere that isn’t public, do not go!
If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. The coin was called a guinea because it was made of gold from Guinea (Ghana, in West Africa) and was perhaps most famously used in trading slaves. England saw its colonies as a great market for finished goods, while it permitted colonists to export only raw materials. Instead, each colony set an official value in pounds, shillings, and pence on paper money and foreign coin. To get around this problem, certain commodities like tobacco were used as a kind of currency. Without banks, there were no savings accounts, mortgage loans, credit cards, or any of the other means we now have of borrowing and lending money.


As with proclamation money, the value of the debt was noted in pounds, shillings, and pence. British merchants were happy to sell goods to reliable colonists in anticipation of next year’s tobacco crop, just as credit card companies today will lend people money to buy things they want.
All of this business might be conducted very politely, but even so, someone who lent his friends and neighbors money could easily call in favors — for example, when he stood for election as a judge or representative in a legislature. The written record of a debt might be only a note on a piece of paper, and debts were often disputed. We have information about inflation rates — the change in time of the value of money. Economists and economic historians have tried to make these kinds of calculations, but they disagree — often wildly.
As a result, bedsheets were very expensive, and if you examine colonial probate inventories, you’ll find that relatively few people could afford them.
The fanciest set of sheets for it, though, costs less than $200 — and that includes pillowcases! However, they can be intimidating for the unprepared and so to make sure your trip to the market in Turkey is memorable for all the right reasons, just follow our helpful tips! All you have to do is know what an item is worth to you, ask the seller what price they want for it, and make them a counter-offer. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. Because their value was set by proclamation, these currencies were called proclamation money.
Everyone would take tobacco in exchange for other goods, because it could be easily sold again. Land, by comparison, was cheap — more people could more easily afford land than they can today. Images and other media may be licensed separately; see captions for more information and read the fine print. Don’t waste your money on these kinds of goods and instead, save your cash for an authentic, locally-made, traditional Turkish trinkets like some beautiful pottery, a woven rug or a few boxes of Turkish Delight. Tuppence?) And even if you can translate all the terms into raw numbers, it’s hard to know what those numbers meant to people. At the same time, someone holding public office could easily borrow money from his constituents when he needed it.
It was also cheaper to build a house than it is today, since someone could simply cut down trees on his property or on unclaimed land, fashion lumber from them, and build a crude cabin with the help of a few neighbors. Wood could be cut and and made into a bed in North Carolina, but fine sheets had to be imported at great expense — more than six times the cost of a bed. It helps to employ a good poker face too, as the less you look like you actually want an item, the more eager the seller will be for you to buy it.
That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. To manage a plantation or business, people needed to keep track of their sales, purchases, and debts.
This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.



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