Where Currencies Get Their Signs

In the wake of India’s recent selection of a new symbol for the rupee, Christopher Beam at Slate traces the origins of various currency symbols. The dollar sign, for instance: “When the United States adopted its?own currency in 1785, it used Spanish money as its model – a deliberate ‘screw you’ to the British.” The symbol for the British pound, meanwhile, comes from the Latin word for scales (libra).[%comments]


I would have thought that the dollar sign came from superimposing an S over a U, taken from the initials of the United States. I saw some historical furniture in the Treasury Department with that sign, and it is one of those realizations nobody can come up with at first, but seem obvious after they're explained.


I always thought the British Pound sign looked a bit like England geographically..


Ayn Rand certainly wrote that there was a strong coorilation .... origination US >$. But when in doubt...wikipedia.

Richard, Uk

If you draw by hand then I see what you mean Ray. Never thought of that before!


Actually, the British Pound is called a "Libra" in Spanish. I always wondered why the sign for that currency seemed to correspond more with the Spanish word than with the English word.


Isn't it common knowledge that the dollar sign is two pillars and a ribbon?