Why is the dollar symbol an S?

SEMANTIC ENIGMASWhy is a capital 'S' with two vertical lines running through it used as the dollar sign?BILL BRYSON, in Made In America, refers to two theories. The first is that i

Why is the dollar symbol an S?
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SEMANTIC ENIGMAS

Why is a capital 'S' with two vertical lines running through it used as the dollar sign?

  • BILL BRYSON, in Made In America, refers to two theories. The first is that it originated as the letters 'U' and 'S' superimposed on each other. Bryson explains, however, that the symbol itself predates its application to US dollars, being used much earlier as a symbol for 'peso'. A more likely explanation, he says, is that it is a modified form of the pillars of Hercules, wrapped around with a scroll, found on old Spanish pieces of eight.David Handley, Whale Beach, Australia.
  • But why would the British/Americans adopt the symbol of the peso ( the currency of their arch-rivals the Spanish/Mexicans) as the symbol for their new currency? Isn't it more likely that having abandoned the pound symbol of a capital L with two horizontal lines through it they simply adopted the S of shilling/solidus and made the lines vertical because horizontal lines would not have made a sufficient distinction between the £ and $ signs?Add your answer

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