1776 Continental Dollar: The first coin authorized by the Continental Congress after the signing of the Declaration of Independance was the 1776 Continental Currency, called the Continental Dollar. Designed by Benjamin Franklin, America’s first coin was a one of beautiful simplicity. There was a sort of monetary anarchy in the United States so the Congress decided that issuing the Continental Dollar would help unite the nation by bringing some kind of standardization to the monetary system. The first coins of the United States showed a sundial with the legend "Fugio", meaning "I fly." The sundial refers to time, so the message was that "Time flies." Under the sundial is the motto, "Mind your business." On the reverse of these cents is a chain with 13 links. The legend on the reverse says, "We are one." All of these mottos are attributed to Benjamin Franklin and collectors call these "Fugio cents" or "Franklin cents." .
Although 300 tons of copper were authorized for these coins, quite a bit less was struck. In fact, we believe that the copper came from the bands of kegs of gunpowder sent to us by France during the revolution. Today, the common varieties of these cents sell for a couple hundred dollars in average circulated condition.
On the reverse side of the Continental Currency coin there are thirteen rings strung together the edge like links in a chain, signifying unending, unbreakable unity. The names of the thirteen states are ingraved on the thirteen rings. In the very center it says, horizontally, WE ARE ONE. Around those words is AMERICAN CONGRESS.