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American silver dollars were first authorized by Congress on April 2, 1792, and the first issues appeared in 1794. The origin of the US $1 Silver coin was based on the German Thaler, the name given to the first large-sized European silver coin. Designed as a substitute for the gold Florin, the German coin originated in the Tyrol in 1484. So popular did these large silver coins become during the 16th century that many other countries struck similar pieces, giving them names derived from “thaler.” The Spanish Dollar, or piece-of-eight, was widely used and familiar to everyone in the English-American colonies. It was only natural, therefore, that the word “dollar” was adopted officially as the standard monetary unit of the United States.