In the 1500’s the first Europeans began to settle into the American colonies. There was not much use for coins, since commerce with the native people was limited to exchanging the native’s wampum for food and other necessities. But soon, merchants established shops in villages along the Atlantic coast, and the need for coins was in larger demand.
However, England’s prohibitive charters for those colonies to manufacture their own coins held most American colonies back. In 1652, Massachusetts Bay was the first colony that challenged this prohibition by establishing a mint in Boston.
John Hull ran The Boston mint, and its output consisted mostly of twelve pence silver shillings. All of the twelve pence coins minted at Boston carried the date 1652. The reverse bore the date and the Roman numerals XII to represent 12 in the center. Three styles of trees were used on the obverse over the thirty years of production: from 1652 to 1660, a willow, 1660 to 1667, an oak, and 1667 to 1682, a pine.