Fact Check: NO Evidence US Dollar Sign Represents A Serpent And Staff In Tribute To The Occult


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Fact Check: NO Evidence US Dollar Sign Represents A Serpent And Staff In Tribute To The Occult Not Pagan

Does the US dollar sign represent a serpent and staff in a tribute to the occult? No, that's not true: There is no evidence to support this claim. While the true origin of the $ motif is a matter of debate, none of the theories suggest it was inspired by occultism.

The claim appeared in a video on TikTok on June 7, 2023. It shows a rotating series of images that link modern business logos to occultism or Freemasonry. The text on the first picture of the U.S. dollar symbol reads:


Here is a screenshot taken from the TikTok video at the time of writing:


(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Aug 08 04:04:21 2023 UTC)

It is not clear who devised the dollar sign. One theory suggests it may have derived from the abbreviation for the Spanish peso (Ps), which was the most common coin in circulation in Britain's American colonies in the late 1700s, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Oliver Pollock, an Irish-born businessman who helped finance the colonists' bid for independence in the American Revolution, issued a handwritten invoice in 1778 on which he superimposed the "P" on the "S." The resulting symbol bears a striking resemblance to the $ sign.


(Source: Image download from coinbooks.com on Tue Aug 08 05:48:31 2023 UTC)

A competing theory links the $ symbol to the old "thaler" coins, from where the word "dollar" is derived, which were in broad circulation in the German lands in the 1500s and 1600s. These silver pieces featured a serpent on a Christian cross, an image from the Bible story about Moses mounting a bronze snake on a pole to magically cure Israelites who had been bitten by other snakes, according to an analysis by the BBC. There is no evidence of any link to occultism.


(Source: Image download from coinhomes.net on Tue Aug 08 06:20:11 2023 UTC)

Still others argue that the dollar sign is based upon the Pillars of Hercules, a pair of high rocks at the Strait of Gibraltar. A stylized image of the Pillars festooned with S-shaped banners appeared on the eight Reales coin used in Spain's American colonies in the late 1700s.


(Source: Image download from numista.com on Tue Aug 08 06:52:01 2023 UTC)

Even if the $ sign does depict a serpent on a staff, there is no reason to believe it was intended to represent evil. The snake-and-rod motif used by pharmacies worldwide is based on the Rod of Asclepius, the Greco-Roman god of medicine, and the Caduceus, a symbol of the Greek god Hermes, according to a 2015 article in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences. The authors say the snake represented healing because

the shedding of the skin... indicated longevity and immortality. The snake's ability to change from a lethargic stage to one of rapid activity symbolized the power to convalesce from an illness.


  • 2023-08-11T16:58:52Z 2023-08-11T16:58:52Z
    Updated to re-crop screenshot.


International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

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