Quebec’s Card Money

           Though invented in China a millennia ago, paper money was viewed with suspicion for centuries thereafter. With its issuance potentially unlimited, how could its value be maintained? The question was grappled with in colonial Quebec, which resorted to using paper money made from ordinary playing cards in order to make up for a chronic shortage

WWI’s Emergency Money

           Back when the value of currencies was still linked to the precious metals, and their issuance therefore curtailed, many resented the scarcity of money as the cause of their economic ills. Of course, a deficiency of money makes credit similarly scarce and can slow economic growth even when any stimulus at all would be welcomed.

A Money Changer’s Paradise

           Through much of the history of paper money, banknotes were issued by private entities operating in a decentralized system of money and finance. In whatever country and whatever their denomination, banknotes even traded at discounts to their face value that varied according to their liquidity and the health of the issuing bank. In the 19th

The Mark that Saved Germany

           Hyperinflation crippled numerous economies in the 20th century and continues to do so to this day. One of the most severe, and the one that is perhaps the most recounted to this day occurred in Germany following its defeat in the First World War. That episode of hyperinflation, like all the others, was most directly

From Thaler to Dollar

           When currencies became divorced from the gold and silver that used to determine their value, their utility ceased to be global in extent. From then on, currencies became national phenomena. However, there was a time when the precious metal content of a coin was the sole determinant of its value. In that era, money was

Trade Dollars

           American coinage, much like its paper banknotes, have changed little in decades, at least in regard to their design. This continuity, surely along with the US dollar’s role as a reserve currency, have made American money recognizable to many around the world for generations, especially those engaged in trade or finance. There was however, an

Japanese Pesos

           If you were shown a paper banknote with ‘The Japanese Government’ printed on top, albeit in English, and was for a sum of 500 pesos, you would probably be left scratching your head wondering from where this strange money came. A sensible person would presume it was just some kind of novelty; in a sense,

France’s Land Backed Banknotes

        In 1789, France overthrew its government, the replacement for which would be a work in progress for years. The various regimes established in the French Revolution faced daunting fiscal challenges, the very tremors that brought down the old regime. As with many states in financial distress, France turned to the debt markets first and the

China’s Currency Revolution

           Over the past two thousand years, commerce has transitioned from using metal coins as the principal medium of exchange to using paper banknotes. Paper currencies started off as peculiar local institutions, often conceived as a type of debt obligation, and served as stand-ins for actual coins. Today, they have become the universal norm and are

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial
LinkedIn