Valencia : History of Money in the Prehistoric Museum of Valencia

Due to COVID-19 – this month we would like to illustrate the different formats of money used in the five continents over the course of history. All have served as means of payment or as measure of value. Coins, as we know them today, appeared in the late seventh century BC on the Greek coast of Asia Minor and have been the most widespread form of money ever since, dominating economic circuits until the introduction of banknotes in the seventeenth century and credit cards in the twentieth.

The areas of the exhibition offer a broad overview of the history of money. The tour begins by presenting unique Valencian Coin Treasures such as those found in Lliria, consisting of about 6.000 Roman denarii, the extraordinary treasure of the Islamic Calle Santa Elena (Valencia), consisting of 1.940 Gold pieces dating from the late eleventh century, and the Requena, comprising 223 Spanish Gold pieces from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A selection of four exceptional pieces allow visitors to contemplate the finest Valencian coin art; an Iberian drachma from Arse, a Roman as from Valentia, a timbre from the reign of Alfonso the Magnanimous and a ducado from the reign of the Catholic Monarchs coined in the mint of Valencia.

Cases at the beginning of the wall explain the origin of coins, alongside the most representative issues of Greek and Roman times. This chronical approach turns into a thematic one in which coins and banknotes are discussed from a variety of perspectives – manufacturing, metrology, values and formats, and monetary policy – with special attention to the designs and to the phenomenon of counterfeiting. The room includes a recreation of a seventeenth-century mint as a teaching resource for understanding hammer minting, a process that was used for about 2.500 years. Hammered coinage appeared in the seventh century BC and continued until the seventeenth century, when the mechanisation of the process became widespread.

The opposite side of the room focuses on varied forms of money from different periods and cultures. In a large case, objects used as money are sorted from the materials used in their production. Other cases show forms of currency such as tokens or vouchers, and items used as money by the traditional societies of Africa and Oceania. In this part of the exhibition the custody pf money and savings is illustrated by a nineteenth-century safe used by the Provincial Council of Valencia. A recreation of a vintage bank from the early twentieth century stresses the significance of banks and a cash register of 1911 reminds us of their importance in everyday transactions. Finally, four cases in the corner cover varied topics related to numismatics such as medals, accounting, and non-economic uses of money

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