By John F Chown, Forrest Capie
This publication offers an in depth and staggering historical past of cash from Charlemagne's reform in nearly AD800 to the top of the Silver Wars in 1896. It additionally summarizes 20th century advancements and areas them of their ancient context.
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Extra resources for A History of Money: From AD 800
These probably resulted from slavish copying by illiterate die cutters rather than an attempt to deceive the public. They certainly deceived earlier generations of numismatists! For the next two centuries ‘imitations of imitations’ continued with a steady deterioration of weight, fineness and workmanship. In Scandinavia for a time foreign coins circulated extensively, passing by weight. Many were English coins—since found in Scandinavian hoards (Danegeld payments)—having characteristic peck-marks where the fineness of the silver was tested.
In 1378 a popular revolt overthrew a government of businessmen and replaced it with one drawn largely from wage earners. The Popular Party immediately set about trying to prevent any further depreciation of the petty coins, and proposed a radical plan, approved on 24 October 1380. This required the government to withdraw from circulation and melt down black coins to the value of 2,000 gold florins on 1 January in 1381 and for each of the next eight years. The aim was to cause the value of the petty coins actually to appreciate and to increase real wages without modifying nominal wages.
The mint changed the basis of its operations from the Tower Pound of 5400 grains to the Troy Pound of 5760 grains. This did not affect the substance of any of the coinage changes discussed here, (weights are given in grains) but care may be needed to check which unit is referred to in contemporary documents. 1. 5 grains, still used in Britain and America for normal commercial purposes. Silver coins bearing Henry VIII’s own profile portrait were struck at a reduced weight, 10 grains of silver, instead of 12, to the penny.