Drachmas, Doubloons, and Dollars

This video featured in the American Numismatic Society’s exhibition “Drachmas, Doubloons and Dollars: The History of Money,” which ran at the New York Federal Reserve from 2002 to 2012.

Money makes the world go round. This exhibition showed the different shapes of money: coins, cowrie shells, salt, tokens, gold, paper money, credit cards and many more. Money is first and foremost a way to store wealth and make payments. It makes trade easier and lets governments, merchants, and individuals pay their debts. But money is much more than just an economic object. It can be a work of art, a political messenger, or a piece of jewelry. Since at least the Renaissance, coins have attracted large numbers of collectors. Today millions of people all over the world collect coins, medals, and paper money. Coins allow you to hold a piece of history in your own hand. By looking at the money of many cultures and periods, we not only learn about their histories and perspectives, but we also gain a better understanding of what our money tells us about our culture and society today.

 For an online version of the late exhibition, please click here.