By John F Chown, Forrest Capie
This publication offers a close and extraordinary 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 historic context.
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Additional resources for A History of Money: From AD 800
Landlords received their rent, and the church its tithes, in the form of produce. Everyday transactions were, as often as not, settled by barter. There were a few travelling merchants, and a small part of the population lived in towns, but the real growth revival of international trade had hardly begun. Money had a relatively minor role, and had actually declined in importance over the previous two centuries. In most of Continental Europe the only coin, and the only form of money in circulation, was the denarius, a base coin of little value.
Even the French royal coinages lost twothirds of their silver value within a century. The situation was much the same in Italy, where coinage rights typically vested in the trading cities. It was very important, in drawing up contracts, to indicate clearly which currency was meant. The quality of coinage survived rather longer in the Ottonian Empire (very roughly modern Germany), while some countries in Eastern Europe continued to regard coinage as a royal prerogative. Stefan I (997–1088) of Hungary, for instance, established a sound silver currency.
Groats and half groats (two pence) were at once accepted as a normal and continuing part of the English coinage. Still larger denominations of silver were not to be introduced for another two centuries. 38 A HISTORY OF MONEY There were two further reductions in the weight standards during the Wars of the Roses: to 15 grains in 1412 (Henry IV) and to 12 grains in 1464 (Edward IV). This was half the original weight of nearly 700 years previously, but the rate of depreciation had speeded up. 4 per cent per annum.
A History of Money: From AD 800 by John F Chown, Forrest Capie