Coins and Currency: An Historical Encyclopedia

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9780786414505: Coins and Currency: An Historical Encyclopedia

Throughout history, money has developed along with society. During ancient times currency took many forms, including such varied items as beaver skins and sea salt blocks. As societies made technological and artistic advancements, their monetary systems and currencies advanced as well. Today, coins and currency are an important part of the historical and archaeological record, providing information regarding the culture, religion, interests, and major leaders of societies throughout the world. This reference work offers 228 entries of historical commentary on the role of coins and currency in human events, politics, and the arts. Not only does this sourcebook cover the evolution and circulation of money throughout history, it also includes biographical information on the designers of coins and the creators of various monetary systems. A time line of important events in the history of money is included, along with a glossary and bibliography. Photographs of coins and bills enhance the text, providing an up-close look at many beautiful artifacts.

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About the Author:

Award-winning author Mary Ellen Snodgrass lives in Hickory, North Carolina. She is also the author of World Epidemics (2003), Encyclopedia of World Scriptures (2001) and Who’s Who in the Middle Ages (2001) and the coauthor of A Multicultural Dictionary of Literary Terms (1999).

From Booklist:

Many books have been compiled on the coins and currency of the world, providing detailed accounts from individual countries to broad discussions of the currencies of the world. This encyclopedia has brought together some 299 terms, phrases, and names associated with coins and currency throughout the ages, from the Sumerian coin-shell money of 3,500 B.C.E. to the modern day euro. Hundreds of sources were consulted to provide a fascinating account of people, places, and terms that are associated with money.

Entries include African money, Assay marks; Assignat; Bryan, William Jennings; Coins and currency in literature; Gold rush; Pieces of eight; and Wizard of Oz. This last entry deals with the symbolism in L. Frank Baum's famous work about the furor over the gold standard that waged from 1880 to the end of the century. Since inscriptions that appear on coins provide some insight on the political, economic, and religious biases of the issuing countries, a respectable 26-page list of inscriptions is provided. Also, the interest in searching out wrecked treasure ships results in a list of shipwrecks from 70 B.C.E. to 1946, indicating the name of the ship and the cargo it was carrying.

The entries are well written for the general reader. The black-and-white photographs are adequate, and most entries have extensive see also references and a list of sources. A time line of coins and currency in history covers 3,500 B.C.E. to 2002. A brief glossary is included as well as a 20-page bibliography. The 27-page index covers in detail all material that is contained in the text. This is not a book for currency collectors who want to identify and price their collections but rather a general encyclopedia of information about the currencies of the world. It is a recommended resource for public and undergraduate libraries. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Mary Ellen Snodgrass
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