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History of Money (Infographic) Published 16 May, 2019   Report Issue

History of Money (Infographic)

Money has a long history throughout the ages. It’s almost as old as civilization.  Today, it’s all about the Franklins, but once upon a time, it used to be all about the cowries and the cattle. Doesn't sound quite as catchy, does it?


The oldest, organic form of trade is the barter system. Our historical records from Egypt tell us that, being an agricultural society, grain and oil were commonly bartered, even when coins were introduced later.

Around 1000BC, tiny bronze replicas of tools and weapons. The problem with this was, that reaching for this currency resulted in a lot of pokes and cuts. This became rounder and more coin-like with time.

In Lydia (present Western Turkey) around 600 BC, King Alyattes minted the first official currency, made from an alloy of silver and gold, with stamped pictures acting as denominations.


In 800 AD, China’s Tang Dynasty started printing paper money and called it “flying cash”(Fei Qian). Of course, they also used coins.


Europe, cannot be left out of this history of money. The Florin was minted in November 1252. Being a gold coin, it was of course, too valuable for daily use. It was probably made for the purpose of international trade. Florin also became synonymous with the gold coin in England.

With time, knowledge of paper money crossed the continent and reached Italy. Shortly afterward, one of the first banks were founded in 1397.


It was a while before the banknote system began, and these were issued in Sweden in 1661.

Closer to modern times, the card with the magnetic strip verification appeared in 1960, eventually leading to the debit and credit cards we have today.

The evolution of money has shown a trend towards portability and reliability of use.


With apps and technology, we have almost eliminated the need for physical cash. Who knows what the next big change (pun intended) will be?

Why not take a look at this beautiful infographic on the history of money, to follow its journey through the ages?

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