A History of Money: From AD 800 by John F Chown, Forrest Capie

By John F Chown, Forrest Capie

This booklet offers a close and outstanding 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 locations them of their old context.

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After various experiments, Cardinal Wolsey recommended and superintended a reform. The gold coinage was correspondingly ‘enhanced’ or ‘cried up’, one of the three methods of debasement discussed earlier. 8d. 6d. and the sovereign from 20s. 6d. 5 grains fine but with values corresponding to the fine gold content. As yet there were none of the features of the debasement which was to follow. The mint changed the basis of its operations from the Tower Pound of 5400 grains to the Troy Pound of 5760 grains.

270 fine silver. Although fifteen of them would be needed to equal the bullion value of the then current English penny, they were as good as, or better than, the typical coinage of the rest of Europe. Such a coin was far too small for the trading nation Venice was becoming. Something better was needed and the key step was taken by Ziani’s successor Enrico Dandolo (1192–1205) who introduced a larger silver coin, called first a ducat but later a grosso or matapan. The source of the silver was 40,000 marks of silver paid by the French Crusaders for services rendered to the Fourth Crusade.

The Abbey of St Martin of Tours (called after the Soldier-Saint who cut his cloak in half with his sword to share it with a beggar) had operated a mint under ecclesiastical authority since the seventh century—just before the Carolingian reform, and was a leading French feudal mint when, in 1203 Philip Augustus of France (1180–1223) confiscated the county of Touraine from King John of England, and with it the mint. The ‘denier tournois’ intended as the standard French royal coin only for the west 28 A HISTORY OF MONEY of France, actually became more popular than the rather earlier ‘denier parisis’, of Paris.

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