Friday, August 2, 2013

Wooden Money...


In today's selection -- over the last few thousand years, contrary to popular belief, the predominate form of money was not gold or silver coins, but instead such things as clay tablets and -- in the case of England -- notched tally sticks. However, metal coins survive more readily than tablets and sticks, and so many historians have falsely assumed that most money was in the form of coins. In the case of England, a lack of understanding of this led to the wholesale destruction of one of the most important collections of source material in the history of money -- and indirectly led to the construction of London's beautiful Houses of Parliament so familiar to us today:  
 A tally stick was an identifiable, tamper-proof record of the amount paid or owed in a transaction.
"[Almost all the money that survives] from earlier ages [is] of a single type -- coins. Museums around the world heave with coins, ancient and modern. Coins and their inscriptions are one of the main archaeological sources for the understanding of ancient culture, society, and history. ...