Carthage leather money - 450 BC

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From the Archives : Originally published March 01st, 2009
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Category : History of Gold





Leather bags were used as money in the ancient city of Carthage, where the idea was that rather than make all coins of small amounts of silver, they would make the significant majority completely of cheap alloy, and the occasional one of pure silver. The coins - including the duds - were then sealed by the state in a leather bag, granted a face value equivalent to silver, and deemed worthless if the seal on the bag was broken.

This apparent curiosity is not so very different from a modern day state lottery scratchcard.

The system lasted for about 50 years and fell into disuse at the end of the 5th century BC when the increased military success of the Carthaginians - who had invaded Spain - allowed an increased supply of gold and silver from Spanish mines, which became the practical currency probably because it felt real. Not unlike the Ionians who preceded them - the Carthaginian empire collapsed through Romans attacking them at least in part for their gold. The resulting Punic wars ended with Carthage being totally destroyed for ever.



Paul Sustain

Director and Founder

Bullionvault.com





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