Money, Mints, and Debts: Coins as Image and Wealth from Rome to 20th-Century West Africa

AHA Session 222
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Centennial Ballroom B (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)
Stephen Mihm, University of Georgia
Peter Fibiger Bang, University of Copenhagen
Ellen R. Feingold, National Museum of American History
Elizabeth Lhost, University of Chicago
Jotham W. Parsons, Duquesne University
Jennifer Siegel, Ohio State University

Session Abstract

Whether paper or metal, money is both a purveyor and holder of economic value, yet specie’s design conveys the minter’s social and political values. Even as bitcoin threatens to replace hard currency, changes to money’s design make headline news and are the fodder for political debates. Britain is redoing it £10 note and putting on Jane Austin, the US is contemplating putting Harriet Tubman on the $10 bill, and Canada eliminated its pennies, and paper dollars. Because the AHA will be meeting in Denver in 2017 and Denver is home to one of the US mints, this panel will look at the symbolic and material value of money with a roundtable dedicated to ways money in both its hard and virtual forms stores and holds economic value, and the systems, either official or unofficial, that have evolved to do create or defer this value.
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