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By John F Chown, Forrest Capie

This booklet offers an in depth and spectacular 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 areas them of their old context.

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It had limited success outside its own region. Florence had introduced its own heavier silver coin in 1232. This was smaller than the Venetian grosso and had a value of one soldo or twelve denarii. It bore the familiar Florentine punning device of the lily (fiori) and was generally known as the fiorino or florin. In 1252, Florence added a gold coin valued at a lira (twenty soldi or 240 denarii) so that for the first time after 452 years, the Carolingian accounting system of the pound, shilling and penny was actually represented by circulating coins respectively of gold of silver and base metal, in a form familiar in nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain.

These were then available to provide an instant exchange to those who brought short cross coins to the mint. This time coins were accepted only by weight and the mint charged a very high seigniorage of 13 pence out of 240. There was again no change in the weight standard and the whole loss fell on those who were left holding 26 A HISTORY OF MONEY clipped or otherwise below weight coins. Many new country mints were opened: Richard and the King shared the substantial profits. Scotland followed this change three years later.

In Parliament, attention had been drawn in 1343 to the disastrous effects of the premium on gold current in Flanders and the need for an English gold coinage (Oman 1967:170). The 1344 recoinage involved only a small weight adjustment in the silver. A second attempt to introduce a gold coinage, the beautiful but rare florin with its half (‘leopard’) and quarter (‘helm’), failed because the bimetallic ratio (14. 81:1) was this time set too high. The weight was 108 grains, and the value 6 shillings, equal to exactly 1,600 grains of silver.

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