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What do whale teeth, rice, seashells, feathers, cocoa beans, furs, salt and tobacco have in common? They have all been used as currency. This is the story of money, from early barter commodities to the ubiquitous credit cards of today. More than 300 entries in this encyclopaedia describe the major innovations, experiments, triumphs and disasters in the development of a viable medium of exchange. Individual topics spotlight the workings of international monetary systems, hyperinflation, monetary debacles, fiscal controls, the gold standard, and more. The reference also tells how metal coinage - one of the major financial inventions - spread from a tiny enclave in the Mediterranean to become a universal standard, and discusses Leonardo Da Vinci's contribution to hard currency.

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