History of Money

Table of Contents of the Book

A history of money from ancient times to the present day, by Glyn Davies, 3rd ed. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2002. 720 pages.
Paperback: ISBN 0 7083 1717 0. Recommended price UK £15.99, US $29.95.  Hardback: ISBN 0 7083 1773 1, price UK £40.00 US $54.95.

Published in co-operation with the Julian Hodge Bank Ltd.

Biography of the Author, Glyn Davies.

The book is available from various sources. Most good bookshops will be able to order it and some of these sources accept online orders and post items to any part of the world.

This site also contains a collection of essays and a detailed chronology based on the book.

See also Money in Fiction by Linda Davies.


Foreword by George Thomas, The Right Honourable Viscount
  Tonypandy                                                     v
Dedication                                                    vii
Acknowledgements                                               xv
Preface                                                       xvi
1. The Nature and Origins of Money and Barter 1-33
The importance of money                                         1
Sovereignty of monetary policy                                  3
Unprecedented inflation of population                           5
Barter: as old as the hills                                     9
Persistence of gift-exchange                                   11
Money: barter's disputed paternity                             13
Modern barter and countertrading                               18
Modern retail barter                                           21
Primitive money: definitions and early development             23
Economic origins and functions                                 27
The quality-to-quantity pendulum: a metatheory of money        29
2 From Primitive and Ancient Money to the Invention of Coinage
3,000-600 BC
Pre-metallic money                                             34
The ubiquitous cowrie                                          36
Fijian whales' teeth and Yap stones                            37
Wampum: the favourite American-Indian money                    39
Cattle: man's first working-capital asset                      42
Pre-coinage metallic money                                     45
Money and banking in Mesopotamia                               48
Girobanking in early Egypt                                     52
Coin and cash in early China                                   55
Coinage and the change from primitive to `modern' economies    58
The invention of coinage in Lydia and Ionian Greece            61
3 The Development of Greek and Roman Money 600 BC-AD 400 66-112
The widening circulation of coins                              66
Laurion silver and Athenian coinage                            68
Greek and metic private bankers                                71
The Attic money standard                                       74
Banking in Delos                                               78
Macedonian money and hegemony                                  79
The financial consequences of Alexander the Great              82
Money and the rise of Rome                                     87
Roman finance, Augustus to Aurelian, 14 BC-AD 275              94
Diocletian and the world's first budget, 284-305              100
Finance from Constantine to the Fall of Rome                  106
The nature of Graeco-Roman monetary expansion                 109
4 The Penny and the Pound in Medieval European Money 410-1485 113-75
Early Celtic coinage                                          113
Money in the Dark Ages: its disappearance and re-emergence    117
The Canterbury, Sutton Hoo and Crondall Finds                 118
From sceattas and stycas to Offa's silver penny               123
The Vikings and Anglo-Saxon recoinage cycles, 789-978         128
Danegeld and heregeld, 978-1066                               131
The Norman Conquest and the Domesday Survey 1066-1087         134
The pound sterling to 1272                                    139
Touchstones and trials of the Pyx                             144
The Treasury and the tally                                    147
The Crusades: financial and fiscal effects                    153
The Black Death and the Hundred Years War                     160
Poll taxes and the Peasants' Revolt                           167
Money and credit at the end of the Middle Ages                169
5 The Expansion of Trade and Finance 1485-1640 176-237
What was new in the new era?                                  176
Printing: a new alternative to minting                        178
The rise and fall of the world's first paper money            181
Bullion's dearth and plenty                                   184
Potosi and the silver flood                                   188
Henry VII: fiscal strength and sound money, 1485-1509         190
The dissolution of the monestaries                            194
The Great Debasement                                          198
Recoinage and after: Gresham's Law in Action, 1560-1640       203
The so-called price revolution of 1540-1640                   212
Usury: a just price for money                                 218
Bullionism and the quantity theory of money                   223
Banking still foreign to Britain?                             233
6 The Birth and Early Growth of British Banking 1640-1789 238-83
Bank money supply first begins to exceed coinage              238
From the seizure of the mint to its mechanization, 1640-1672  240
From the great recoinage to the death of Newton, 1696-1727    245
The rise of the goldsmith-banker, 1633-1672                   248
Tally-money and the Stop of the Exchequer                     252
Foundation and early years of the Bank of England             255
The national debt and the South Sea Bubble                    263
Financial consequences of the Bubble Act                      267
Financial developments in Scotland, 1695-1789                 272
The money supply and the constitution                         279
7 The Ascendancy of Sterling 1789-1914 284-366
Gold versus paper... finding a successful compromise          284
Country banking and the industrial revolution to 1826         286
Currency, the bullionists and the inconvertible pound,
  1783-1826                                                   293
The Bank of England and the joint-stock banks, 1826-1850      304
  The Banking Acts of 1826                                    306
  The Bank Charter Act 1833                                   309
  `Currency School' versus `Banking School'                   311
  The Bank Charter Act of 1844: rules plus discretion         314
Amalgamation, limited liability and the end of unit banking   316
The rise of working-class financial institutions              323
  Friendly societies, unions, co-operatives and collecting
    societies                                                 323
  The building societies                                      327
  The savings banks: TSB and POSB                             333
The discount houses, the money market and the bill on London  340
The merchant banks, the capital market and overseas
  investment                                                  345
The final triumph of the full gold standard, 1850-1914        355
Gold reserves, tallies and the constitution                   365
8 British Monetary Development in the Twentieth Century 367-456
Introduction: a century of extremes                           367
Financing the First World War, 1914-1918                      368
The abortive struggle for a new gold standard, 1918-1931      375
Cheap money in recovery, war and reconstruction, 1931-1951    384
Inflation and the integration of an expanding monetary
  system, 1951-1973                                           397
  A general perspective on unprecedented inflation,
    1934-1990                                                 397
  Keynesian `ratchets' give a permanent lift to inflation     399
  Filling the financial gaps                                  405
  Stronger competition and weaker credit control              408
  The American-led invasion and the Eurocurrency markets
    in London                                                 414
The monetarist experiment, 1973-1990                          421
  The secondary banking crisis: causes and consequences       421
  Supervising the financial system                            425
  Thatcher and the medium-term financial strategy             431
EMU: the end of the pound sterling?                           443
9 American Monetary Development Since 1700 457-548
Introduction: the economic basis of the dollar                457
Colonial money: the swing from dearth to excess, 1700-1775    458
The official dollar and the growth of banking up to the
  Civil War, 1775-1861                                        466
  `Continental debauchery'                                    466
  The constitution and the currency                           468
  The national debt and the bank wars                         471
  A banking free-for-all                                      479
From the Civil War to the founding of the `Fed', 1861-1913    487
  Contrasts in financing the Civil War                        487
  Establishing the national financial framework               490
  Bimetallism's final fling                                   494
  From gold standard to central bank(s), 1900-1913            499
The banks through boom and slump, 1912-1928                   504
  The `Fed' finds its feet, 1914-1928                         504
  Feet of clay, 1928-1933                                     509
  Banking reformed and resilient, 1933-1944                   512
Bretton Woods: vision and realization, 1944-1991              517
American Banks abroad                                         525
From accord to deregulation, 1951-1980                        530
Hazardous deposit insurance for thrifts, banks...and
  taxpayers                                                   535
From unit banking to...balkanized banking                     539
Summary and conclusion: from beads to banks without barriers  546
10 Aspects of Monetary Development in Europe and Japan 549-95
Introduction: banking expertise shifts northward              549
The rise of Dutch finance                                     550
  The importance of the Bank of Amsterdam                     550
  The Dutch tulip mania, 1634-1637                            551
Other early public banks                                      554
France's hesitant banking progress                            555
German monetary development: from insignificance to
  cornerstone of the EMS                                      567
The monetary development of Japan since 1868                  582
  Introduction: the significance of banks in Japanese
    development                                               582
  Westernization and adaption, 1868-1918                      583
  Depression, recovery and disaster, 1918-1948                587
  Resurgence and financial supremacy, 1948-1990               590
  Stagnation and the limitations of monetary policy,
  1990-2002                                                   594
11 Third World Money and Debt in the Twentieth Century 596-641
Introduction: Third World poverty in perspective              596
Stages in the drive for financial independence                601
  Stage 1: Laissez-faire and the Currency Board System,
    c.1880-1931                                               603
  Stage 2: The sterling area and the sterling balances,
    1931-1951                                                 607
  Stage 3: Independence, planning euphoria and banking
    mania, 1951-1973                                          610
  Stage 4: Market realism and financial deepening, 1973-1993  616
  The Nigerian experience                                     616
  Impact of the Shaw-McKinnon thesis                          619
  Contrasts in financial deepening                            622
Third World debt and development: evolution of the crisis     632
Conclusion: reanchoring the runaway currencies                639
12 Global Money in Historical Perspective 642-59
Long-term swings in the quality-quantity pendulum             642
The military and developmental money-ratchets                 646
Free trade in money in a global, cashless society?            649
Independent multi-state central banking                       652
Conclusion: `Money is coined liberty'                         655
13 Further Towards a Global Currency 660-83
The epoch-making euro                                         660
More Coins in an increasingly cashless society                667
The paradox of coin: rising production - falling significance 669
Speculation and the Tobin Tax                                 674
The End of Inflation?                                         667
Bibliography                                              684-702
Index                                                      703-20

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Roy Davies - last updated 30 November 2007.