A History of Money: From AD 800 by John F Chown, Forrest Capie

By John F Chown, Forrest Capie

This publication provides an in depth and stunning background of cash from Charlemagne's reform in nearly AD800 to the tip of the Silver Wars in 1896. It additionally summarizes 20th century advancements and areas them of their ancient context.

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By reducing the weight of the penny to 18 grains. However in 1356 Edward III issued a proclamation that Scottish coinage should no longer be current in England: that this was necessary suggests that the Scottish coinage was regarded (rightly or wrongly) as having fallen below the English standard. From then on there was a steady fall in the silver content of Scottish coinage until, in 1805, after the Union of the Crowns two years earlier, the coinages were united on the basis of one shilling Scottish being worth one penny English, a factor of 12:1.

The source of the silver was 40,000 marks of silver paid by the French Crusaders for services rendered to the Fourth Crusade. This new coin became a principal coin of commerce, retained its stability for centuries and was used in trade far beyond Venice. The coin itself was copied often, but not always honestly, throughout Venice’s trading area. MONEY IN THE COMMERCIAL REVOLUTION 33 Other City states, Verona, Florence and Genoa introduced similar coins, and the idea spread to France in (1266) and elsewhere.

During this period, the weight of the silver penny fell by one-third but more significantly the coins, instead of being virtually pure silver, were at one point only one-quarter silver and three-quarters copper. The actual fine silver content of the penny fell to one-sixth of its previous value: an average rate of depreciation of 22 per cent per annum. This went far beyond the necessary adjustment to the ‘fair wear and tear’ problem which accounted for earlier debasements. Clearly totally different forces were at work.

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