Fact File: Who invented Money? Date of Invention: 2400 BC *** Name of
Inventor: Unknown *** Historical Period: Ancient World *** Country of Origin:
Fact 1: Who invented Money? Livestock: Prior to the invention of money
barter was used as a medium of exchange for property, resources and services.
The values of livestock, such as cattle, sheep and camels were reckoned and used
as the most common form of barter.
Fact 2: Who invented Money? Barley: The Mesopotamians were the first to
use grain as a form of currency. Barley was used as the original medium of
weight in Mesopotamia. This early unit of weight was called a shekel, its name
derived from the Mesopotamia words 'she' and 'kel' meaning "barley and weighed".
The 'shekel' was equal in weight to 180 grains of barley, or around 11 grams.
Fact 3: Who invented Money? Silver Rings: Silver rings were used as
currency, money, in both Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt about 2000 years before
the first coins were struck. Much later, copper and gold rings were used as
currency by Celtic tribes and were often worn on clothing.
Fact 4: Who invented Money? The
Mesopotamians: The Mesopotamian invention of coins using precious metals was
made 2400 BC as a form of money. Coins were less expensive to produce than
Fact 5: Who invented Money? Shekels: The word 'shekels' was
then given to the coins invented by the Mesopotamians as a natural progression
to their new form of currency following barley. Silver coins were more
transportable than barley. Barley was considered cheap money and silver was the
more expensive form of money. The shekels were in common use in trade as silver
pieces of a definite weight, consisting of shekels, half-shekels, and
Fact 6: Who invented Money? As Mesopotamia was part of an extensive trade
network the use of the Shekel was adopted by other countries and civilizations.
The Shekel were in common use and assumed a major role in the history of the
Fact 7: Who invented Money? Electrum: The Mermnadae dynasty
of Lydia, an ancient Iron Age kingdom in western Anatolia, now Turkey (c.700 B.C. to 550 B.C.)
is also known to have used coins of pure gold and pure silver. The first Lydian
coins were the size of beans and made of a naturally occurring alloy of gold and
silver, with trace amounts of copper and other metals, called electrum or 'green
Fact 8: Who invented Money? The confusion as to whether the Lydians or
the Mesopotamians invented money is due to the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus
(c. 484 - c. 425 BC). Herodotus wrote that the Lydians used gold and
silver coins in retail shops they had established in permanent locations,
however, he was not clear whether these were the first people to use coins as
money. Given the long history of Mesopotamia and the numerous
Mesopotamian inventions it is likely
that the Mesopotamians were the first to invent money but that the use of Lydian
'green gold' was spread around the Mediterranean by the Phoenician pirates and
Fact 9: Who invented Money? Persian coins: After the Mesopotamians and
Lydians, other cultures began to make coins for use in trading. The Persian
daric is mentioned in the Bible in respect of coined money. The Daric was a gold
coin used by the Persian Empire during the reign of Cyrus the Great (550–530 BC)
Fact 10: Who invented Money? Greek Coins: Greek coins consisted of gold,
silver, and copper pieces. The gold coins were called staters and the silver
coins were called tetradrachms and drachms.
Fact 11: Who invented
Money? Roman Coins: Romans used salt as a currency. soldiers,
officers, and civil administrators were paid with "salt money". Roman coins
consisted of gold, silver, bronze and copper pieces were introduced to the Roman
Empire during the third century BC. The imagery on coins had taken an important
step when Julius Caesar issued coins bearing his own portrait. From this time
Roman coins featured the head of the Emperors and the Roman gods.
Fact 12: Who invented
Money? Milled Coins: Disreputable people began to shave off bits of
gold and silver from the coins. The shaved coins were still used at their
original value although they were worth less because they weighed less. To
prevent this practice governments began to require that coins be milled, cut
with fine grooves or indentations across the edges. People were then able to
identify the less valuable shaved coins and knew that they were getting their
Fact 13: Who invented
Money? Shell Money: The invention of Chinese money began with the use of
'shell money'. Cowry shells are believed to have been the earliest form of
currency used in China. Other civilizations also used shell money as a form of
Fact 14: Who invented
Money? Chinese Money: Other materials such as jade, bronze and gold were
then used to make shell-shaped coins to replace Chinese shell money.
Fact 15: Who invented
Money? The invention of
Paper money was made c. 740 BC
during the Tang Dynasty (618AD -
907AD). Chinese paper money was used
as a form of as exchange notes or
bills of credit.
Fact 16: Who invented
Money? Wampum: Wampum, small cylindrical beads made from quahog or whelk
shells, were used as a form of shell money by Northeast Woodland tribes and the
Native American Indian tribes of the Great Lakes. In 1637 Wampum was declared
legal tender in the American Colonies.
Fact 17: Who invented Money? Three types of money were used in the
British colonies of colonial America. Commodity money in which articles of trade
such as wampum, beaver skins, produce, and tobacco. Gold and silver coins were
called Specie and printed paper money used as a substitute for specie.
Fact 18: Who invented Money? Gold Standard: Gold was officially made the
standard of value in England in 1816 and guidelines were issued allowing for a
non-inflationary production of standard banknotes which represented a certain
amount of gold.
Fact 19: Who invented Money? International Monetary Regulation: The gold
standards ended in the 1930's and the complexities of international monetary
regulation began with internationally agreed rules and supporting institutions,
that facilitate international trade, cross border investments and the
reallocation of capital between countries.
Fact 20: Who invented Money? Charge Cards: Charge cards were introduced
in the United States in the 1920's following the automobile boom and the freedom
to travel. Service Stations and hotels began to provide charge cards so that
people did not have to travel to their banks to obtain money.
Fact 21: Who invented Money? Credit Cards: Frank McNamara and
Ralph Schneider issued the first Diners Club card in 1950 and American Express
launched its card in 1958.
Fact 22: Who invented Money? Electronic Money: The Digital Age of the
Internet and the World Wide Web has witnessed economic transactions taking place
electronically without the exchange of any physical currency. Electronic money
only exists in banking computer systems and is not held in any physical form.
Just as barter was replaced by trading in shells and rings and coins were
replaced by paper money the future is destined to lie in Electronic money.