New book examines the pictorial messages found on world’s notes

Author’s book completes his 20-year journey into paper money and its meaning
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 10/08/17
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The first of two volumes of Paper Money Messages: A Pictorial Perspective, written and self-published by Jeffrey J. Wing, is now available.

The 232-page, 8.5- by 11-inch book is an abundantly illustrated review, in color, of the author’s 20-year journey into the meaning of what is on paper money and how it reflects a nation’s values. It explores messages of historical significance such as those illustrating the role of government in war and peace, the economy, and politics. It discusses the role of forms of imagery — historical, biographical, architectural, and religious. Finally, it explores the role money plays in daily life, and the fact that it is accepted today without being backed by anything tangible. 


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Volume 1 is devoted to global issues, and is divided into three chapters. 

Chapter 1, “Paper Money Authenticity,” covers U.S. and some world paper currency. It provides a look at some of their hidden messages and symbols, and at the significance of portraits. It also shows situations when multiple currencies were in circulation in the same place at the same time. 

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Chapter 2, “Indians, Slaves, Propaganda, and War,” covers the use of Native Americans and slaves on American federal, Confederate, and obsolete currency. It then it looks at Brazil, Germany, the diverse monetary issues of the World War II era, Cuba, military payment certificates, southeast Asia, world slavery, and propaganda on recent currency. 

The final chapter is a paper money history of world inflation, leading with the recent fiasco in Zimbabwe, but with most examples coming from South America, Africa, and Eastern Europe in the last years of the twentieth century. The chapter concludes with the most famous inflation currency of all, German notgeld, the emergency money issued during the hyperinflation after World War I. German notgeld will be the sole subject of the second volume, which is now in preparation. 

Paper Money Messages costs $49.99. More information and ordering information is at papermoneymessages.com.

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