World Coins

Money ‘talks’ in new book by researcher Frank Holt

A new reference by prolific author Frank L. Holt traces the evolution of money with emphasis on coinage and its collecting.

Book cover image courtesy of Oxford University Press USA.

When Money Talks: A History of Coins and Numismatics by author Frank L. Holt has been published by Oxford University Press.

A National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Grant recipient, Holt is a professor of history at the University of Houston. In his 254-page hardcover reference, Holt examines the origins of money, specifically in the form of coinage, from ancient times to the present and relates it to numismatics and its study.

“Long before the introduction of coinage, money in its generic sense must have originated with a nascent concept of material possession, of owning an actual thing of value as opposed to our modern notion of having a worthless thing representing value,” Holt writes. “... A very long journey connects the earliest proto-money, perhaps a shiny bead or well-shaped arrowhead, to the coins, checks, banknotes and crypto-currencies we use today.”

Holt credits the Greek philosopher Aristotle in the fourth century B.C. as the first individual who considered money to be an outgrowth of bartering.

Holt explores the development of coinage, noting that in the second century A.D., biographer Plutarch attributed coins to the Athenian Bronze Age hero Theseus.

Holt examines coinage and archeology, the right and wrong way to collect coins and addresses the importance of hoards.

In praising the book, the publisher writes, “Coinage — it is one of the most successful and consistent technologies ever invented. Nothing else we still use in everyday life has a history quite like it. Look around at all the things that would bewilder a Greek, Roman, or Renaissance ancestor; then, dig into your purse or pocket for that one artifact that they would immediately recognize as part of their world. Historian Frank L. Holt takes us on a lively journey through the history of numismatics, the study of coins — one of the oldest and most important contributions to the arts and humanities.”

Contact Oxford University Press USA at 800-445-9714.

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