Press release from the Columbia University Press
For millennia, currencies have brought order (and disorder) to human
society, directing trade, growing economies, developing national
identities and religions, and spreading empires. More than ever,
money’s power to shape our character, our politics, and our daily
lives is clear.
Thomas Hockenhull, project curator of the modern money collection in
the British Museum’s Department of Coins and Medals, has authored
Symbols of Power: Ten Coins That Changed the World.
The new book explores the revelatory history of 10 major currencies,
detailing how the trajectory of world civilization is bound up with
the movement of money.
From the earliest measures of precious metals to the global fiat
currencies we use today, the evolution of the shekel, the drachma, the
denarius, the florin, the franc, the mark, the rupee, the yen, the
pound, and the dollar tracks closely with the rise and fall of
influential rulers, governments, and imperial powers.
These coins have acted as powerful symbols of political expression
and continuity despite deeply disruptive social, economic, and
political change. Rich with illustrations from the famous collections
at the British Museum and elsewhere, this book charts the fascinating
path of each coin as it has traveled throughout history.
The new 144-page paperback book was published on May 5.
It is available in digital version as well, and has a retail price
of $19.95 (paperback) or $18.95 (digital).
For more information about the book, or to order, visit the Columbia
University Press website.
Here are some articles in Coin World based on Hockenhull's
book and an interview.
The shekel: A modern-day coin with 5,000 years of history
Florin a coin with roots in Florence and a legacy
that spans the globe
Yen remains a ’safe-haven' currency despite its part
in Japan’s up-and-down economic history
Entering our hobby through the side entrance