Tag: commodity money

Money That Goes Up In Smoke

Since being discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, tobacco has become a significant feature of our society. While its detrimental effects on health are now well-known, it was initially regarded as a medicine before becoming a symbol of freedom and a life style represented, for example, by the famous Marlboro cowboy. What many people don’t know is that tobacco was used as a means of payment at various times in history ….

There’s a cow in the museum!

After all the banknotes and coins on display at the National Bank of Belgium’s Temporary Museum, in the fifth room a large cow makes a sudden appearance. But just what is this animal doing here?

Five pigs? One drum, please!

The National Bank Museum has two drums in its collection. Acquired from South-East Asia, the objects were regarded by some indigenous communities as the most highly valued means of payment.

The fur trade

The collection of commodity money at the National Bank of Belgium museum now includes a recently acquired beaver pelt from Canada. Beaver skins were once used not only for clothing but also as money.

Museum NBB: beavering away at the collection Commodity money

The Museum of the National Bank of Belgium recently came into possession of a number of items which can be categorized as Commodity money. Shell money from Papua New Guinea, knife money from China, axe- and wheel money from Europe, all relics from a more or less distant past where notes and coins were not yet common.

A tasty currency: cocoa

Belgium is famous for its chocolate, a speciality that tourists never fail to enjoy when they visit Brussels. But what is the story behind such a strong link between Belgium and chocolate?

Kayapó

To mark the Europalia Brasil festival, the NBB’s Museum is holding an exhibition under the banner “Of gold and feathers”.

From the aes rude to the aes grave

During the first millennium BC, the Italian peninsula played a key role in Mediterranean history. As early as the 8th century BC, Etruscan cities sprang up as major commercial powers which were for a long time able to trade on a level footing with the Carthaginians and the Greeks. It is nevertheless surprising to note that, despite their respective importance, the Etruscans and the Romans did not mint their own coins until later.

Feather money

We take a look at a very strange type of money: money made from bird feathers. The feather money consisted of a 9 metre strip of plant fibres covered with the red feathers of the small scarlet honeyeater (Myzomela Cardinalis) and often took the form of a double coil.

Katanga Crosses

In June 2010 the Democratic Republic of Congo celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence, giving us a good opportunity to bring up a very unusual object hailing from one of the country’s southern provinces, Katanga. It is the copper cross.