Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Real and Counterfeit Money

Paper money was invented in China in the late 8th and early 9th century AD, during the Song Dynasty. China became the 1st country in the world to do so. In comparison, the 1st European country to use paper money was Sweden in 1661.
The heyday of paper money took place during the Yuan Dynasty [Mongol Period ] where high quality money was made of silk....such as the rare one displayed here.

With the evolution of paper currency and the much earlier credit notes, business, commerce and trade improved and expanded between cities and towns in China. Many of such notes even made it across to Persia and beyond during the Yuan dynasty.

Silver ingots have long been a popular form of metal currency in ancient times. The value is in the weight of the silver itself.
One major drawback was the difficulty in carrying and transporting large amount of the ingots due to the accumulated weight.

From time immemorial, once money was invented in its various forms but especially coins and later paper currency, there were forgers and counterfeiters.
The penalty was severe....Death!

Our gracious museum guide, lady in blue, meticulously showing us the technique to detect a counterfeit note from the real thing. Mr Ye, SGH staff member, animatedly using a real note to emphasise a point.

D2 all eyes and ears as she listened intently!
PS: This museum now has a Singapore $ 5 and $ 2 plastic note which I donated for their display section. Our guide said that plastic notes are harder to forge but she hasn't any to show us. So I checked my money. I happened to have those two notes with me then.

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