This review was submitted by John and Nancy Wilson, NLG.
Curious Currency - The Story of Money From the Stone Age to the Internet Age
By Robert D. Leonard Jr., with Foreword by Kenneth Bressett
Robert D. Leonard Jr. has written a small interesting hard cover guidebook (160 pages, 6 x 9) covering the story of money from the stone age to the Internet age. Curious Currency is profusely illustrated with full color pictures of most of the different types of money discussed. It explains what money is and then tells something about the many different kinds of money. We think the two pages containing information on "What is Money?," is excellent.
Some of the many items covered are slaves, Yap stones, Swedish plate money, shell beads, tea money, tobacco, distilled spirits, Siamese bullet money, feather coils, trade coins, paper money, parchment notes, wooden nickels, clamshell money, credit cards, debit cards, stamps and many others.
The book contains more than 200 full color pictures of the items discussed. The photos are exceptional, as they are for all Whitman references. Mr. Leonard groups the items under raw material, useful articles, ornaments, customary objects and money substitutes. In the "Useful Articles" chapter we thought it interesting that in 1998 teachers in Altair Republic, central Russia were paid their monthly salaries in vodka because of the shortage of currency. This is only one of the many well done anecdotes contained in the book. Not very many books cover the gambit of money from the stone age to present and Mr. Leonard does it very well and in an easy to read format.
We personally found the pictures very familiar as the majority of the items pictured are from Nancy's brother's (Charles Opitz) collection. His book, An Ethnographic Study of Traditional Money, covers the same items and more, but in a more detailed form and in alphabetical order rather then by general groupings. Both books cover different markets so this is a welcome addition to numismatic research on the subject.
Whitman's price of only $12.95 makes this book a popular item to give to an inquisitive reader as an inexpensive gift for any special occasion. We think this reference covering the iron age, barter all the way up to the present should be in everyone's library. This Official Whitman Guidebook on Curious Money is another "best seller" for Whitman Publishing, LLC. For information on purchasing this reference you can contact:
Whitman Publishing, LLC, 3103 Clairmont Road, Suite B, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, phone (800) 546-2995, www.whitmanbooks.com, or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayne Homren, Editor
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