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Story of Money

The Story of Money

Photo of a ring case in the museum display

A highlight of the Monetary Museum is the story of money as told through an exhibit of artifacts, coins, and currency notes in sixteen display cases.

With gold nuggets and wampum and much more, you can trace the evolution of money from barter to modern currency along with the story of banking and money in America right up to the founding of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. Take a look at the unusual objects, rare coins, and beautifully detailed currency notes in our outstanding collection.

Just click on the sections below to learn the fascinating story of money.

Section 1: Before money: Barter

Section 2: Common products as money

Section 3: Value in use, value in exchange

Section 4: Money simplifies trade

Section 5: Money takes many shapes

Section 6: Early coins

Section 7: Paper money

Section 8: Banking evolves

Section 9: Commerce in the colonies

Section 10: Early American money

Section 11: After the Revolution

Section 12: U.S. banks and money

Section 13: The Civil War era

Section 14: Progress and problems

Section 15: The Fed and afterwards

Section 16: Price stability: Goal of the Fed