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Story of Money


Section 7: Paper money Previous | Next | Section Index
Bearer receipts were an early form of paper money
Starting in the Middle Ages, people began storing coins and valuables in goldsmiths’ vaults. Goldsmiths charged a fee and issued a receipt for claims on the deposited valuables obligating the smith to “pay to the bearer on demand.” Once people began exchanging these “bearer receipts” as payment, the receipts functioned as paper money.
The bearer receipt here reads as follows:
Nov. 3:1674
I promise to pay unto ye Rigt Honble ye Lord Northumberland Wainscot or bearer Eighty pounds on demand
for Mr. Nathaniel Boggs
myself
Ambrose Williams, Esq.
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