Money, money, money…

Even the popular music group ABBA used this very popular word in its song. Generaly, nowadays no one can live without it. Electricity, clothing, food and many other things are available for coins or paper leaflets.

In ancient times, when there was no coin or printed leaf, and of course no non-cash payments were made with cards, such option was not even in anybody mind, people paid each other using barter method. Market relations began to develop in the 7th-8th centuries before our era. In that time people exchanged with products and various other things needed for every day use that were grown or made. When the various divisions of craft and social work began to emerge, the barters began to become disadvantaged and people began to use a variety of larger and more valuable things that were perceived as a monetary unit – furs, sheep, horses, shells, flamingo feathers, tail pigs and in some countries even skulls. During times of Julius Caesar even human trafficking and slaves were used as a form of payment.

The first countable cash type was metal coins, which appeared as a payment instrument around the 7th century before our era. The first coins were made from copper, and then from iron, because these two metals were the most affordable, as they were widely used in the manufacture of weapons.

The first silver coins were minted 700 years BCE. Coins of gold and silver alloys were later developed. The precious metal coins, in which composition also gold was in, were considered to have been introduced in Lydia, Anatolia (Turkey). They were made of natural gold and silver alloy. They were simply shaped, looked like beans and had primitive marks that showed either the weight of the coin, or the quality of the metal, or both. The introduction of coins allowed their value to be calculated by number rather than weight as before. Although in large deals a weighing method was still used, because when the coins were carried aroud, they were rubbing between each other and coins became smaller, and also traders used to cutt of pieces of precious metal and their value fell by weight.

Paper money came about around year 650, when the Tan dynasty ruled in China. At that time, there were copper coins in circulation in China, which had a low purchasing power and, in order to buy something more expensive, it was necessary to stretch a whole bag with these coins. The Emperor’s advisers were longing for their heads, until finally a solution was found – hard to fake banknotes were printed on high-quality paper.

The first banknotes in Europe appeared and were issued by Stockholm Bank in 1660, but in 1664 it got short of a coins to cover paper money and the Bank stopped its operations. However, in 1690, the first paper money was issued in North America.

In the territory of Latvia, since the beginning of the 13th century, there have been many different currencies and many have been replaced. In 1572, the forging of shillings was started in Riga, and later the “verdins”, markka and half markka was also forged. At the end of the 16th century, the basic unit of the cash settlement system was “dalderis”. Other new coins were also implemented – “grashi”, “seshgrashi”, “trisgrashi and even “trispelheri” and “pusotrgrashi”. Those are money types in Latvia and doesn’t fit for translation.

In 18th century Latvia began to use the money of the Russian Empire – the rubles until 1922 Latvia got its own currency – the lats, which has been replaced by many and various monetary units through the years as a result of monetary reforms.

Throughout these historical stages of money generation there is one common thing – a wallet. The wallet that was already made of leather in the ancient Rome and was usualy strengthened at the belts.