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  • 27 b/w illus. 10 tables
  • Page extent: 292 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.43 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 332.423
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: n/a
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Bimetallism
    • Money--History

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521028936 | ISBN-10: 0521028930)

DOI: 10.2277/0521028930

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published November 2006

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:01 GMT, 01 December 2015)


This book, first published in 2000, presents a history of Western monetary systems and explains why bimetallism was preferred to a gold standard before 1800. Professor Redish argues that the technological ability to issue fiduciary monies, and a commitment mechanism to prevent opportunistic governments changing the ratio between the currency and a unit of gold, were (frequently overlooked) prerequisites for the emergence of the Classical gold standard. The simplicity of the gold standard, a monetary system where there is a fixed ratio between a weight of gold and a unit of currency, makes it an obvious focus for discussion of commodity money systems, and for contrasting with today's fiat money regimes.

• One of the only books of its kind dealing with this issue • Handsome illustrations • Equal interest for economists and economic historians


Acknowledgements; 1. From the Carolingian penny to the Classical gold standard; 2. The mechanics of commodity money; 3. Bimetallism before the nineteenth century; 4. The issue of small-denomination coins; 5. Token coinage and the gold standard in the United Kingdom; 6. Transition to the gold standard in France; 7. Bimetallism in the United States; 8. Conclusions; References; Index.

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