Financial History Issue 116 (Winter 2016) | Page 25
Many nations use money to reflect and
define their cultural heritage. Notes from
Egypt, for example, feature the pyramids,
hieroglyphics and ancient sculpture. Similarly, Chinese notes depict the Great Wall
of China, and colonial notes for the British
Mandate for Palestine are decorated with
monuments of the Old City of Jerusalem 10 .
MESSAGES OF CIRCUMSTANCE
During the 1830s and the early 1840s, the
United States faced economic decline and
a shortage of coins. Copper tokens, called
hard-times tokens, were issued privately
and used as money. Some contain satirical
images, such as a tortoise carrying a safe
with the word “Treasury” on it 11 .
10 500 mil note, British Mandate for Palestine, 1927. Donated by Catherine Bullowa.
Hardship and Hunger
Food stamps are issued by the US government to low-income families and individuals and are accepted by most grocery stores as money for food purchases.
The United States first began issuing food
stamps in 1939 to help struggling families
during the Great Depression. Since then,
the government has also developed special programs for mothers and babies in
need 12 .
11 Hard-times token, United States, 1837.
Donated by Mendel L. Peterson.
12 Food certificate, United States, circa 1970.
Donated by US Department of Agriculture.
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