When piles of looted gold and silver began to be shipped from America to Spain in the sixteenth century, nothing seemed more certain than the continued use of precious metals as money in Europe. It must have seemed unlikely that the Atlantic World would become the epicentre of the antithesis of precious metal, namely paper money. Paper money could be merely a technical device of saving on transportation of precious metal coins, but the way paper money developed in the early modern Atlantic made it much more than that.
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© 2015 D’Maris Coffman, Adrian Leonard and William O’Reilly.