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This presentation will discuss three cases as examples of analyzing historical coin silver material and early paper money.


19. April 2024, 14:00-15:30


S2|08, Raum 171
Hochschulstraße 4
64289 Darmstadt

ZKS-Uhrturmhörsaal , S2|08, Raum 171 , Hochschulstraße 4 , 64289 Darmstadt


Fachbereich Physik

The analysis focuses on Roman silver coins dating from 250BC to 350AD in order to determine their silver content and study the minting techniques used during that time period. These minting techniques were created to prevent severe currency deflation while also allowing for financing of wars and civil wars within the empire.

Interestingly, a thousand years later, the same techniques were employed in the British American colonial empire. They imported coins from Spanish colonies in South and Central America, melted them, and re-minted them in Boston with added copper or iron to ensure a profitable process. As per British law, coinage production outside of England was prohibited, so the colonists opted to introduce paper money as currency instead.

Benjamin Franklin established a network of papermakers and printers to develop appropriate materials and print money. Franklin and his network continually devised new methods to safeguard the integrity of the paper bills. During the Revolutionary War, the British authorities purposely introduced counterfeit versions of the newly printed paper currency on a large scale, aiming to cause inflation and disrupt the early American economic system.

The presentation will provide an overview of the scientific methodology employed to support this analysis.



Physikalisches Kolloquium, srd