Rare, beautiful and easy to work, gold has been valued above all other metals in many societies over the last six thousand years. With its resistance to chemical reactions – it never corrodes or tarnishes – it is often called a ‘noble’ metal. The fascination with, and demand for, gold made it an attractive medium for political symbols of power and status, or to provide standards of value and means of exchange.
This display provides global perspectives on the use of gold for currency and coins, from late 6th century BC to the 20th century. The sources and trading networks of the raw material reflects colonialism and exploitation, technological change and the discovery of new sources.
Images - Left: Venetian ducat of doge Pietro Gradenigo (1289-1311), Philip Grierson Bequest. Right: Ducat of Prince Elector Palatine, Karl Theodor (1743-1799) - gold panning scene.
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