Weights & Measures

Money is a really big deal, to say the least. Most money today fits in our pockets, but communities around the world have used many different sizes and types of objects to facilitate exchange. Understanding how a certain material can hold economic value in a society provides valuable information to curious historians and inquisitive children alike. Monetary metaphors can even tell you the measure of a man, if you know what questions to ask; the most grounded individual might let having their head on a coin, commemorative or otherwise, go to their head.

Illustration: Resplendent quetzal bird, Guatemala, ca. 1923. National Museum of American History, Gift of The Honorable Charles E. Hughes; 20 quetzales coin, Guatemala, 1926. National Museum of American History, Gift of Robert Leon Hughes.

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Perspectives on History January 2023 Cover.


L. Renato Grigoli, editor
Laura Ansley, managing editor
Lizzy Meggyesy, research and publications assistant
Alexandra F. Levy, communications manager
Liz Townsend, manager, data administration and integrity