Money, Money & More Money

Money, Money and More Money

Courtesy of: The Museum of American Finance

While the words “Wall Street” and “money” are often synonymous in the public’s mind, never before has that relationship been truer than now. Hundreds of the most beautiful and rare examples of American paper money are now on view in Lower Manhattan at the Museum of American Finance (48 Wall Street). The notes are part of one of the country’s largest and most unique currency collections, which is on public display for the first time ever in “America in Circulation: A History of US Currency Featuring the Collection of Mark R. Shenkman.” The exhibit opened April 15.

Since colonial times, American money has told a fascinating and detailed story of the country’s struggles and successes. Pivotal moments in history have led to changes in the nation’s money, as crises have brought about innovation. Local and national currencies often competed and coexisted with each other, while economic depression, war and counterfeiting drove constant advances in design.

The exhibit features approximately 250 notes spanning from the colonial era to the present day. Visitors are encouraged to explore them in more depth through large interactive touch screen displays. Highlights include rare examples of currency bearing the signatures of signers of the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence; a complete set of notes from the Educational Series of 1896, renowned for being the most beautiful paper money in American history; and uncommon examples of high denomination notes, including $5,000 and $10,000 bills.

Alongside “America in Circulation,” the Museum is currently featuring “Legal Tender,” a solo exhibition of the work of Philadelphia-based artist Emily Erb consisting of 12 large-scale flag paintings depicting US paper money produced from 1862 through the present. Many of the hand-painted silk flags depict notes featured in the “America in Circulation” exhibition.

“America in Circulation” will be on view through March 2018, and “Legal Tender” will be on view through August 2015. For more information, visit www.moaf.org.

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