Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Banknotes in the form of slips of paper or bank slips were not means of payment in the Early Modern period but simply a promise of payment by the bank that had brought them into circulation. They became popular in the mid-17th century when the London goldsmiths first offered a wide range of modern banking services. Merchants and aristocratic landowners maintained an account with the goldsmith, which they used both for overdraft credit and for transfers.

The so-called goldsmith bankers discounted bills of exchange, IOUs and state papers (Discount), i.e. they cashed credit papers be…

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North, Michael, “Banknote”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_017316>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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