Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Debasement
(797 words)

As long as monetary value depended on precious metal content in the early modern period, there was a risk even for the smallest copper coins of debasement, that is, an erosion of precious metal content while the nominal value remained unchanged. Gresham's Law, named for (if not actually formulated by) the English merchant and founder of the London Stock Exchange, summed up the general trend in coin money: “Bad money drives out good” [5]. The chief reasons for the displacement of coins with high precious metal content by those of reduced purity were rising pr…

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Schneider, Konrad, “Debasement”, 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 19 August 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_024343>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170626



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