Money creators. Who decides what’s money? Special exhibition at the Money Museum curated by the numismatic collection, running from 30 June 2021 to 29 May 2022

Who actually has the right to create and issue money? And how has this balance evolved and changed over the course of history? These are the questions at the heart of the numismatic collection’s current special exhibition.

We are used to seeing money as a public good created and controlled by the state, generally by the central bank. “Most people probably don’t even really notice the signature of the incumbent ECB president on the euro banknotes. But it is precisely this feature which serves as an expression and affirmation of the very special task which independent central banks in the Eurosystem perform,” remarked Bundesbank Executive Board Member Johannes Beermann, speaking at the opening ceremony.

If we cast an eye back in time, we find that this was not always consistently the case in other eras and cultural contexts. The outward appearance of money has always changed, and with it the people and institutions who decide what counts as money. Life is increasingly going digital – a development to which the monetary system is by no means immune. Time will tell what lies in store.

The numismatic collection puts the spotlight on those people and institutions that can lay claim to the title “money creator”: aurei minted by Roman emperors, pfennigs of medieval rulers, banknotes from private banks, currency notes issued by businesses and a rol of feather money are among the exhibits on show.

Visitors can explore the special exhibition during Money Museum opening hours, Sunday to Friday from 9:00 to 17:00. The current rules on visiting during COVID-19 can be found on the Money Museum website.