Numismatic Museum of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru

(Informative Panels)

Antecedents of Modern Bills

The use of metal coins in Asia and Europe can be traced back to 800 B.C. In the 15th century, Venetian merchants introduced new instruments, such as bills of exchange, to facilitate trade. Private banks, which appeared in the 17th century, issued bills exchangeable for precious metal and extended loans to businesses and governments. However, due to disruptive episodes such as wars, as well as lack of regulation, banks often failed to honor their bills, creating public distrust in them.

Modern Bills

By the end of the 19th century, the world’s main governments had developed bank regulations and started to establish independent central banks to guarantee convertibility and regulate money issuance, thus restoring public trust in bills as international means of payment. Later, convertibility into gold or silver was replaced by a fiduciary system; i.e., based entirely on trust and confidence.

This room showcases bills issued by the world’s central banks (although some private bank issuances are also included).

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