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Money Folklore by Misty DeGrave

Welcome to GCU’s Money Talk, a bi-monthly blog giving fun information and tips on money.  At GCU we are here for our members and like to have fun helping our communities.  In this month’s article you will learn a little about the origin of money and some weird superstitions of the world.  In our next GCU Money Talk we will give you tips on how to save on having your own garden, it’s easier than you think!

Can you believe the first type of currency was shells?  The shells were primarily used in China and India, and by American Indians. The American Indians used the shells as ceremonial gifts, embroidered onto decorated belts and other garments. By the end of the 6th century metal currency started being adopted throughout the region.  Once you have coins, you need a mint and the first recorded mint was in the 7th century, in Turkey.  The coins were bean shaped and marked on one side with a lion head.  China was the first to experiment with paper money, during the Five Dynasties period.  By the end of the 15th century, in China, inflation had become such a problem that paper currency was abolished in the Ming Empire.

Now that we have some info on the beginning of currency, let’s learn some of the superstitions about money. According to the Greeks, money attracts more money, so it’s bad luck to completely empty your pockets, wallet, or account.  In Turkey if you hold gold in your hand during a dream, you will earn money in real life.  On the Caribbean islands of Trinidad & Tobago, some believe that spotting a brown spider or grasshopper in your home means you will get money.  The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary even has an entry called “money spider”.  In China, the ancient art of Feng Shui has several beliefs about how to achieve financial prosperity.  For instance: adding plants with round leaves (especially with red or purple flowers) is believed to enhance your wealth areas, while opening the doors is believed to invite wealth in.

Who would like to know how to grow a money tree?  Yes, there really is a money tree, but it will not bloom real money. Legend has it that a poor Taiwanese farmer found a small Pachira plant growing in his fields one day.  The farmer found it so beautiful, that he started to sell them at market.  The poor farmer became very wealthy from the plant, so he dubbed it the money tree.

Now, to end with some facts you may not have known.  In Ben Franklin’s day, people repaired torn bills with a needle and thread, money was cloth, not paper.  The first U.S. cents were 100% copper, while todays pennies are 95% zinc and it costs $2.41 to make a penny.  Sailors used to pass the time by banging the edges of coins with the heel of a spoon, then cut the middle out of the thickened rims to make rings for their loved ones.  The $10,000 bill was the largest made, as of 2009 there are only 336 left in the world.  A stack of $1 bills, a mile high, would be $14.5 million dollars.  The earliest record of forgery was by Polycrates of Samos, he used fake gold coins to pay his debt to Sparta.

We hope you have been entertained, and maybe, even learned something new about money.  Please check out our blog often for new promotions, articles and tips on saving and more.  Please stop in at any of our 6 locations to learn more about us and the services we offer and how we can help you save and grow as a member.

 

 

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