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Representative money

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U.S. $50 gold certificate

Representative money or receipt money is any medium of exchange, printed or digital, that represents something of value, but has little or no value of its own (intrinsic value). Unlike some forms of fiat money (which may have no commodity backing), genuine representative money must have something of intrinsic value supporting the face value.[1]

More specifically, the term representative money has been used variously to mean:

There is no concrete evidence that the clay tokens used as an accounting tool to keep track of warehouse stores in ancient Mesopotamia were also used as representative money. [5][6] However, the idea has been suggested.[1]

In 1895 economist Joseph Shield Nicholson wrote that credit expansion and contraction was in fact the expansion and contraction of representative money.[7]

In 1934 economist William Howard Steiner wrote that the term was used "at one time to signify that a certain amount of bullion was stored in the Treasury while the equivalent paper in circulation" represented the bullion.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Robert A. Mundell, The Birth of Coinage, Discussion Paper #:0102-08, Department of Economics, Columbia University, February 2002.
  2. ^ Jon Hooks, Economics:fundamentals for financial services providers, p. 201 ISBN 0-89982-494-3, ISBN 978-0-89982-494-9 Retrieved September 9, 2009
  3. ^ a b William Howard Steiner, Money and banking, p. 30, H. Holt and company, 1941.
  4. ^ John Maynard Keynes (1965) [1930]. "1. The Classification of Money". A Treatise on Money. Vol. 1. Macmillan & Co Ltd. p. 7. Fiat Money is Representative (or token) Money (i.e something the intrinsic value of the material substance of which is divorced from its monetary face value)
  5. ^ Denise Schmandt-Besserat, Tokens: their Significance for the Origin of Counting and Writing
  6. ^ Keynes, J.M. (1930). A Treatise on Money. Volume I, p. 13
  7. ^ Joseph Shield Nicholson, A treatise on money and essays on monetary problems], Chapter VI, Effects of Credit or "Representative Money" on prices, pp. 72–74, A. and C. Black, 1895.