Absa Money Museum, Johannesburg
Home to the largest collection of money used in South Africa’s past in the world, Absa Money Museum lies in downtown Johannesburg on Troye Street. The ABSA Money Museum is the only banking and money museum in the country, and holds a fascinating history of how economic, political and social change can dramatically affect a currency.
Absa Money Museum’s historical records stretch all the way back to the beginnings of Johannesburg, and displays ranges from fairly early money forms, like cowrie shells and Venetian glass beads, through to gold coins recovered from sunken ships. The scientific study of money and its history, or Numismatics, is the essence of the museum’s displays. Learn about bank-related crime, how to use an ATM, and what it means to save whilst viewing the museum’s collection of over 600 money boxes.
Of course, the Absa Money Museum also covers the history of the banking giant in depth, and one can trace the history of Absa and the development of money in South Africa and its financial history.
Whilst we think of money as coins, banknotes, credit cards and cheques, in the past people traded with commodity money, like salt, seashells, metal and animals. In essence, this type of proto-money had the same basic attributes as money today - scarce and not easily counterfeited. Money has been in use for the last 4500 years, long before people learnt to write. And in fact the use of trading red ochre in Swaziland, for instance, may date back at least 100 000 years.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08h30 to 16h00
Address: 15 Troye Street, Johannesburg
Telephone: +27 (0)11 350-4167
Cost: Entrance is free
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