The MoneyMuseum at Hadlaubstrasse is open each Friday (except on holidays) from 10 am to 5 pm as well as Mo-Fri for guided tours after booking in advance (phone 044 242 76 80, prices on request).
You can book guided tours of the following exhibitions*:
* On the screens most of the exhibits are also described in English.
"Traditional Currencies from Africa, Asia and Oceania"
Here we show you money made of jewellery, feathers or other materials, and other means of payment from indigenous people.
"Spear Money from West Africa"
Here we document the development from tools, or rather weapons, into money.
"Chinese Currency History"
Here we document the development from the cowry snail into the cash coin.
Here you find picture tours about the exhibitions in the ground floor.
"Bitcoin - the new digital currency?"
The Birth of Bitcoin
Bitcoin evolved from several currents of thought. We trace the most important ideas here and show how they influenced this new virtual currency.
Mining Equipment und Storage
Here we show how Bitcoins are produced and stored.
Where can I spend Bitcoins?
How and where Bitcoin can be spent for various products and services.
12 picture tours on the theme of Bitcoin
Learn the Bitcoin basics, including how to open a Bitcoin account, make and receive payments and how to use a Bitcoin wallet.
The texts on this platform are available for preprocessing or revision.
On show are a manual coin press, a drop hammer, a screw press and a rolling mill. In addition, there is a coin vending machine at your disposal by which a 20-rappen coin can be overstruck with the MoneyMuseum's own currency.
"Money in the Roman Republic".
Money in the Roman Republic
Theme 1: War is Father of all things
- Subject 1: The Army and the State
Roman Republican administration relied on the organization of the army. The organization of the central people`s assembly resembled that of the army. It elected the highest officials of the state who possessed both civil and military power.
- Subject 2: Gods of War
A major part of the Roman Pantheon dealt with warfare. The Romans did not have any brutal and militaristic god though. Their gods were only concerned with defence. Mars, for instance, protected the fields, the cattle and the family of the farmer. The bloody sacrifice of the October horse was linked to the harvest.
In Roman view, the gods granted victory only to those who showed pietas. Pietas was more than piety. It was the commitment to perform all traditional rites to the letter.
- Subject 3: Of Coins and Wars
All major changes in Roman coinage hark back to the necessities of war. During the Samnite Wars, Rome adapted its own system to the Greek coinage system and commissioned Greek artists with the production of Greek-style coins. The biggest monetary reform of ancient history was triggered by the war against Hannibal. It gave birth to the denarius that was to be in circulation for almost 500 years.
Theme 2: Struggle for Power
- Subject 1: Cursus Honorum
The central political power in Rome was the Senate. It was hierarchically organised. In theory, all members of the senate had a vote. The decisions made by the Senate were effectively decided only by those senators who had previously held both the most and the highest offices. Every ambitious Roman thus tried to acquire an office as high as possible.
- Subject 2: The Election
State officials were elected in two legislative assemblies. Candidates for the minor offices were elected by the Comitia Populi Tributa, which was organized according to tribal affiliation, while those for the important offices were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, the century assembly.
- Subject 3: Personal Ties
Political decisions - whether in the Senate or the people`s assembly were made against the backdrop of lasting obligations. Anyone who rendered a favour was entitled to receive support in return. This connection was passed down from generation to generation.
- Subject 4: A Good Pedigree is Half the Battle
A crucial prerequisite for a politician`s advancement was his descent from a prominent family which had already rendered outstanding services to the state in the past. An important ancestor was considered a recipe for his descendant likewise achieving great things. The best promotion, therefore, was to praise one`s ancestor`s deeds.
- Subject 5: Money as a Means of Policy
The more generously a politician funded public investments with his own money, the more prestige he won. No matter whether the money was spent on lavish games, a costly building or grain supplies - his descendants bragged about those investments for generations to come.
- Subject 6: Where Does the Money Come from?
Anyone who got elected to a public office lost a lot of money. It was only possible for an office holder to recoup his outlays when he was sent abroad or to war. Then he could take profits - through legal and illegal operations.
Theme 3: The Caecilii Metellii: A Textbook Case of Success
The family of the Caecilii Metillii was one of the most successful players in the game for power. Over the course of three centuries, 20 consuls, two high priests and four censors emerged from this clan and that is naming just the most prestigious offices. Hardly any other family had as many connections and clients as the Caecilii Metellii. For any one member of the family, a political career was certain.
Theme 4: The Era of the Imperators: A System Hits the Wall
Rome`s many wars made the Empire rich and powerful. At the same time, they demanded more military recruits, for a longer term of service, than a citizen`s militia could provide. Legionary became a profession. The legionaries became clients of their commanders and, as Roman citizens, supported them in every election. A victorious military commander hence accumulated as much power as the Roman Senate.
Theme 5: Caesar`s Ingenious Policy
- Subject 1: Debtor of the Mighty
Caesar came from an old, yet politically insignificant, family. He did not exploit any familial connections but money as never before in order to secure his own advancement. The money he borrowed from the most powerful politicians of his era. They were then compelled to support him in turn, making sure that, eventually, they would get back their loans with interest.
- Subject 2: Debtor of the Up-and-Coming
The Gallic War initiated by Caesar made him one of the wealthiest men in Rome. He made good use of his money and lend it to thrusting politicians who needed it for making a career. Caesar could count on their support in the Senate and thus prevailed against his opponents.
- Subject 3: Revolution of the Reactioneries
Caesar`s politics had completely altered the traditional power structures in the Senate. Under him, holding high offices did not go hand in hand with great political influence anymore. Decisions were made by Caesar alone. And even those whose rise he had funded felt betrayed.
Theme 6: Struggle for Succession
- Subject 1: Caesar`s Heirs
In the aftermath of Caesar`s death, more than one party tried to assume power. On the one side were men like Cicero, Brutus or Cassius, who tried to rebuild the system of the former Republic. On the opposite side were men like Marc Antony and, most importantly, Octavian, who were keen on assuming Caesar`s power themselves. Still others, like the son of Pompey the Great, merely wanted control over a smaller part of the Empire. After more than ten years of civil war, and after hundreds of thousands had been displaced or killed, Octavian emerged as Caesar`s successor. As emperor, he called himself Augustus.
- Subject 2: Augustus buys Rome
His conquests had made Augustus the richest man of the Roman Republic. He could afford to finance everything hitherto funded by the entire Roman aristocracy. Thus, every Roman citizen became his client and Augustus unchallenged sole ruler.
Theme 7: Pater Patriae or How can Rome be fed?
- Subject 1: Conquests
The Roman emperor became the guarantor of the well-being of Rome`s citizens. They expected him to organize lavish games, commission magnificent buildings and always provide enough grain to assure a livelihood. For all of that he needed money, as for the legionaries` pay and the salaries in the imperial administration. The easiest way to raise money was war. Making new provinces always provided Rome with rich war booty.
- Subject 2: Taxation
In addition, the Roman emperors expanded the system of taxation. Every citizen in the provinces was obliged to pay not only taxes to his native town but a fixed tax per head to the Roman Empire, complemented by a share of his agricultural production. To levy all-encompassing taxes, censuses were carried out regularly.
The Roman Empire did not only possess the world`s first national budget but likewise had systematic tax declarations valid in the whole Empire.