What Money Did They Use in Medieval Times?

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Medieval currency was divided among numerous regional denominations of cash and account money, which was used exclusively for calculating large transactions and did not exist in any physical form. According to Boise State University, sums computed using account money were routinely converted into whatever currency was favored locally by a money changer.

The currencies used by Europeans during the Middle Ages were generally minted in silver or base metals. Gold coins were in circulation, but these were mainly old Roman coins, Byzantine currency or Islamic money. New gold coins, florins, began to be pressed in Florence in 1252, according to Boise State University. The most common coins of the time were small silver pennies, known as pence in England, pfennigs in Germany and denari by the Italian states. Four pence made a big penny, or groat. Higher denominations were the shilling, the pound and the ducat.

Account money came into use as early as the 9th century, and its use became common after the 13th. This money made accounting with large sums easier, as the bookkeepers of the Middle Ages generally had to work without the concept of zero. This money was counted in denominations of the libra, pfund and mark.