This is Brian Clevinger’s fault. I thought I’d take moment at the outset to blame him.
In addition to having a physics degree, having been nominated Eternal DM For Life amongst my gaming circle all the way back to elementary school, and a truly compendious amount of knowledge about Frank Herbert’s Dune, I am a geography/history lover like you wouldn’t believe. And, since age 8 going through all the change my dad pulled from the newspaper machines to roll them for the bank, I’ve been a coin collector. Combined, this has given me some odd insights into world history, particularly American, through the lens of our currency. An awful lot of our history is tied up in our money. This, of course, triggers rants that I hope are instructive. I will put them together in my Copious Free Time(TM), but here’s what I think needs to be shared:
Lesson One: HAWAII and Yellow Seal Bills – Once upon a time, America planned for the aftermath of wars.
Lesson Two: Gold – A quick and easy guide to your status among colonies. (Part I: America) (Part II: the Raj, Oceania, and the Canadas)
Lesson Three: Pieces of Eight – The Counter Reformation and 400 years of the same damn coin.
Lesson Four: Andrew Jackson – FUCK YOU, OL’ HICKORY. No really, FUCK YOU.
Lesson Five: Odd Denominations – Exactly why did the US have 3 cent pieces anyway?
Lesson Six: The Nickel – It used to be worth 3 cents.
Lesson Seven: Fast-tracking Statehood – Wanna be a state NOW? Find some gold or silver.
Lesson Eight: Banks – Really. Stop and think about it. What is a bank? What was a bank?
Lesson Nine: Faces – Though I love the Great Emancipator, there was a reason the original Coinage Act forbade the portrayal of actual people on our coins.