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The Art of North Carolina Money

Poster for the Art of North Carolina Money physical exhibit

Few of us give much thought to the appearance of the money we carry with us each day. It comes from one source—the United States government—and exhibits few variations in design. But years ago, until the time of the Civil War (1861-1865), money was produced by a variety of private institutions in addition to central and local governments. The issuance of money from all of these different sources was confusing, leaving people  unsure how to distinguish the good from the bad.

Money issuers discovered long ago that an attractive object is more readily accepted than a homely one, so they embellished the money with artwork in the form of vignettes, or pictorial elements. Some of the artwork was just for eye appeal; some had symbolic or local meaning. This exhibition, drawn from the North Carolina Collection, looks at the art of North Carolina’s money, tokens, and medals.

This exhibit is based on a 2014 exhibition in the North Carolina Collection Gallery curated by Linda Jacobson and Bob Schreiner. 

This site was last updated September 21, 2022.