FREE! Click here to Join FunTrivia. Thousands of games, quizzes, and lots more!
Quiz about Funny Money
Quiz about Funny Money

Funny Money Trivia Quiz


This is a quiz about unusual forms of money that people have used throughout the ages.

A multiple-choice quiz by daver852. Estimated time: 5 mins.
  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Quizzes
  4. »
  5. Hobbies Trivia
  6. »
  7. Collectibles
  8. »
  9. Coins and Banknotes

Author
daver852
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
372,972
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
371
Last 3 plays: japh (9/10), Guest 70 (10/10), Guest 99 (9/10).
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. The first coins were minted around 650 BC in the kingdom of Lydia, in modern day Turkey. Before the invention of money, people had to rely on trading in order to exchange goods and services. There is a special name given to these sorts of transactions, which do not involve money. What is it? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The first coins were rather crudely stamped lumps of a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver called electrum. But once coins were introduced, the idea spread rapidly. Soon almost every city-state in the Greek world was producing coins. Standardized weights and purity became the norm, and each city adopted a symbol that appeared on its coins. Sparta, however, was an exception. What sort of "funny money" did the Spartans use? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Rome was another city that did not begin producing what we would call coins until quite late in its history. What did the early Romans use as money? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. What unusual item was used as money by the Aztec civilization? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. One of the strangest forms of funny money has to be Rai stones. These are huge limestone discs, up to 12 feet across and weighing up to four tons, with a hole in the middle. Where in the world would you go if you wanted to see a Rai stone? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. If you think about it, the money we use every day is a kind of funny money - just pieces of paper. Yet we can trade them for almost anything, even gold and silver. Where was paper money first used? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Many people know that in 1943 the United States minted its one cent coins, or pennies, from zinc-plated steel. Fewer people realize that because of metal shortages during WWII, another coin had its composition changed. Which one was it? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Staying with WWII for the moment, you might run across a an old dollar bill with the word "HAWAII" written across the back of it. Why were these notes produced? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. In 1767, the British ship HMS Dolphin landed in Tahiti. It carried a variety of goods that the British thought the natives might value: beads, cloth, mirrors, etc. But what item, highly prized by the Tahitians, eventually developed into a most unusual kind of funny money used in transactions between the natives and the British? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Most of the funny money we've talked about belongs to bygone ages. But in 2009, a new form of funny money appeared: the first decentralized digital currency, which exists entirely hyperspace. It has no backing by any government, is not subject to control, and has no tangible assets. But it has seen rapid growth, and is now accepted by many merchants. What is this new type of funny money called? Hint



(Optional) Create a Free FunTrivia ID to save the points you are about to earn:

arrow Select a User ID:
arrow Choose a Password:
arrow Your Email:




Most Recent Scores
Apr 20 2024 : japh: 9/10
Apr 19 2024 : Guest 70: 10/10
Apr 19 2024 : Guest 99: 9/10
Apr 15 2024 : Guest 207: 5/10
Mar 17 2024 : Richard27: 6/10

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The first coins were minted around 650 BC in the kingdom of Lydia, in modern day Turkey. Before the invention of money, people had to rely on trading in order to exchange goods and services. There is a special name given to these sorts of transactions, which do not involve money. What is it?

Answer: Barter

Bartering is essentially exchanging one good or service for another another without any money changing hands. Some primitive societies still rely on barter as the basis of their economy, but it obviously has its limitations: Suppose you have a goat that I need, and I have a cow to trade you for it.

A cow is worth more than a goat, but nothing else you have interests me. The introduction of money made buying and selling much simpler, and it also made it easier to keep track of transactions.
2. The first coins were rather crudely stamped lumps of a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver called electrum. But once coins were introduced, the idea spread rapidly. Soon almost every city-state in the Greek world was producing coins. Standardized weights and purity became the norm, and each city adopted a symbol that appeared on its coins. Sparta, however, was an exception. What sort of "funny money" did the Spartans use?

Answer: Iron bars

The Spartan lawgiver, Lycurgus, frowned upon the use of money, believing that the accumulation of private wealth ran contrary to the interests of the state. The historian, Plutarch, wrote that Lycurgus "commanded that all gold and silver coin should be called in, and that only a sort of money made of iron should be current, a great weight and quantity of which was of but very little worth." It was also illegal to export this "iron money," which was called "obeloi." There were situations, of course, where the Spartans needed to use gold or silver, so they used coins minted elsewhere, but these were for the use of the state only, and private ownership was forbidden.

The Spartans didn't mint any coins until around 300 BC, and then only in very limited quantities to pay foreign mercenaries they hired to assist them in their various wars.

In Roman times, long after Sparta had ceased to be a major power, it minted bronze coins for local use.
3. Rome was another city that did not begin producing what we would call coins until quite late in its history. What did the early Romans use as money?

Answer: Lumps of cast bronze

There wasn't much silver in Italy, but there was a lot of copper, so the Romans adopted a monetary system based on bronze. In the earliest days of the Roman Republic, the currency was just odd lumps of cast bronze traded by weight, called "aes rude" (aes is the Latin word for bronze).

These eventually evolved into flat bars of bronze stamped with various symbols called "aes signatum," but they were still valued by weight. The first true coins did not appear until the 3rd century BC; called "aes grave," these were large bronze coins that were cast in molds, and weighed from 10 pounds down to a quarter of an ounce.

A short time later, Rome began producing struck silver coins, and the bronze coins were reduced in weight to become a token coinage.

In 211 BC, Rome introduced the silver denarius, a coin that would be produced for nearly 500 years.
4. What unusual item was used as money by the Aztec civilization?

Answer: Cocoa beans

When the Spanish conquered Mexico, they found that the Aztec economy was largely based on cocoa beans. The standard currency was a bag containing 24,000 beans - although, presumably, smaller quantities could be used to make small purchases. The Aztecs also used copper axes as money; one ax was equal to 8,000 cocoa beans.

The use of cocoa beans as money did not end with the Spanish conquest. In 1572, Henry Hawks, an English merchant who spent many years in Central America, wrote "cocoa goeth currently for money in any market or faire, and may buy any flesh, fish, bread or cheese, or other things." In isolated areas of Mexico and Central America the use of cocoa beans as money continued into the early 20th century.
5. One of the strangest forms of funny money has to be Rai stones. These are huge limestone discs, up to 12 feet across and weighing up to four tons, with a hole in the middle. Where in the world would you go if you wanted to see a Rai stone?

Answer: The Caroline Islands

Rai stones are found in Yap, a group of four islands in the western Pacific that form part of the Caroline Islands. There are various sizes of Rai stones. They are considered valuable because they were made from stone found mainly on Palau, an island 300 miles away.

They were difficult to carve, and even more difficult to transport back to Yap. The hole in the middle of the stone enabled a pole to pass through it so it could be carried. Once in place, the stones were seldom moved; there are people who keep track of who owns the various stones.

Modern currency has replaced Rai stones for for most commercial purposes, but they are still used today as dowries, in land transfers, and other transactions. No new Rai stones have been carved since 1929, in order to keep their value high.
6. If you think about it, the money we use every day is a kind of funny money - just pieces of paper. Yet we can trade them for almost anything, even gold and silver. Where was paper money first used?

Answer: China

Paper money, or banknotes, began to appear in China in the 7th century AD. At that time, most Chinese money was in the form of copper coins called "cash." These coins had a square hole in the middle, and one thousand coins were usually strung together to equal one silver "tael." Silver and gold were scarce in China, so most transactions were done using the copper cash coins, which were heavy and difficult to carry around. Chinese merchants began depositing their coins in banks, which would issue them a receipt showing the amount they had on deposit. The notes could be redeemed for the amount of cash they represented, and people soon began accepting them in lieu of the coins themselves. The central government eventually took over the printing of notes, and by the 13th century China had a nationwide standardized system of paper money. Marco Polo told about paper money (which the Chinese called "flying money") in the book about his travels. The first government issued paper currency did not appear in Europe until 1664, however, when Sweden began to issue banknotes.

Paper money was very convenient, but it also had some drawbacks. For one, it was easier and more profitable to counterfeit than coins. And it was also more fragile; coins might survive a fire, whereas paper money would not. But the concept caught on, and eventually led to the paper currency we use today.
7. Many people know that in 1943 the United States minted its one cent coins, or pennies, from zinc-plated steel. Fewer people realize that because of metal shortages during WWII, another coin had its composition changed. Which one was it?

Answer: Nickel

Both copper and nickel were considered important strategic metals during WWII; the copper was removed from pennies in 1943 for that reason. Since its inception in 1866, the nickel had been made of an alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel. In 1942, the composition was changed to 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese.

This odd combination was chosen because it would work in vending machines of the day - you could still buy a lot of things for a nickel in 1942! Because these coins were to be removed from circulation after the end of the war, a large letter "P" (Philadelphia), "D" (Denver), or "S" (San Francisco) was placed over the dome of Monticello on the coin's reverse to make them easy to identify. Unlike the penny, which was a one-year experiment, these coins were minted from 1942 through 1945.

The coins had a tendency to turn green or black after they had been in circulation for a while. You are unlikely to encounter any of these so-called "war nickels" in your pocket change today. Because of their high silver content, they are worth much more than their face value, and when silver prices spiked in the 1980s, most were melted down or hoarded by collectors.
8. Staying with WWII for the moment, you might run across a an old dollar bill with the word "HAWAII" written across the back of it. Why were these notes produced?

Answer: To prevent their use by the Japanese

When WWII started, it seemed that there was a real danger that the Hawaiian Islands might be captured by the Japanese. To prevent large quantities of American currency from falling into enemy hands, some $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills were overprinted with the word "HAWAII" in large letters on the back, and the Treasury seal was printed in brown ink.

These bills could only be used in Hawaii, and if the islands fell to the Japanese, they could quickly be demonetized by the Treasury Department. Most of these bills were destroyed after the war, and they are quite scarce today.

A similar series of bills was made for the use of U.S. troops in North Africa. Although the North Africa notes were not overprinted, they had a bright yellow Treasury seal instead of the normal blue seal in use at that time.
9. In 1767, the British ship HMS Dolphin landed in Tahiti. It carried a variety of goods that the British thought the natives might value: beads, cloth, mirrors, etc. But what item, highly prized by the Tahitians, eventually developed into a most unusual kind of funny money used in transactions between the natives and the British?

Answer: Nails

The Tahitians had learned the value of iron decades before; in 1722, a wrecked ship had washed up on the shore, and they had stripped it of its metal fittings. When HMS Dolphin arrived in 1767, its crew found two things to be true: Tahitian women were very beautiful; and they were willing to sleep with the sailors in return for a single nail. Sailors being what they are, before long the ship's carpenter reported that his entire supply of nails had been stolen.

The demand for nails was so brisk that one of the officers wrote: "Every iron cleat on the ship was gone, and most of the men had abandoned their hammocks and were sleeping on the deck because their hammock nails had been removed." When Captain Cook arrived two years later, the same thing happened; he wrote numerous orders forbidding his crew to trade nails or anything else made of iron with the natives, under the threat of severe punishment.

His orders seem to have been largely ignored.
10. Most of the funny money we've talked about belongs to bygone ages. But in 2009, a new form of funny money appeared: the first decentralized digital currency, which exists entirely hyperspace. It has no backing by any government, is not subject to control, and has no tangible assets. But it has seen rapid growth, and is now accepted by many merchants. What is this new type of funny money called?

Answer: Bitcoin

I do not understand Bitcoins at all. This is probably because I am an old geezer, and there are a lot of computer related things I don't understand. Basically, Bitcoins are a form of computerized currency invented by "Satoshi Nakamoto" in 2009. The name is believed to be a pseudonym for the real inventor or inventors.

There are supposed to be a total of 21 billion Bitcoins in existence. They are found by running complex computer programs in a process called "mining," and can also be bought and sold on the open market. Bitcoins were originally valued at a few cents, but in November, 2013 the value of a Bitcoin peaked at $1,242.

Its value dropped sharply in the months that followed. Bitcoin values are very volatile; one person has estimated that a single Bitcoin may someday be worth $1 million; others have said that Bitcoins are basically a type of Ponzi scheme and will someday be worthless. Who knows? Many merchants now accept payment in Bitcoins, and some charities accept Bitcoins as donations.
Source: Author daver852

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor WesleyCrusher before going online.
Any errors found in FunTrivia content are routinely corrected through our feedback system.
4/22/2024, Copyright 2024 FunTrivia, Inc. - Report an Error / Contact Us