Cash is King!  Long Live Cash!

I went to five markets this weekend, starting off Friday evening at the Philadelphia Antiques Market (its called a show, but in essence is a market) to wander among some of the most resplendent stalls on this green earth.
There were some incredible offerings and a lot of five and six figure price tags, and of course, no one was paying ‘cash’. Lamenting the loss of cold (or warm) hard cash as a means of tactile exchange, I began to wonder, just how did cash actually become the ‘means’ of exchange?
Upon even the most simple web investigation (google – ‘cash’), one learns there have been many forms of exchange, including a type of cash from the Viking era called ‘hacksilver’ – literally pieces of silver hacked from god-knows-what sorts of decorative bits and bobs, keepsakes and the like. Surprisingly, none of the muckety-mucks at the antique market had a clue about hacksilver – so my quest to find, and perhaps buy, a piece of hacksilver was uh, shortchanged.Continuing the market rendezvous on Sunday morning at Reading Terminal Market, I ran into Larry Laszlo, the peripatetic market photographer from Denver. We jaunted off to take pictures of the Headhouse Market shed and the empty Spring Garden Farmers Market Hall) then I went off alone to the Italian Market to get my kicks watching and photographing hand-to-hand exchanges of coins and bills.

Are these mundane exchanges of cash in danger of going the way of hacksilver if we continue to push plastic and electronics as means of exchange? Let’s hope not.

Markets have always been bastions of cash – requiring the touching of hands and reassuring eye-to-eye glances of agreement at the moment of exchange.

And need one convince any market seller that cash is inherently of greater value than plastic and electro-transmitted money?

Long live cash and tangible exchanges!

Top photo – Hacksilver from the Cuerdale Hoard in the British Museum -(The Cuerdale Hoard is the largest Viking silver hoard ever found outside Russia and exceeds in number of pieces and weight any hoard found in Scandinavia or any other western areas settled by the Vikings.)
Info from Wikipedia

Bottom photo – cash exchange at Philadelphia’s Italian Market

April 11, 2011