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Metallism is the expression for a monetary value theory that states that the value of money (mostly in the case of coins ) corresponds to the value of its material or, more recently, in the case of banknotes, its cover value and not its face value . Metallism prefers the Kurant coins to the divisional coins . This attitude still plays a role with precious metals today : if the currency standard is based on a precious metal, it is called monometallism , if gold and silver are used, it is called bimetallism . Metallism is assigned to economic realism . The opposite of metallism is nominalism .

In the Middle Ages, coins were weighed to determine their value. Medieval authorities often increased the money supply when there was a shortage of money, which led to inflation . In order to believe in face values ​​regardless of a specific medium, one must have trust in the issuer of the money and in his security against forgery . These were the prerequisites for the acceptance of banknotes since the 19th century as a historical overcoming of metallism.


  • Werner Ehrlicher: Monetary Theory , in: Concise Dictionary of Economics , ed. Willi Albers, Anton Zottmann, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1982, vol. 3, p. 376.

Individual evidence

  1. Helmut Kahnt, Bernd Knorr: Old dimensions, coins and weights. A lexicon. Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1986, licensed edition Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-411-02148-9 , p. 388.
  2. Werner Ehrlicher u. a. (Ed.): Kompendium der Volkswirtschaftslehre, vol. I, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1975, p. 354.