China is a country that you really wouldn’t call communistic today. The current Chinese superpower is far from what the country was in the 1950s and 60s. The country is still highly authoritarian with only one accepted political party and with limitations in for example freedom of speech. Economically speaking the country is acting far from the ideals of Marx, but this is what has given the country its international success. But when it comes large parts of the country’s population the development have been devastating. Wealth in China is increasing hand in hand with pollution.
The country has certainly made an interesting journey during this past century, but whenever change is happening too quickly the man featured on this 100 yuan banknote has always been mentioned as an ideal to strive back to. This is Mao Zedong (1893-1976) who lead the communist party during the civil war that followed the Second World War. The communists were victorious and the country would change down to its foundations. Mao is a well-known figure, both from his portrait at Tiananmen Square in Beijing and pieces of art by Warhol. In China many see him as a symbol for the old and better way that existed before the economical reformations. As with many communist leaders they often get a nostalgic aura surrounding them. Let’s not forget that Mao was responsible for the murders of millions of dissident, the starvation of millions during the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) and the destruction of cultural treasures during the Culture Revolution (1966-1976).
Now we got three bankotes left…
Earlier this week I made a daytrip to the Swedish capital – Stockholm. Stockholm is a city with about 1 million inhabitants (1,4 million if you count the suburbs) and it spreads over two sides of Lake Mälaren and some islands in between. My favorite part of Stockholm is Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and this is where I spent most of my time. A tradition for me, when visiting Stockholm, is to visit The Royal Coin Cabinet a museum dedicated to currency and of course coins. I go there either to visit the museum or to get my hands dirty among the random coins that are for sale. I often leave the museum with a couple of new coins that I’ve found. Here are some photos from The Royal Coin Cabinet.
The entrance to The Royal Coin Cabinet. Its Swedish name is Kungliga Myntkabinettet.
The museum is located next to the Royal Palace. This is the resident of the Swedish King and Queen.
It’s in this chest that I get my hands dirty when looking for coins that I want for my collection.
Coins from the classical antiquity – ancient Greece and Rome.
A piece of Swedish plate money from the 17th century. Sweden had the largest copper production in Europe at the time. In order to have coins that matched the value of silver they were made into these huge pieces of metals with stamps showing their value. This is a 1 daler “coin”.
And this piece of plate money is considered the largest coin the world (that has actually been used to pay with). This one is also from the 17th century and it’s extremely heavy. I tried to lift one and I barely managed it.
Coins and banknotes from all over the world.
This little boy is found in a small courtyard near the coin cabinet and he’s often referred to as “Iron boy” or “Boy that looks at the moon”. It’s common for tourists and visitors to stroke him over the head and leave a coin by him (the coins are later collected for charity). This day there were a lot of rubles and euros. Someone had also put a hat on his head so he wouldn’t freeze.
If you want to know more about The Royal Coin Cabinet you can follow this link!
Filed under Coins, Culture
Moldova is an ex-soviet state which gained its independence with the fall of the USSR in 1990/1991. Since the independence Moldova has had quite a troublesome time. The country hasn’t had the same economic development like successful ex-soviet states such as Estonia, and Moldova is today considered to be one of Europe’s poorest countries. It’s been politically unstable as well. Just a couple of years ago, in 2009, the parliament was besieged by angry protesters. Fortunately Moldova has been spared by the type of dictatorship still present in Belarus.
Unfortunately I would have to say that Moldova is one of Europe’s most anonymous countries. A minority of people in Sweden knows the location of the country and fewer knows the name of the capital Chișinău (many people think that this is hard to pronounce). It’s sad, because I think that the country has a lot to offer, with a rich and diverse culture and history.
The Moldovan coat of arms is featured on the coin, and my favorite part of is the small cross in the eagle’s beak. The bani is the subunit of the Moldovan leu.
One last thing that I need to say about Moldova is that they always have very catchy song in the Eurovision Song Contest (a music competition with European countries represented by one song each). This song is from Moldova’s first year in the competition. In translation it’s called: Grandmamma Beats the Drum.
Filed under Coins, Culture
11 years ago the world changed drastically. On this day a large portion of the world turned to fear and prejudice instead of reason. On this day many people lost their lives and many people are continuing to do that. Violence feeds violence, and will continue to do so until we start using other means of solving our differences.
Here is a state quarter (25 cent) from the state New York. This coin was minted 11 years ago in 2001. 1788 is the year when Ney York became a member of the union. The coin features George Washington on the obverse side (like all quarters) and on the reverse side you can see the outlines of the state with the Hudson River and the Erie Canal marked on it. In the foreground stands the Statue of Liberty. Through history New York has been the first place that immigrants come to when looking for a better life in America, it is because of this that the caption “Gateway to freedom” is featured on the coin.
Filed under Coins, Culture