We’re writing the year 44 before Christ in the Roman Empire. The old man sits in his workshop. He is sweating, but very focused on the little pieces of bronze in front of him.
Quintus is one of the most gifted minters and he loves his work. He learned the craft from his father. Even when he was a little boy, he would watch his father mint coins & it fascinated him.
He had so much passion for his work, that it almost felt boring at times to only mint coins, but it was great business and he was lucky to have a good & stable income these days.
Still, when Julius Caesar became the new Emperor and decided to be the first person alive whose profile had to be minted on the coins, Quintus was more than excited. Finally a new challenge!
He wanted Julius Caesar to be pleased by his great work of art. Although Quintus wasn’t sure, Caesar would even acknowledge his work, he was extremely motivated.
So he sat in his workshop, day in and day out, minting coins with pure focus, as if nothing else was important anymore…
“Money is evil. It does spoil the character.” the mother said to her daughter.
We’re now writing the year 1997 and a little, 10 year old girl shows her mother the 12 dollars she earned for cleaning up front yards with her friends.
She was so proud of her work & the very grateful neighbors. But now the feeling of guilt and having done something wrong by accepting money came over her.
“Money is simply a resource. It is metal & plastic – nothing of true value.” the business coach taught his client.
A jump into the present. The woman, who just learned money had no true value, thought about the call with her coach. Something seemed off. Yes, money is plastic, metal or paper, but it is the common & human-made currency. For centuries. We do not exchange animals or produce for another animal or another produce – money is needed in order to afford things.
Meanwhile, Quintus finished his best coin so far. He improved the profile a bit, so it looks even more like Caesar & he is so proud. “I can’t wait to show Galla, my beautiful wife will be proud of me – and maybe we will celebrate with some meat for dinner. I love my craft & the artwork I am here to create.” he thinks to himself, whilst on his way home.
Is money really evil? Or is it irrelevant? Or could it be a piece of art?
There are no minters, who are proud of their work anymore and every coin and paper looks the same. But it is up to every one of us, what we see in money and how we perceive it.
I never liked to think it was evil, although that’s what I learned from my family. I never believe it was irrelevant, because IT SIMPLY IS NOT.
I choose to see it as a necessity in life, but a beautiful one, a little piece of art. And if you have a closer look, you can find little details on coins & bank notes.
Or think about what even the ancient cultures used to mint on their coins: their emperors or before that, their gods. The German bank notes used to show important personalities who shaped our culture as well – not much has changed, has it?
I choose to be happy about every coin and I like to remember, that a simple coin used to have a huge meaning to one old minter back in the days.