Sep 11 – 16, 2022
University of Warsaw
Europe/Warsaw timezone

Graffiti on money – theoretical considerations

Sep 16, 2022, 11:00 AM
Old Library - Hall 115-116

Old Library - Hall 115-116


Elisabeth Günther (Universität Trier)


This paper will provide the theoretical framework for the session’s topic “Graffiti on money: Cultural practices from ancient to modern times”. Coins and banknotes embody abstract concepts of value and exchange, depending on their economic, political, cultural, and social contexts. Simultaneously, they are part of material culture – objects – that interact with their recipients and users respectively. Due to their material qualities, they preserve and store secondary alterations such as writings, scratches, erasures, and graffiti, thus mirroring a “biography”. Such alterations, including graffiti, are phenomena which occur from ancient to modern times, depending on the materiality of coins/banknotes and the knowledge and expectations of their users. These factors will be modelled with the theoretical concepts of “affordances” and “frames”, to shape a methodological approach to the study and discussion of graffiti on coins. Finally, this approach will be illustrated with different examples from ancient to modern times.

Primary author

Elisabeth Günther (Universität Trier)

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