The Research

Curated by Manuel Chacón and Carlos Iza

April 2013  – December 2013

Banknotes, coins, and credit cards are the most well-known means of payment nowadays. Yet they have not always been the only ones. Other Kinds of Money: Tokens from Ecuador and Costa Rica displayed other means of payment, such as plantation, trade, and coffee tokens, as well as social coins and solidary units of exchange (UDIS, as per their acronym in Spanish), or notes issued and backed primarily by cooperatives.

Costa Rica and Ecuador both used tokens as they ventured into the world market to trade coffee — in the case of Costa Rica — and cocoa beans —in the case of Ecuador. Lack of low denomination currency forced landowners to mint their own coins — tokens, as it was ‒ to pay workers their wages.

The Exhibition

 This exhibition brought together 100 objects of Costa Rican numismatic heritage, as well as the Central Bank of Ecuador collection, including niter, general store, game, hotel, and telephone tokens, among others. “Social money” and UDIS  were also among the objects in the exhibit.