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Absa Money Museum, Johannesburg CBD

Absa Money Museum, Johannesburg CBD

The Absa Money Museum is the place to get an understanding of how financial transactions in South Africa progressed from the exchange of highly prized goods such as salt, seashells, metal and animals for services rendered over 4500 years ago, to the modern banking we have today.

The only banking museum in the country, the Absa Museum houses a collection of various forms of money used through South African history, including cowrie shells, Venetian glass beads and gold coins recovered from sunken ships.

Thus, from the tokens paid to miners for use at the neighbouring trading store, to a spectrum of banknotes (for example, those used in concentration camps, the siege notes of Mafeking and Koffiefontein, and the canvas sack notes issued in Upington) to the highly prized veldponde (both real and forged) and beyond, the Absa Money Museum maps out a history of South Africa – not only that of money, and of the development of banking and finance, but also, that of the country.

The exhibition includes an overview of monetary currencies, and shows how currency strength was determined before stock markets existed. Other interesting exhibits cover the history of technology in South African banking, including internet and cellphone banking, bank-related crimes, the history and usage of ATMs and the advent of the credit card.

The history of the Absa Group is also displayed in the museum, tracking its progression from start-up to one of the big 5 banks.

The museum is open Monday to Friday (08:30 – 16:00), but closed on public holidays. Access is free. Please remember to bring your ID for entry into the building. A tour guide is provided for groups (maximum of 15 people and booking is essential), and the Museum also specialises in tours for the hearing impaired.

Address: Barclays Towers West, 15 Troye St, Marshalltown, Johannesburg. +27 (0)11 350 4167 +27 (0) 11 350 4000.

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