Playing with Money:
currency and games

18 April 2019 – 29 September 2019


Room 69a


Recommend this exhibition

This exhibition looks at how modern board games, educational toys, gambling and role-playing games reflect, inform and shape our understanding of economics and money.

The 20th century witnessed the transformation of money from precious metals to paper, from credit cards to crypto-currencies, all against a fluctuating financial backdrop. These changes are chronicled in the evolution of childhood games from the 19th century to the present.

Discover new acquisitions of toy and board game money, including recognisable classics such as Monopoly, as well as notes from other games. Many have economic themes and cover subjects from buying and selling paintings, investing in railways to playing the stock market. Often they comment on society and economics: Class Struggle is a Marxist critique of capitalism, Ratrace satirises consumerism and Black Friday is a comment on the 2008 financial crash.

Elsewhere in the exhibition, a fully stocked toy shop from the 1930s and decimalisation games from the 1960s, remind us that playing with money is essential for understanding how the world works. The exhibition playfully shows how skills and experiences we acquire in our formative years inform our adult lives.

Stack of board games:
For Sale © F.X. Schmid, Black Friday © Kosmos, Speculation © Queen Games, Modern Art © Hans im Glück, Stockmarket! © Jordan Games, Pay Day © Hasbro, Das Börsenspiel © Ravensburger, 1829 © Hartland Trefoil, Ratrace © Hasbro, Go for Broke! © Hasbro, Flutter © Mattel, Stock Ticker © Copp-Clark, Finance and Fortune © Hasbro, Totopoly © Hasbro.