Harley Spiller on "Keep the Change"

Harley Spiller on \

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 | 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Harley J. Spiller – the Museum's own “Inspector Collector” – began collecting money at age five when, home sick from school, his father tossed him a sack of pennies and a Whitman coin folder. In the five decades since, Spiller has amassed one of America’s most extensive collections of unusual financial artifacts, as well as a wealth of anecdotes and quirky historical details about US currency. He says, “I see my collection as a cache that cannot be counted in standard ways. It’s not about money; it’s about what can be learned from money.”

In Keep the Change (Princeton Architectural Press April 2015), Spiller explains why greenbacks are green, what happens to worn-out bills, how artists navigate the fine line between art and mutilation and whether it’s ever acceptable to burn money. This highly selective tour through currency legends and lore will inspire readers to look with a new sense of wonder at the bills that pass through their hands every day.