Museum of American Finance Hosts Talk on "A Nation of Counterfeiters" with Author Stephen Mihm

April 17, 2008

Press Contact: Kristin Aguilera, Communications Director, 212-908-4695

New York, NY – On Thursday, April 17, the Museum of American Finance will continue its 2008 Henry Kaufman Financial History and Practices Lecture/Symposia Series with a talk by author Stephen Mihm on A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men, and the Making of the United States. The program will be held from 5:30 – 7:00 pm in the Museum’s education center, located at 48 Wall Street. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session, book signing and reception. Admission is free for Museum members and costs $15 for non-members. Working members of the press will be admitted free of charge. Reservations are required; for information or reservations contact Lindsay Seeger at 212-908-4110 or

About the Book
Few of us question the slips of green paper that come and go in our purses, pockets and wallets. Yet confidence in the money supply is a recent phenomenon: prior to the Civil War, the United States did not have a single, national currency. Instead, countless banks issued paper money in a bewildering variety of denominations and designs – more than 10,000 different kinds by 1860. Counterfeiters flourished amid this anarchy, putting vast quantities of bogus bills into circulation.

Their success, Stephen Mihm reveals, is more than an entertaining tale of criminal enterprise: it is the story of the rise of a country defined by a free-wheeling brand of capitalism over which the federal government exercised little control. It was an era when responsibility for the country’s currency remained in the hands of capitalists for whom “making money” was as much a literal as a figurative undertaking. A Nation of Counterfeiters is a trailblazing work of history, one that casts the country’s capitalist roots in a startling new light.

About the Museum of American Finance
The Museum of American Finance, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is the nation’s only public museum dedicated to finance, entrepreneurship and the free open market system. With its extensive collection of financial documents and objects, its seminars and educational programming, its publication and oral history program, the Museum portrays the breadth and richness of American financial history, achievement and practices. The Museum is now open in its new home at 48 Wall Street. Public hours are Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is $8; $5 for students/seniors; kids 6 and under free.