Coins in Books

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I came across this 17th century image of jeweler/money-lender – one and the same at that time. I was fascinated by the coins stored in what appear to be bound books.  It reminds me of a cheap magic trick that I had as a kid.  You put a coin in the appropriate slot and then with ‘slight of hand’ turned the apparatus around and when you slid the drawer open, Voila! the coin had vanished.  Are the coins meant to be hidden from a thief?  Very curious!


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