Coin composition tells story of Europe's Price Revolution

Anne-Marie Desaulty believes coins can tell a story. She and colleagues from the University of Lyon are using mass spectrometry to study isotopes of lead and copper found in coins of the 16th and 17th centuries in hopes of discovering the cause of the great Price Revolution.

The steady increase in inflation during the 16th and 17th centuries has been blamed on the influx of silver from Mexico, but Desaulty's study shows a different result: silver did not play an important role until the later in the 17th century.