The (brief) history of the wallet

Une petite histoire du portefeuille

We revealed here all the secrets of leatherwork, from its first appearance to its consecration as a technique for luxury items. Today, we propose to study one of its flagship items, the one that seduced us and makes Cardiem live today... the wallet!

The appearance of the first coins in Europe

The first coins appeared in the sixth century BC, during the reign of Pheidon (or Phidon), the king of Argos, a Greek city. Pheidon, known for his tyranny as well as his military inclinations, also instituted a reform to standardise weights and measures: he determined the standard weight of the iron coins used as money. Legend says that he was the creator of the very first coin in Europe. To store these coins, which were then simple pieces of metal, purses were invented: they were the ancestor of the wallet as we know it now. 

From the first coins to the first paper documents

The Treaty of Westphalia, signed in 1648, established modern political boundaries delineating states, as we know them today. The consecration of states led to the creation of identity documents that everyone had to be able to present, at any time. In order for one to have access to their ID in any situation, small folders were quickly made. The wallet was born!

The rise of wallet manufacturing

These small folders quickly became not only an object dedicated to storing paper documents and currency, but also a fashion accessory. With the rise of cash use, and then the advent of credit cards in the twentieth century, these wallets became equipped with various pockets and other compartments designed to optimise storage. New shapes, new materials and new colors appeared, which completed the transformation of the wallet into a true fashion object. 

The wallet today

In leather, fabric, foam, to slip into your pocket, to digitalise or even to attach to your phone (hello Cardiem), you now have thousands of models at your disposal to store what matters the most!