The History of the Wallet

The wallet has changed and evolved over many centuries, but it is still one of the most widely used items the world over with many iterations. Here’s a brief history.

The first wallet

The oldest wallet was found on Otzi the Iceman who lived in 3300BC; this leather wallet contained flints a tool and some tinder, but no money!

Source: | Blog

Ancient Greece

Wallets were viewed with distaste in Ancient Greece as they were seen as a way for the poor to carry their provisions around with them; it was an impoverished look.

ancient-greece-history-of-walletSource: | fuul size

Anglo Saxons

In the 10th century Anglo Saxons began to carry wallets which contained currency as well as other regular, day to day items.

anglo-saxons-history-of-walletSource: | Website

Love in the 15th Century

In the 15th century men gave their new brides purses as wedding gifts; they were often embroidered with a love story for that extra romantic touch! Both men and women wore purses during this era and it was not uncommon that the more expensive ones would be embroidered with gold.

15th-history-of-walletSource: | Website | Wallet pic 01 | Wallet pic 02

The modern wallet

By the time the 17th century came around, the modern wallet had been invented and this was in response to the advent of paper currency being introduced. They were made from leather (usually cow or horse) and would also contain ID cards or “calling cards”.

17th-history-of-walletSource: | Website | Full size

19th Century

British folk were now more likely to carry a purse as opposed to a wallet as their wages were paid in coin rather than notes; purses were simply more practical. In fact of 75% of the population had never even seen a pound coin let alone paper money!

19th-history-of-walletSource: | Website | Full size


From the 50’s onwards, the modern, bi-fold wallet became popularised. This was due to the ever increasing reliance on credit and debit cards; wallets haven’t changed a great deal since!

50s-bi-fold-history-of-walletSource: | Website | Full size

The future

Smart phones and tablets are already helping use to have e-wallets; expect the trend to move further along in this direction in the future.

e-wallet-e-payment-history-of-walletSource: | Full size

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