The dramatic recent increase in the number of Carolingian coin finds offers significant new insights into the political, social and economic history of the period. Coins were produced in larger numbers, circulated more widely, and were used more commonly than has been assumed, though not in all regions. There was thus a range of regional economies which themselves changed over time. Many finds can be linked to trade, both long-distance and local. A remarkably high degree of political and economic control is evident under the empire, but broke down in the 840s, and was only restored in West Francia.