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A coin is a small, flat (usually depending on the country or value), round piece of
metal A metal (from ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electrical resistivity and conductivity, e ...

metal
or
plastic Plastics are a wide range of synthetic polymers, synthetic or semi-synthetic materials that use polymers as a main ingredient. Their Plasticity (physics), plasticity makes it possible for plastics to be Injection moulding, moulded, Extrusion, e ...

plastic
used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender. They are standardized in weight, and produced in large quantities at a mint in order to facilitate trade. They are most often issued by a
government
government
. Coins often have images, numerals, or text on them. ''Obverse'' and its opposite, ''reverse'', refer to the two flat faces of coins and
medal
medal
s. In this usage, ''obverse'' means the front face of the object and ''reverse'' means the back face. The obverse of a coin is commonly called ''heads'', because it often depicts the head of a prominent person, and the reverse ''tails''. Coins are usually made of metal or an
alloy An alloy is a mixture of chemical elements of which at least one is a metal. Unlike chemical compounds with metallic bases, an alloy will retain all the properties of a metal in the resulting material, such as electrical conductivity, ductility, ...
, or sometimes of man-made materials. They are usually disc shaped. Coins, made of valuable metal, are stored in large quantities as
bullion coin Bullion is non-ferrous metal that has been refined to a high standard of elemental purity. The term is ordinarily applied to bulk metal used in the production of coins and especially to precious metals such as gold and silver. It comes from ...
s. Other coins are used as
money
money
in everyday transactions, circulating alongside
banknote
banknote
s. Usually the highest value coin in circulation (excluding bullion coins) is worth less than the lowest-value note. In the last hundred years, the face value of circulation coins has occasionally been lower than the value of the metal they contain, for example due to
inflation
inflation
. If the difference becomes significant, the issuing authority may decide to withdraw these coins from circulation, possibly issuing new equivalents with a different composition, or the public may decide to melt the coins down or
hoard
hoard
them (see Gresham's law). Exceptions to the rule of face value being higher than content value also occur for some bullion coins made of ''copper,
silver
silver
, or
gold
gold
'' (and rarely other metals, such as
platinum
platinum
or
palladium
palladium
), intended for collectors or investors in precious metals. Examples of modern gold collector/investor coins include the British sovereign minted by the United Kingdom, the American Gold Eagle minted by the United States, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf minted by Canada, and the Krugerrand, minted by South Africa. While the Eagle, and Sovereign coins have nominal (purely symbolic) face values, the Krugerrand does not. Historically, a considerable variety of
coinage metals The coinage metals comprise, at a minimum, those metallic chemical elements which have historically been used as components in alloys used to mint coins. The term is not perfectly defined, however, since a number of metals have been used to mak ...
(including alloys) and other materials (e.g.
porcelain Porcelain () is a ceramic material made by heating Chemical substance, substances, generally including materials such as kaolinite, in a kiln to temperatures between . The strength and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pot ...
) have been used to produce coins for circulation, collection, and metal investment: bullion coins often serve as more convenient stores of assured metal quantity and purity than other bullion.


Ancient History


Bullion and unmarked metals

Metal
ingots An ingot is a piece of relatively pure material, usually metal A metal (from ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous a ...
, silver bullion or unmarked bars were probably in use for exchange among many of the civilizations that mastered metallurgy. The weight and purity of bullion would be the key determinant of value. In the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
in the early 6th century BC, coinage was yet unknown. The
barter In trade, barter (derived from ''baretor'') is a system of exchange in which participants in a transaction directly exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. Economists d ...
system, as well as silver
bullion Bullion is non-ferrous metal that has been refined to a high standard of chemical element, elemental purity. The term is ordinarily applied to bulk metal used in the production of coins and especially to precious metals such as gold and silver. ...
were used instead for trade. The practice of using silver bars for currency also seems to have been current in
Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the c ...
from the 6th century BC.Discovery of a hoard of currency with silver bars near Malayer, dated circa 600 BCE, with photographs in Coins were an evolution of "currency" systems of the
Late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze, the presence of writing in some areas, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second prin ...
, where standard-sized
ingot An ingot is a piece of relatively pure material, usually metal, that is Casting, cast into a shape suitable for further processing. In steelmaking, it is the first step among semi-finished casting products. Ingots usually require a second procedu ...
s, and tokens such as knife money, were used to store and transfer value. Phoenician metal ingots had to be stamped with the current ruler to guarantee is worth and value, which is probably how stamping busts and designs began.


Tongbei in Bronze Age China (c. 1100 BC)

In the late
Chinese Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze, the presence of writing in some areas, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second prin ...
, standardized cast tokens were made, such as those discovered in a tomb near
Anyang Anyang (; ) is a prefecture-level city in Henan province of China, province, China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north resp ...
. These were replicas in bronze of earlier Chinese currency,
cowrie Cowrie or cowry () is the common name In biology, a common name of a taxon or organism (also known as a vernacular name, English name, colloquial name, country name, popular name, or farmer's name) is a name that is based on the normal ...
shells, so they were named Bronze Shell.


China Henan Coin Factory (c. 640 – 550 BC)

The worlds oldest coin factory is excavated in the ancient city ''Guanzhuang'' in
Henan Henan (; or ; ; Chinese postal romanization, alternatively Honan) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of China, in the Central China, central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (), which literall ...
province in
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...
. The factory produced shovel-shaped bronze coins between 640 B.C. and 550 B.C., which is the oldest securely dated minting site.


Iron Age


Lydian and Ionian electrum coins (c. 600 BC)

The earliest coins are mostly associated with
Iron Age Anatolia The prehistory of Anatolia stretches from the Paleolithic erahttp://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/science-stone-tool-turkey-02370.html through to the appearance of classical civilisation in the middle of the 1st millennium BC. It is generally rega ...
of the late 7th century BC, and especially with the kingdom of
Lydia Lydia (Lydian language, Lydian: ‎𐤮𐤱𐤠𐤭𐤣𐤠, ''Śfarda''; Aramaic: ''Lydia''; el, Λυδία, ''Lȳdíā''; tr, Lidya) was an Iron Age Monarchy, kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the mod ...
. Early
electrum Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, with trace amounts of copper and other metals. Its color ranges from pale to bright yellow, depending on the proportions of gold and silver. It has been produced artificially, and ...
coins (an alluvial alloy of gold and silver, varying wildly in proportion, and usually about 40–55% gold) were not standardized in weight, and in their earliest stage may have been ritual objects, such as badges or medals, issued by priests. The unpredictability of the composition of naturally occurring electrum implied that it had a variable value, which greatly hampered its development. Most of the early Lydian coins include no writing ("myth" or "inscription"), only an image of a symbolic animal. Therefore, the dating of these coins relies primarily on archaeological evidence, with the most commonly cited evidence coming from excavations at the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, also called the Ephesian Artemision (which would later evolve into one of the
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, also known as the Seven Wonders of the World or simply the Seven Wonders, is a list of seven notable structures present during classical antiquity. The first known list of seven wonders dates back to the 2 ...
). This was the site of the earliest known deposit of electrum coins. Anatolian Artemis was the Πὀτνια Θηρῶν (''Potnia Thêrôn'', "Mistress of Animals"), whose symbol was the
stag Deer or true deer are hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family (biology), family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the red deer, and the fallow deer; and the Capreolinae, inclu ...
. It took some time before ancient coins were used for commerce and trade. Even the smallest-denomination electrum coins, perhaps worth about a day's subsistence, would have been too valuable for buying a loaf of bread. Maybe the first coins to be used for retailing on a large-scale basis were likely small silver fractions, Hemiobol,
Ancient Greek coinage The history of ancient Greek coinage can be divided (along with most other Greek art forms) into four periods: the Archaic Greece, Archaic, the Classical Greece, Classical, the Hellenistic Greece, Hellenistic and the Roman provincial currency, ...
minted by the Ionian Greeks in the late sixth century BC. In contrast
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, , }; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided in ...
mentioned the innovation made by the Lydians: And both
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
(fr. 611,37, ed. V. Rose) and Pollux (Onamastikon IX.83), mention that the first issuer of coinage was Hermodike/Demodike of Cyme. Cyme was a city in Aeolia, nearby Lydia. Many early Lydian and Greek coins were minted under the authority of private individuals and are thus more akin to tokens or badges than to modern coins, though due to their numbers it is evident that some were official state issues. The earliest inscribed coins are those of
Phanes Phanes ( grc, Φάνης, Phánēs, genitive ) or Protogonus () was the mystic primeval deity of procreation and the generation of new life, who was introduced into Greek mythology by the Orphism (religion), Orphic tradition; other names for ...
, dated to 625–600 BC from
Ephesus Ephesus (; grc-gre, Ἔφεσος, Éphesos; tr, Efes; may ultimately derive from hit, 𒀀𒉺𒊭, Apaša) was a city in ancient Greece on the coast of Ionia, southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in t ...
in
Ionia Ionia () was an ancient region on the western coast of Anatolia, to the south of present-day Izmir. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greeks, Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the I ...
, with the legend ΦΑΕΝΟΣ ΕΜΙ ΣHΜΑ (or similar) (“I am the badge/sign/mark of Phanes/light”) or just bearing the name ΦΑΝΕΟΣ (“of Phanes”). The first electrum coins issued by a monarch are those minted by king
Alyattes of Lydia Alyattes (Lydian language: ; grc, wikt:Ἀλυάττης, Ἀλυάττης ; reigned c. 635-585 BC), sometimes described as Alyattes I, was the fourth king of the List of kings of Lydia#Mermnadae, Mermnad dynasty in Lydia, the son of Sadyatt ...
(died c. 560 BC), for which reason this king is sometimes mentioned as the originator of coinage.


Croesus: Pure gold and silver coins

The successor of Alyattes, king
Croesus Croesus ( ; Lydian language, Lydian: ; Phrygian language, Phrygian: ; grc, :wikt:Κροῖσος, Κροισος, Kroisos; Latin: ; reigned: c. 585 – c. 546 BC) was the Monarch, king of Lydia, who reigned from 585 BC until his Siege of Sar ...
(r. c. 560–546 BC), became associated with great wealth in Greek historiography. He is credited with issuing the ''
Croeseid The Croeseid, anciently ''Kroiseioi stateres'', was a type of coin, either in gold or silver, which was minted in Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian language, Lydian: 𐤳𐤱𐤠𐤭𐤣 ''Sfard''; el, Σάρδεις ''Sardeis''; peo, Sp ...
'', the first true
gold coin A gold coin is a coin that is made mostly or entirely of gold. Most gold coins minted since 1800 are 90–92% gold (22fineness#Karat, karat), while most of today's gold bullion coins are pure gold, such as the Britannia (coin), Britannia, Canad ...
s with a standardized purity for general circulation. and the world's first bimetallic monetary system c. 550 BC. Coins spread rapidly in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, leading to the development of
Ancient Greek coinage The history of ancient Greek coinage can be divided (along with most other Greek art forms) into four periods: the Archaic Greece, Archaic, the Classical Greece, Classical, the Hellenistic Greece, Hellenistic and the Roman provincial currency, ...
and
Achaemenid coinage The Achaemenid Empire issued coins from 520 BCE–450 BCE to 330 BCE. The Persian daric was the first gold coin which, along with a similar silver coin, the siglos (from grc, σίγλος, he, שֶׁקֶל, ''shekel, shékel'') represented the f ...
, and further to
Illyrian coinage Illyrian coinage which began in the 6th century BC continued up to the 1st century of Ancient Rome, Roman rule. It was the southern Illyrians who minted the first coins followed by the northern Illyrian during the Roman era. Illyrian coins have als ...
.


Achaemenid coinage (546–330 BC)

When
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁 ), commonly known as Cyrus the Great, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the History of Iran, first Persian empire.#refachaemenids-EI, Schmitt Achaemenid dynasty ...
(550–530 BC) came to power, coinage was unfamiliar in his realm. Barter and to some extent silver
bullion Bullion is non-ferrous metal that has been refined to a high standard of chemical element, elemental purity. The term is ordinarily applied to bulk metal used in the production of coins and especially to precious metals such as gold and silver. ...
was used instead for trade. The practice of using silver bars for currency also seems to have been current in
Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the c ...
from the 6th century. Cyrus the Great introduced coins to the Persian Empire after 546 BC, following his conquest of
Lydia Lydia (Lydian language, Lydian: ‎𐤮𐤱𐤠𐤭𐤣𐤠, ''Śfarda''; Aramaic: ''Lydia''; el, Λυδία, ''Lȳdíā''; tr, Lidya) was an Iron Age Monarchy, kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the mod ...
and the defeat of its king
Croesus Croesus ( ; Lydian language, Lydian: ; Phrygian language, Phrygian: ; grc, :wikt:Κροῖσος, Κροισος, Kroisos; Latin: ; reigned: c. 585 – c. 546 BC) was the Monarch, king of Lydia, who reigned from 585 BC until his Siege of Sar ...
, who had put in place the first coinage in history. With his conquest of Lydia, Cyrus acquired a region in which coinage was invented, developed through advanced metallurgy, and had already been in circulation for about 50 years, making the Lydian Kingdom one of the leading trade powers of the time. It seems Cyrus initially adopted the Lydian coinage as such, and continued to strike Lydia's lion-and-bull coinage. Original coins of the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
were issued from 520 BC – 450 BC to 330 BC. The Persian Daric was the first truly Achaemenid
gold coin A gold coin is a coin that is made mostly or entirely of gold. Most gold coins minted since 1800 are 90–92% gold (22fineness#Karat, karat), while most of today's gold bullion coins are pure gold, such as the Britannia (coin), Britannia, Canad ...
which, along with a similar silver coin, the
Siglos The Achaemenid Empire issued coins from 520 BCE–450 BCE to 330 BCE. The Persian daric was the first gold coin which, along with a similar silver coin, the siglos (from grc, σίγλος, he, שֶׁקֶל, ''shekel, shékel'') represented the f ...
, represented the bimetallic monetary standard of the
Achaemenid Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
.Michael Alram
"DARIC"
''
Encyclopaedia Iranica An encyclopedia (American English) or encyclopædia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either general or special to a particular field or discipline. Encyclopedias are divided into article ( ...
'', December 15, 1994, last updated November 17, 2011


=Coinage of Southern Asia under the Achaemenid Empire

= The Achaemenid Empire already reached the doors of
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
during the original expansion of
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁 ), commonly known as Cyrus the Great, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the History of Iran, first Persian empire.#refachaemenids-EI, Schmitt Achaemenid dynasty ...
, and the
Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley The Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley occurred from the 6th to 4th centuries BCE, and saw the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid Empire take control of regions in the northwestern Indian subcontinent that predominantly comprise the ter ...
is dated to c. 515 BC under
Darius I Darius I ( peo, wiktionary:𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; grc-gre, Δαρεῖος ; – 486 BCE), commonly known as Darius the Great, was a List of monarchs of Persia, Persian ruler who served as the third King o ...
. An Achaemenid administration was established in the area. The
Kabul hoard The Kabul hoard, also called the Chaman Hazouri, Chaman Hazouri or Tchamani-i Hazouri hoard, is a coin hoard discovered in the vicinity of Kabul, Afghanistan in 1933. The collection contained numerous Achaemenid coins as well as many Ancient Greec ...
, also called the Chaman Hazouri hoard, is a coin hoard discovered in the vicinity of
Kabul Kabul (; ps, , ; , ) is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. Located in the eastern half of the country, it is also a municipality, forming part of the Kabul Province; it is administratively divided into #Districts, 22 municipal dist ...
,
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
, containing numerous
Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
coins as well as many
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
coins from the 5th and 4th centuries BC.: "The most important and informative of these hoards is the Chaman Hazouri hoard from Kabul discovered in 1933, which contained royal Achaemenid sigloi from the western part of the Achaemenid Empire, together with a large number of Greek coins dating from the fifth and early fourth century BCE, including a local imitation of an Athenian tetradrachm, all apparently taken from circulation in the region." The deposit of the hoard is dated to the Achaemenid period, in approximately 380 BC. The hoard also contained many locally produced silver coins, minted by local authorities under Achaemenid rule. Several of these issues follow the "western designs" of the facing bull heads, a stag, or Persian column capitals on the obverse, and incuse punch on the reverse. According to numismatist
Joe Cribb Joe Cribb is a numismatist, specialising in Asian coinages, and in particular on coins of the Kushan Empire. His catalogues of Chinese silver currency ingots, and of ritual coins of Southeast Asia were the first detailed works on these subjects i ...
, these finds suggest that the idea of coinage and the use of punch-marked techniques was introduced to India from the Achaemenid Empire during the 4th century BC. More Achaemenid coins were also found in
Pushkalavati Pushkalavati ( ps, پشکلاوتي; Urdu: ; Sanskrit: ; Prakrit, Prākrit: ; grc, Πευκελαῶτις ) or Pushkaravati (Sanskrit: ; Pali, Pāli: ), and later Shaikhan Dheri ( ps, شېخان ډېرۍ; ur, ), was the capital of the Gand ...
and in
Bhir Mound The Bhir Mound ( ur, ) is an archaeological site in Taxila (modern), Taxila in the Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab province of Pakistan. It contains some of the oldest ruins of Taxila (ancient), Ancient Taxila, dated to sometime around the period 8 ...
. File:Achaemenid Empire coin. Uncertain mint in the Kabul Valley. Circa 500-380 BCE.jpg, alt=Punch-marked coin minted in the Kabul Valley under Achaemenid administration. Circa 500–380 BCE, or c.350 BCE., Punch-marked coin minted in the Kabul Valley under Achaemenid administration, c. 500–380 BC, or c. 350 BC."Extremely Rare Early Silver from the Kabul Valley", CNG 102, Lot:649
CNG Coins
File:Gandhara bent bar.jpg,
Gandhara Gandhāra is the name of an ancient region located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, more precisely in present-day north-west Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , ...
n "bent-bar" punch-marked coin minted under Achaemenid administration, of the type found in large quantities in the Chaman Hazouri and the
Bhir Mound The Bhir Mound ( ur, ) is an archaeological site in Taxila (modern), Taxila in the Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab province of Pakistan. It contains some of the oldest ruins of Taxila (ancient), Ancient Taxila, dated to sometime around the period 8 ...
hoards. File:Gandhara1.JPG, Early
punch-marked coins Punch-marked coins, also known as ''Aahat coins'', are a type of early coinage of India, dating to between about the 6th and 2nd centuries BC. It was of irregular shape. History The study of the relative chronology of these coins has successful ...
of Gandhara,
Taxila Taxila or Takshashila (; sa, तक्षशिला; pi, ; , ; , ) is a city in Punjab, Pakistan. Located in the Taxila Tehsil of Rawalpindi District, it lies approximately northwest of the Islamabad–Rawalpindi metropolitan area and ...
-
Gandhara Gandhāra is the name of an ancient region located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, more precisely in present-day north-west Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , ...
region.


Greek Archaic coinage (until about 480 BC)

According to
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
(fr. 611,37, ed. V. Rose) and Pollux (Onamastikon IX.83), the first issuer of Greek coinage was Hermodike of Kyme. A small percentage of early Lydian/Greek coins have a legend. The most ancient inscribed coin known is from nearby
Caria Caria (; from Greek language, Greek: Καρία, ''Karia''; tr, Karya) was a region of western Anatolia extending along the coast from mid-Ionia (Mycale) south to Lycia and east to Phrygia. The Ionians, Ionian and Dorians, Dorian Greeks coloniz ...
. This coin has a Greek legend reading ''phaenos emi sema'' interpreted variously as "I am the badge of Phanes", or "I am the sign of light". The Phanes coins are among the earliest of Greek coins; a hemihekte of the issue was found in the foundation deposit of the temple of Artemis at Ephesos (the oldest deposit of
electrum Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, with trace amounts of copper and other metals. Its color ranges from pale to bright yellow, depending on the proportions of gold and silver. It has been produced artificially, and ...
coins discovered). One assumption is that Phanes was a mercenary mentioned by Herodotus, another that this coin is associated with the primeval god
Phanes Phanes ( grc, Φάνης, Phánēs, genitive ) or Protogonus () was the mystic primeval deity of procreation and the generation of new life, who was introduced into Greek mythology by the Orphism (religion), Orphic tradition; other names for ...
or "Phanes" might have been an epithet of the local goddess identified with Artemis. Barclay V. Head found these suggestions unlikely and thought it more probably "the name of some prominent citizen of Ephesus". Another candidate for the site of the earliest coins is
Aegina Aegina (; el, Αίγινα, ''Aígina'' ; grc, Αἴγῑνα) is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina (mythology), Aegina, the mother of the hero Aeacus, who was born ...
, where Chelone ("turtle") coins were first minted c. 700 BC. Coins from
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest c ...
and
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, which is located in south-central Greece. Since the 2011 local government refor ...
appeared shortly thereafter, known to exist at least since the late 6th century BC. File:LYCIA, Phaselis. Circa 550-530-20 BC.jpg, Coin of
Phaselis Phaselis ( grc, wikt:Φασηλίς, Φασηλίς) or Faselis ( tr, Faselis) was a Ancient Greece, Greek and Ancient Rome, Roman city on the coast of ancient Lycia. Its ruins are located north of the modern town Tekirova in the Kemer district ...
, Lycia, c. 550–530/20 BC. File:LYCIA, Uncertain king. Circa 520-470-60 BC.jpg, Coin of Lycia, c. 520–470/60 BC. File:LYCIA, Uncertain. Circa 520-470-60 BC.jpg, alt=Lycia coin. Circa 520-470 BCE. Struck with worn obverse die., Lycia coin, c. 520-470 BC. Struck with worn obverse die. File:LESBOS, Unattributed Koinon mint. Circa 510-480 BC.jpg, Coin of
Lesbos Lesbos or Lesvos ( el, Λέσβος, Lésvos ) is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of with approximately of coastline, making it the third largest island in Greece. It is separated from Anatolia, Asia Minor ...
,
Ionia Ionia () was an ancient region on the western coast of Anatolia, to the south of present-day Izmir. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greeks, Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the I ...
, c. 510–80 BC.


Antiquity


Classical Greek antiquity (480 BC~)

The Classical period saw Greek coinage reach a high level of technical and aesthetic quality. Larger cities now produced a range of fine silver and gold coins, most bearing a portrait of their patron god or goddess or a legendary hero on one side, and a symbol of the city on the other. Some coins employed a visual pun: some coins from
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος , translit=Ródos ) is the largest and the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes (regional unit), Rhodes regional unit, w ...
featured a
rose A rose is either a woody perennial plant, perennial flowering plant of the genus ''Rosa'' (), in the family Rosaceae (), or the flower it bears. There are over three hundred Rose species, species and Garden roses, tens of thousands of cultivar ...
, since the Greek word for rose is ''rhodon''. The use of inscriptions on coins also began, usually the name of the issuing city. The wealthy cities of Sicily produced some especially fine coins. The large silver ''decadrachm'' (10-drachm) coin from
Syracuse Syracuse may refer to: Places Italy *Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse ( ; it, Siracusa ; scn, Sarausa ), ; grc-att, wikt:Συράκουσαι, Συράκουσαι, Syrákousai, ; grc-dor, wikt:Συράκοσαι, Συράκοσαι, Syrā́ ...
is regarded by many collectors as the finest coin produced in the ancient world, perhaps ever. Syracusan issues were rather standard in their imprints, one side bearing the head of the nymph Arethusa and the other usually a victorious
quadriga A () is a car or chariot drawn by four horses abreast and favoured for chariot racing in Classical Antiquity and the Roman Empire until the Late Middle Ages. The word derives from the Latin contraction of , from ': four, and ': yoke. The four- ...
. The tyrants of Syracuse were fabulously rich, and part of their
public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) to the public in order to influence their perception ...
policy was to fund
quadriga A () is a car or chariot drawn by four horses abreast and favoured for chariot racing in Classical Antiquity and the Roman Empire until the Late Middle Ages. The word derives from the Latin contraction of , from ': four, and ': yoke. The four- ...
s for the Olympic chariot race, a very expensive undertaking. As they were often able to finance more than one quadriga at a time, they were frequent victors in this highly prestigious event. Syracuse was one of the epicenters of numismatic art during the classical period. Led by the engravers Kimon and Euainetos, Syracuse produced some of the finest coin designs of antiquity. Amongst the first centers to produce coins during the Greek colonization of mainland Southern Italy (
Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; , , grc, Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, ', it, Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Roman people, Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy in the present-day Regions of Italy, Italian regions of Calabria, Apulia, Basilicat ...
) were
Paestum Paestum ( , , ) was a major Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia (southern Italy). The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 550 ...
,
Crotone Crotone (, ; nap, label= Crotonese, Cutrone or ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. It is the third-level administrative division of It ...
,
Sybaris Sybaris ( grc, Σύβαρις; it, Sibari) was an important city of Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; , , grc, Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, ', it, Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Roman people, Romans to the coastal areas of Southern ...
, Caulonia,
Metapontum Metapontum or Metapontium ( grc, Μεταπόντιον, Metapontion) was an important city of Magna Graecia, situated on the gulf of Taranto, Tarentum, between the river Bradanus and the Casuentus (modern Basento). It was distant about 20  ...
, and
Taranto Taranto (, also ; ; nap, label=Tarantino dialect, Tarantino, Tarde; Latin: Tarentum; Old Italian: ''Tarento''; Ancient Greek: Τάρᾱς) is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto, serving as an ...
. These ancient cities started producing coins from 550BC to 510BC. Amisano, in a general publication, including the Etruscan coinage, attributing it the beginning to about 560 BC in Populonia, a chronology that would leave out the contribution of the Greeks of Magna Graecia and attribute to the Etruscans the burden of introducing the coin in Italy. In this work, constant reference is made to classical sources, and credit is given to the origin of the Etruscan Lydia, a source supported by Herodotus, and also to the invention of coin in Lydia.Giuseppe Amisano, "Cronologia e politica monetaria alla luce dei segni di valore delle monete etrusche e romane", in: ''Panorama numismatico'', 49 (genn. 1992), pp. 15–20 File:ISLANDS off ATTICA. Aegina. Circa 456-45-431 BC.jpg,
Aegina Aegina (; el, Αίγινα, ''Aígina'' ; grc, Αἴγῑνα) is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina (mythology), Aegina, the mother of the hero Aeacus, who was born ...
coin type, incuse skew pattern, c. 456/45–431 BC File:MACEDON, Akanthos. Circa 470-430 BC.jpg, Coin of Akanthos,
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
, c. 470-430 BC. File:PAMPHYLIA, Aspendos. Circa 465-430 BC.jpg, Coin of
Aspendos Aspendos or Aspendus ( Pamphylian: ΕΣΤϜΕΔΥΣ; Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft'') is a space found directly below the pitched roof of a house or other building; an attic may also be called a ''sky parlor'' or a garr ...
,
Pamphylia Pamphylia (; grc, Παμφυλία, ''Pamphylía'') was a region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean to Mount Taurus (all in modern-day Antalya province, Turkey). It was boun ...
, c. 465–430 BC. File:KORKYRA, Korkyra. Circa 350-30-290-70 BC.jpg, Coin from Korkyra, c. 350/30–290/70 BC. File:CYPRUS, Paphos. Onasi(...). Mid 5th century BC.jpg, Coin of
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country located south of the Anatolian Peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Its continental position is disputed; while it is geo ...
, c. 450 BC.


Appearance of dynastic portraiture (5th century BC)

Although many of the first coins illustrated the images of various gods, the first portraiture of actual rulers appears with the coinage of
Lycia Lycia (Lycian language, Lycian: 𐊗𐊕𐊐𐊎𐊆𐊖 ''Trm̃mis''; el, Λυκία, ; tr, Likya) was a state or nationality that flourished in Anatolia from 15–14th centuries BC (as Lukka) to 546 BC. It bordered the Mediterranean ...
in the 5th century BC. No ruler had dared illustrating his own portrait on coinage until that time. The Achaemenids had been the first to illustrate the person of their king or a hero in a stereotypical manner, showing a bust or the full body but never an actual portrait, on their Sigloi and Daric coinage from c. 500 BC. A slightly earlier candidate for the first portrait-coin is
Themistocles Themistocles (; grc-gre, wikt:Θεμιστοκλῆς, Θεμιστοκλῆς; c. 524–459 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian politician and General officer, general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who ros ...
the Athenian general, who became a Governor of
Magnesia on the Meander Magnesia or Magnesia on the Maeander ( grc, Μαγνησία ἡ πρὸς Μαιάνδρῳ or ; la, Magnesia ad Maeandrum) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city in Ionia, considerable in size, at an important location commercially and str ...
, c. 465–459 BC, for the Achaemenid Empire, although there is some doubt that his coins may have represented
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=Genitive case, genitive Aeolic Greek, Boeotian Aeolic and Doric Greek#Laconian, Laconian grc-dor, Δεύς, Deús ; grc, Δέος, ''Déos'', label=Genitive case, genitive el, Δίας, ''D ...
rather than himself. Themistocles may have been in a unique position in which he could transfer the notion of individual
portrait A portrait is a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called the "matrix" or "support"). The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, suc ...
ure, already current in the Greek world, and at the same time wield the dynastic power of an Achaemenid dynasty who could issue his own coins and illustrate them as he wished. From the time of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
, portraiture of the issuing ruler would then become a standard, generalized, feature of coinage. File:IONIA, Magnesia ad Maeandrum. Themistokles reverse. Circa 465-459 BC.jpg, alt=Coin of Themistocles as Governor of Magnesia. Obv: Barley grain. Rev: Possible portrait of Themistocles. Circa 465–459 BC., Coin of
Themistocles Themistocles (; grc-gre, wikt:Θεμιστοκλῆς, Θεμιστοκλῆς; c. 524–459 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian politician and General officer, general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who ros ...
as Governor of Magnesia. ''Obv'': Barley grain. ''Rev'': Possible portrait of Themistocles, c. 465–459 BC. File:DYNASTS of LYCIA. Kherei. Circa 440-30-410 BC.jpg, Portrait of Lycian ruler Kherei wearing the Persian cap on the reverse of his coins (ruled 410–390 BC). File:DYNASTS of LYCIA. Erbbina. Circa 430-20-400 BC.jpg, Portrait of Lycian ruler Erbbina wearing the Persian cap on the reverse of his coins (ruled 390–380 BC). File:DYNASTS of LYCIA. Perikles. Circa 380-360 BC.jpg, Portrait of Lycian ruler Perikles facing (ruled 380-360 BC).


Indian coins (c. 400 BC – AD 100)

The
Karshapana Karshapana ( sa, कार्षापण, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit Sanskrit (; att ...
is the earliest punch-marked coin found in India, produced from at least the mid-4th century BC, and possibly as early as 575 BC, influenced by similar coins produced in
Gandhara Gandhāra is the name of an ancient region located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, more precisely in present-day north-west Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , ...
under the Achaemenid empire, such as those of the
Kabul hoard The Kabul hoard, also called the Chaman Hazouri, Chaman Hazouri or Tchamani-i Hazouri hoard, is a coin hoard discovered in the vicinity of Kabul, Afghanistan in 1933. The collection contained numerous Achaemenid coins as well as many Ancient Greec ...
, or other examples found at
Pushkalavati Pushkalavati ( ps, پشکلاوتي; Urdu: ; Sanskrit: ; Prakrit, Prākrit: ; grc, Πευκελαῶτις ) or Pushkaravati (Sanskrit: ; Pali, Pāli: ), and later Shaikhan Dheri ( ps, شېخان ډېرۍ; ur, ), was the capital of the Gand ...
and in
Bhir Mound The Bhir Mound ( ur, ) is an archaeological site in Taxila (modern), Taxila in the Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab province of Pakistan. It contains some of the oldest ruins of Taxila (ancient), Ancient Taxila, dated to sometime around the period 8 ...
.372. Lot: 658, Lot of two AR bent bars
CNG Coins. : "Silver bent-bar punch-marked coin of Kabul region under the Achaemenid Empire, c.350 BC: Coins of this type found in quantity in Chaman Hazouri and Bhir Mound hoards." (Commentary by
Joe Cribb Joe Cribb is a numismatist, specialising in Asian coinages, and in particular on coins of the Kushan Empire. His catalogues of Chinese silver currency ingots, and of ritual coins of Southeast Asia were the first detailed works on these subjects i ...
and
Osmund Bopearachchi Osmund Bopearachchi (born 1949) is a Sri Lankan historian and numismatist A numismatist is a specialist in numismatics ("of coins"; from Late Latin ''numismatis'', genitive of ''numisma''). Numismatists include collectors, specialist dealers, a ...
)


Chinese round coins (350 BC~)

In China, early round coins appeared in the 4th century BC and were adopted for all China by Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di at the end of 3rd century BC. The round coin, the precursor of the familiar cash coin, circulated in both the spade and knife money areas in the Zhou period, from around 350 BC. Apart from two small and presumably late coins from the State of Qin, coins from the spade money area have a round hole and refer to the ''jin'' and ''liang'' units. Those from the knife money area have a square hole and are denominated in ''hua'' (化). Although for discussion purposes the Zhou coins are divided up into categories of knives, spades, and round coins, it is apparent from archaeological finds that most of the various kinds circulated together. A hoard found in 1981, near Hebi in north Henan province, consisted of: 3,537 Gong spades, 3 Anyi arched foot spades, 8 Liang ''Dang Lie'' spades, 18 Liang square foot spades and 1,180 Yuan round coins, all contained in three clay jars.


Hellenistic period (320 BC – AD 30)

The
Hellenistic period In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after Classical Greece, between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as sig ...
was characterized by the spread of Greek culture across a large part of the known world. Greek-speaking kingdoms were established in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
, and for a time also in
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
and as far east as what is now
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
and northwestern
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
. Greek traders spread Greek coins across this vast area, and the new kingdoms soon began to produce their own coins. Because these kingdoms were much larger and wealthier than the Greek city states of the classical period, their coins tended to be more mass-produced, as well as larger, and more frequently in gold. They often lacked the aesthetic delicacy of coins of the earlier period. Still, some of the
Greco-Bactrian The Bactrian Kingdom, known to historians as the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom or simply Greco-Bactria, was a Hellenistic period, Hellenistic-era Hellenistic Greece, Greek state, and along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom, the easternmost part of the Helleni ...
coins, and those of their successors in India, the
Indo-Greeks The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known historically as the Yavana Kingdom (Yavanarajya), was a Hellenistic period, Hellenistic-era Ancient Greece, Greek kingdom covering various parts of Afghanistan and the northwestern r ...
, are considered the finest examples of Greek numismatic art with "a nice blend of realism and idealization", including the largest coins to be minted in the Hellenistic world: the largest gold coin was minted by Eucratides (reigned 171–145 BC), the largest silver coin by the Indo-Greek king Amyntas Nikator (reigned c. 95–90 BC). The portraits "show a degree of individuality never matched by the often bland depictions of their royal contemporaries further West" (Roger Ling, "Greece and the Hellenistic World"). File:Seleucus Nicator Ai Khanoum mint.jpg, alt=Seleucus Nicator (312–281 BCE), Ai Khanoum., Seleucus Nicator (312–281 BC),
Ai Khanoum Ai-Khanoum (, meaning ''Lady Moon''; uz, Oyxonim) is the archaeology, archaeological site of a Hellenistic city in Takhar Province, Afghanistan. The city, whose original name is unknown, was probably founded by an early ruler of the Seleucid E ...
. File:Antiochos I Soter Ai Khanoum mint.jpg,
Antiochus I Antiochus I Soter ( grc-gre, Ἀντίοχος Σωτήρ, ''Antíochos Sōtér''; "Antiochus the Saviour"; c. 324/32 June 261 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek king of the Seleucid Empire. Antiochus succeeded his father Seleucus I Nicator in 281 B ...
(281–261 BC),
Ai Khanoum Ai-Khanoum (, meaning ''Lady Moon''; uz, Oyxonim) is the archaeology, archaeological site of a Hellenistic city in Takhar Province, Afghanistan. The city, whose original name is unknown, was probably founded by an early ruler of the Seleucid E ...
. File:Coin of Antialkidas.jpg, Bilingual coin of
Indo-Greek The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known historically as the Yavana Kingdom (Yavanarajya), was a Hellenistic period, Hellenistic-era Ancient Greece, Greek kingdom covering various parts of Afghanistan and the northwestern r ...
king
Antialcidas Antialcidas Nikephoros ( grc, Ἀντιαλκίδας ὁ Νικηφόρος; epithet means "the Victorious", Brahmi: 𑀅𑀁𑀢𑀮𑀺𑀓𑀺𑀢𑀲 ''Aṃtalikitasa'', in the Heliodorus Pillar) was a king of the Indo-Greek Kingdom ...
(105–95 BC). File:Coin of the Bactrian King Agathokles.jpg, Bilingual coin of
Agathocles of Bactria Agathocles I Dicaeus ( grc, Ἀγαθοκλῆς Δικαῖος, Agathoklēs Dikaios, the epithet means "the just") was a Greco-Bactrian The Bactrian Kingdom, known to historians as the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom or simply Greco-Bactria, was a Hell ...
with
Hindu Hindus (; ) are people who religiously adhere to Hinduism.Jeffery D. Long (2007), A Vision for Hinduism, IB Tauris, , pages 35–37 Historically, the term has also been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for ...
deities, c. 180 BC.


Roman period (290 BC~)

Coinage followed Greek colonization and influence first around the Mediterranean and soon after to North Africa (including Egypt), Syria, Persia, and the Balkans. Coins came late to the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
compared with the rest of the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
, especially Greece and Asia Minor where coins were invented in the 7th century BC. The
currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, Wikt:currens, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" is a standardization of money in any form, in use or currency in circulation, circulation as a medium of exchange, for example ba ...
of central
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
was influenced by its natural resources, with
bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (including aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such ...
being abundant (the
Etruscans The Etruscan civilization () was developed by a people of Etruria in List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient Italy with a common language and culture who formed a federation of city-states. After conquering adjacent lands, its territory cover ...
were famous metal workers in bronze and iron) and ore being scarce. The coinage of the Roman Republic started with a few silver coins apparently devised for trade with Celtic in northern Italy and the Greek colonies in Southern Italy, and heavy
cast Cast may refer to: Music * Cast (band), an English alternative rock band * Cast (Mexican band), a progressive Mexican rock band * The Cast, a Scottish musical duo: Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis * ''Cast'', a 2012 album by Trespassers William * ...
bronze pieces for use in Central Italy. The first
Roman coins Roman currency for most of Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilisation of ancient Rome. Roman history has been influential on the modern world, especially in the hi ...
, which were crude, heavy cast bronzes, were issued c. 289 BC. Amisano, in a general publication, including the Etruscan coinage, attributing it the beginning to about 550 BC in Populonia, a chronology that would leave out the contribution of the Greeks of Magna Graecia and attribute to the Etruscans the burden of introducing the coin in Italy. In this work, constant reference is made to classical sources, and credit is given to the origin of the Etruscan Lydia, a source supported by Herodotus, and also to the invention of coin in Lydia. File:PupienusSest.jpg,
Sestertius The ''sestertius'' (plural ''sestertii''), or sesterce (plural sesterces), was an ancient Roman In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman people, Roman civilisation from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC ...
of Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus, AD 238 File:Flavian dynasty Aurei.png, Set of three Roman
aurei The ''aureus'' ( ''aurei'', 'golden', used as a noun) was a gold coin A gold coin is a coin that is made mostly or entirely of gold. Most gold coins minted since 1800 are 90–92% gold (22fineness#Karat, karat), while most of today's gold ...
depicting the rulers of the
Flavian dynasty The Flavian dynasty ruled the Roman Empire between AD 69 and 96, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian (69–79), and his two sons Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96). The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as ...
. Top to bottom:
Vespasian Vespasian (; la, Vespasianus ; 17 November AD 9 – 23/24 June 79) was a Roman emperor who reigned from AD 69 to 79. The fourth and last emperor who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors, he founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empir ...
,
Titus Titus Caesar Vespasianus ( ; 30 December 39 – 13 September 81 AD) was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death. Before becoming emperor, Titus gained renown as a milit ...
and
Domitian Domitian (; la, Domitianus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was a Roman emperor who reigned from 81 to 96. The son of Vespasian and the younger brother of Titus, his two predecessors on the throne, he was the last member of the Flavia ...
, AD 69–96 File:MithridatesIParthiaCoinHistoryofIran.jpg, Silver
Drachma The drachma ( el, wikt:δραχμή, δραχμή , ; pl. ''drachmae'' or ''drachmas'') was the currency used in Greece during several periods in its history: # An Ancient Greece, ancient Greek currency unit issued by many Greek city states du ...
of Mehrdad ( Mithridates I) of Persian Empire of
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in northeastern Greater Iran. It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the Medes ...
, 165 BC


Middle Ages

The first European coin to use
Arabic numerals Arabic numerals are the ten numerical digits: , , , , , , , , and . They are the most commonly used symbols to write Decimal, decimal numbers. They are also used for writing numbers in other systems such as octal, and for writing identifiers ...
to date the year in which the coin was minted was the St. Gall silver ''Plappart'' of 1424. File:Cunincpert tremissis 612190 reverse.jpg, Lombardic
Tremissis The tremissis or tremis (Byzantine Greek, Greek: τριμίσιον, ''trimision'') was a small solid gold coin of Late Antiquity. Its name, meaning "a third of a unit", formed by analogy with semissis (half of a unit), indicated its value rela ...
depicting Saint Michael, AD 688–700 File:BorandukhtCoinHistoryofIran.jpg, Silver coin of Borandukht of Persian
Sassanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests The early Muslim conquests ...
, AD 629 File:Silver Dirham.png,
Silver Dirham Silver is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ag (from the Latin ', derived from the Proto-Indo-European wikt:Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/h₂erǵ-, ''h₂erǵ'': "shiny" or "white") and atomic number 47. A soft, whi ...
of the
Umayyad Caliphate The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the ...
, AD 729; minted by using Persian Sassanian framework File:Al-Mu'tamid-coin.jpg,
Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ; ar, الْخِلَافَةُ الْعَبَّاسِيَّة, ') was the third caliphate to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was founded by a dynasty descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib ...
coin, c. 1080s File:Almoravid dinar 1138 631905.jpg,
Almoravid The Almoravid dynasty ( ar, المرابطون, translit=Al-Murābiṭūn, lit=those from the ribats) was an imperial Berber Muslim Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإس ...
coin, 1138–1139


Modern history

File:Wildermann thaler.jpg, Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Thaler A thaler (; also taler, from german: Taler) is one of the large silver coins minted in the states and territories of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg monarchy during the Early Modern period. A ''thaler'' size silver coin has a diameter of ...
minted in 1629 File:Genbun Inari Koban Kin.jpg, Japanese local currency
Genbun was a after ''Kyōhō'' and before ''Kanpō.'' This period spanned the years from April 1736 through February 1741. The reigning emperor was . Change of era * 1736 : To mark the enthronement of Sakuramachi, the era was changed to ''Genbun'' ...
Inari Koban Kin, c. 1736–1741 File:Potosì 8 reales 1768 131206.jpg, 1768 silver
Spanish Dollar The Spanish dollar, also known as the piece of eight ( es, Real de a ocho, , , or ), is a silver coin of approximately diameter worth eight Spanish reales. It was minted in the Spanish Empire following a monetary reform in 1497 with content ...
, or eight reales coin (the “piece of eight” of pirate fame), minted throughout the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its History ...
File:TURKEY, SULTAN MAHMUD II 1818 -2 RUMI GOLD b - Flickr - woody1778a.jpg, Ottoman coin, 1818 File:One Rupee East India Company.JPG, One Rupee coin issued by the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to Indian Ocean trade, trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subco ...
, 1835 File:Silver Coin of Jalaluddin.jpg, Silver coin of the Bengal Sultanate ruler Jalaluddin Muhammad


Value


Currency

Most coins presently are made of a
base metal A base metal is a common and inexpensive metal, as opposed to a precious metal such as gold or silver. In numismatics, coins often derived their value from the precious metal content; however, base metals have also been used in coins in the past ...
, and their value comes from their status as
fiat money Fiat money (from la, fiat, "let it be done") is a type of currency that is not backed by any commodity such as gold or silver. It is typically designated by the issuing government to be legal tender. Throughout history, fiat money was sometime ...
. This means that the value of the coin is established by law, and thus is determined by the
free market In economics Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the b ...
only in as much as national currencies are used in domestic trade and also traded internationally on
foreign exchange market The foreign exchange market (Forex, FX, or currency market) is a global decentralization, decentralized or Over-the-counter (finance), over-the-counter (OTC) Market (economics), market for the trading of currency, currencies. This market d ...
s. Thus, these coins are monetary tokens, just as paper currency is: their value is usually not backed by metal, but rather by some form of government guarantee. Thus, there is very little economic difference between notes and coins of equivalent face value. Coins may be in circulation with face values lower than the value of their component metals, but they are never initially issued with such value, and the shortfall only arises over time due to , as market values for the metal overtake the face value of the coin. Examples are the pre-1965 US dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar (containing slightly less than a tenth, quarter, half, and full ounce of silver, respectively), US nickel, and pre-1982 US penny. As a result of the increase in the value of
copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and electrical conductivity. A fre ...
, the United States greatly reduced the amount of copper in each penny. Since mid-1982, United States pennies are made of 97.5% zinc, with the remaining 2.5% being a coating of copper. Extreme differences between face values and metal values of coins cause coins to be hoarded or removed from circulation by illicit smelters in order to realize the value of their metal content. This is an example of Gresham's law. The
United States Mint The United States Mint is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury responsible for producing currency, coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movemen ...
, in an attempt to avoid this, implemented new interim rules on December 14, 2006, subject to public comment for 30 days, which criminalized the melting and export of pennies and nickels. Violators can be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years.


Collector's items

A coin's value as a collector's item or as an investment generally depends on its condition, specific historical significance, rarity, quality, beauty of the design and general popularity with collectors. If a coin is greatly lacking in all of these, it is unlikely to be worth much. The value of bullion coins is also influenced to some extent by those factors, but is largely based on the value of their gold, silver, or platinum content. Sometimes non-monetized bullion coins such as the Canadian Maple Leaf and the American Gold Eagle are minted with nominal face values less than the value of the metal in them, but as such coins are never intended for circulation, these face values have no relevance. Collector catalogs often include information about coins to assists collectors with identifying and grading. Additional resources can be found online for collectors These are collector clubs, collection management tools, marketplaces, trading platforms, and forums,


Media of expression

Coins can be used as creative media of expression – from fine art sculpture to the penny machines that can be found in most amusement parks. In the
Code of Federal Regulations In the law of the United States, the ''Code of Federal Regulations'' (''CFR'') is the codification of the general and permanent regulatory law, regulations promulgated by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the ...
(CFR) in the United States there are some regulations specific to nickels and pennies that are informative on this topic. 31 CFR § 82.1 forbids unauthorized persons from exporting, melting, or treating any 5 or 1 cent coins. This has been a particular problem with nickels and dimes (and with some comparable coins in other currencies) because of their relatively low face value and unstable commodity prices. For a while, the copper in US pennies was worth more than one cent, so people would hoard pennies and then melt them down for their metal value. It cost more than face value to manufacture pennies or nickels, so any widespread loss of the coins in circulation could be expensive for the
US Treasury The Department of the Treasury (USDT) is the national treasury and finance department of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the Feder ...
. This was more of a problem when coins were still made of precious metals like silver and gold, so strict laws against alteration make more sense historically. 31 CFR § 82.2(b) goes on to state that: "The prohibition contained in § 82.1 against the treatment of 5-cent coins and one-cent coins shall not apply to the treatment of these coins for educational, amusement, novelty, jewelry, and similar purposes as long as the volumes treated and the nature of the treatment makes it clear that such treatment is not intended as a means by which to profit solely from the value of the metal content of the coins."


Debasement and clipping

Throughout history, monarchs and governments have often created more coinage than their supply of precious metals would allow if the coins were pure metal. By replacing some fraction of a coin's precious metal content with a
base metal A base metal is a common and inexpensive metal, as opposed to a precious metal such as gold or silver. In numismatics, coins often derived their value from the precious metal content; however, base metals have also been used in coins in the past ...
(often
copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and electrical conductivity. A fre ...
or
nickel Nickel is a chemical element with Chemical symbol, symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel is a hard and Ductility, ductile transition metal. Pure nickel is chemically reactive bu ...
), the intrinsic value of each individual coin was reduced (thereby "debasing" the money), allowing the coining authority to produce more coins than would otherwise be possible. Debasement occasionally occurs in order to make the coin physically harder and therefore less likely to be worn down as quickly, but the more usual reason is to profit from the difference between face value and metal value. Debasement of money almost always leads to price . Sometimes
price control Price controls are restrictions set in place and enforced by governments, on the prices that can be charged for goods and services in a market. The intent behind implementing such controls can stem from the desire to maintain affordability of good ...
s are at the same time also instituted by the governing authority, but historically these have generally proved unworkable. The United States is unusual in that it has only slightly modified its coinage system (except for the images and symbols on the coins, which have changed a number of times) to accommodate two centuries of inflation. The one-cent coin has changed little since 1856 (though its composition was changed in 1982 to remove virtually all copper from the coin) and still remains in circulation, despite a greatly reduced purchasing power. On the other end of the spectrum, the largest coin in common circulation is valued at 25 cents, a very low value for the largest denomination coin compared to many other countries. Increases in the prices of copper, nickel, and zinc meant that both the US one- and five-cent coins became worth more for their raw metal content than their face (fiat) value. In particular, copper one-cent pieces (those dated prior to 1982 and some 1982-dated coins) contained about two cents' worth of copper. Some denominations of circulating coins that were formerly minted in the United States are no longer made. These include coins with a face value of a half cent, two cents, three cents, and twenty cents. (The half dollar and dollar coins are still produced, but mostly for vending machines and collectors.) In the past, the US also coined the following denominations for circulation in gold: One dollar, $2.50, three dollars, five dollars, ten dollars, and twenty dollars. In addition, cents were originally slightly larger than the modern quarter and weighed nearly half an ounce, while five-cent coins (known then as "half dimes") were smaller than a dime and made of a silver alloy. Dollar coins were also much larger, and weighed approximately an ounce. One-dollar gold coins are no longer produced and rarely used. The US also issues bullion and commemorative coins with the following denominations: 50¢, $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, and $100. Circulating coins commonly suffered from "shaving" or "clipping": the public would cut off small amounts of precious metal from their edges to sell it and then pass on the mutilated coins at full value. Unmilled British
sterling silver Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver Silver standards, standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925. ''Fineness, Fine silver'', whic ...
coins were sometimes reduced to almost half their minted weight. This form of debasement in Tudor England was commented on by Sir
Thomas Gresham Sir Thomas Gresham the Elder (; c. 151921 November 1579), was an English people, English merchant and financier who acted on behalf of Edward VI of England, King Edward VI (1547–1553) and Edward's half-sisters, queen regnant, queens Mary I o ...
, whose name was later attached to Gresham's law. The monarch would have to periodically recall circulating coins, paying only the bullion value of the silver, and reminting them. This, also known as recoinage, is a long and difficult process that was done only occasionally. Many coins have milled or reeded edges, originally designed to make it easier to detect clipping.


Other uses

Some convicted criminals from the British Isles who were sentenced to transportation to Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries used coins to leave messages of remembrance to loved ones left behind in Britain. The coins were defaced, smoothed and inscribed, either by stippling or engraving, with sometimes touching words of loss. These coins were called "convict love tokens" or "leaden hearts". Some of these tokens are in the collection of the
National Museum of Australia The National Museum of Australia, in the national capital Canberra, preserves and interprets Australia's social history, exploring the key issues, people and events that have shaped the nation. It was formally established by the ''National Muse ...
.


Modern features

The side of a coin carrying an image of a monarch, other authority (''see List of people on coins''), or a
national emblem A national emblem is an emblem or seal (emblem), seal that is reserved for use by a nation state or multi-national state as a symbol of that nation. Many nations have a seal or emblem in addition to a national flag and a national coat of arms. Ot ...
is called the ''
obverse Obverse and its opposite (semantics), opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coins and some other two-sided objects, including Currency#Paper money, paper money, flag terminology, flags, seal (emblem), seals, medals, drawings, old m ...
'' (colloquially, ''heads''); the other side, carrying various types of information, is called the '' reverse'' (colloquially, ''tails''). The year of minting is usually shown on the obverse, although some Chinese coins, most
Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are collectively the source of ...
coins, the pre-2008 British 20p coin, the post-1999 American quarter, and all Japanese coins are exceptions. The relation of the images on the obverse and reverse of a coin is the coin's orientation. If the image on the obverse of the coin is right side up and turning the coin left or right on its vertical axis reveals that the reverse of the coin is also right side up, then the coin is said to have medallic orientation—typical of the
Euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 out of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU). This group of states is known as the eurozone o ...
and
pound sterling Sterling (abbreviation: stg; Other spelling styles, such as STG and Stg, are also seen. ISO code: GBP) is the currency of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United King ...
; if, however, turning the coin left or right shows that the reverse image is upside down, then the coin is said to have coin orientation, characteristic of the
United States dollar The United States dollar (Currency symbol, symbol: Dollar sign, $; ISO 4217, code: USD; also abbreviated US$ or U.S. Dollar, to distinguish it from Dollar, other dollar-denominated currencies; referred to as the dollar, U.S. dollar, American ...
coin. Bimetallic coins are sometimes used for higher values and for commemorative purposes. In the 1990s, France used a tri-metallic coin. Common circulating bimetallic examples include the €1, €2, British £1, £2 and Canadian $2 and several peso coins in Mexico. The ''exergue'' is the space on a coin beneath the main design, often used to show the coin's date, although it is sometimes left blank or contains a
mint mark A mint mark is a letter, symbol or an inscription on a coin indicating the mint (coin), mint where the coin was produced. It should not be confused with a mintmaster mark which is the mark of the mintmaster. History Mint marks were first developed ...
,
privy mark A privy mark was originally a small mark or differentiation in the design of a coin for the purpose of identifying the mint (coin), mint, moneyer, some other aspect of the coin's origin, or to prevent Coin counterfeiting, counterfeiting. One of t ...
, or some other decorative or informative design feature. Many coins do not have an exergue at all, especially those with few or no legends, such as the Victorian bun penny. Not all coins are round; they come in a variety of shapes. The Australian 50-cent coin, for example, has twelve flat sides. Some coins have wavy edges, e.g. the $2 and 20-cent coins of
Hong Kong Hong Kong ( (US) or (UK); , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (abbr. Hong Kong SAR or HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special ...
and the 10-cent coins of Bahamas. Some are square-shaped, such as the 15-cent coin of the Bahamas and the 50-cent coin from Aruba. During the 1970s, Swazi coins were minted in several shapes, including squares, polygons, and wavy edged circles with 8 and 12 waves. File:Israelwave.jpg, Scalloped coin of Israel File:Belizeonecentwave.jpg, 1996 one cent coin from Belize File:Phil2pisodecrev.jpg, Decagonal two Piso Philippine coin 1990 Some other coins, like the British 20 and 50 pence coins and the Canadian
Loonie The loonie (french: huard), formally the Canadian one-dollar coin, is a gold-coloured Coins of the Canadian dollar, Canadian coin that was introduced in 1987 and is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint at its facility in Winnipeg. The most prev ...
, have an odd number of sides, with the edges rounded off. This way the coin has a constant diameter, recognizable by
vending machine A vending machine is an automated machine that provides items such as snacks, beverages, cigarettes, and lottery tickets to consumers after cash, a credit card, or other forms of payment are inserted into the machine or otherwise made. The fir ...
s whichever direction it is inserted. A triangular coin with a face value of £5 (produced to commemorate the 2007/2008
Tutankhamun Tutankhamun (, egy, wikt:twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn, twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn), Egyptological pronunciation Tutankhamen () (), sometimes referred to as King Tut, was an ancient Egypt, Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family to rule during the end ...
exhibition at
The O2 Arena The O2 Arena, commonly known as the O2 (stylised as The O2 arena), is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the centre of the O2 entertainment complex on the Greenwich Peninsula in southeast London. It opened in its present form in 2007. It has the s ...
) was commissioned by the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in Europe ...
: it became legal tender on 6 December 2007. Other triangular coins issued earlier include: Cabinda coin,
Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the King" , song_type = National song , song = "Hail to Bermuda" , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , mapsize2 = , map_caption2 = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = , es ...
coin, 2 Dollar
Cook Islands ) , image_map = Cook Islands on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , capital = Avarua , coordinates = , largest_city = Avarua , official_languages = , langu ...
1992 triangular coin,
Uganda }), is a landlocked country in East Africa. The country is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The souther ...
Millennium Coin and Polish Sterling-Silver 10-Zloty Coin. Some medieval coins, called
bracteate A bracteate (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) arou ...
s, were so thin they were struck on only one side. Many coins over the years have been manufactured with integrated holes such as Chinese "cash" coins, Japanese coins, Colonial French coins, etc. This may have been done to permit their being strung on cords, to facilitate storage and being carried. Nowadays, holes help to differentiate coins of similar size and metal, such as the Japanese 50 yen and 100 yen coin. File:Frenchholeobv.jpg, 1917 French coin with integrated hole File:Chong Ning Tongbao 1.JPG, Chinese cash coin, 1102–1106 File:عملة فلسطينية معدنية.jpg, 1941 Palestine coin File:50 Yen Rückseite.jpg, Modern-day Japanese 50-yen coin File:1924 East African 1 cent coin reverse.jpg, 1924 East African coin The
Royal Canadian Mint }) is the Mint (facility), mint of Canada and a Crown corporations of Canada, Crown corporation, operating under the ''Royal Canadian Mint Act''. The shares of the Mint are held in trust for Monarchy of Canada, the Crown in right of Canada. The ...
is now able to produce holographic-effect gold and silver coinage. However, this procedure is not limited to only bullion or commemorative coinage. The
500 yen coin The is the largest denomination of Japanese yen coin issued for circulation. These coins were first struck in 1982 as the vending machine industry needed a higher valued coin for use in their machines. The denomination had previously been iss ...
from Japan was subject to a massive amount of
counterfeit To counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value tha ...
ing. The Japanese government in response produced a circulatory coin with a holographic image. The Royal Canadian Mint has also released several coins that are colored, the first of which was in commemoration of Remembrance Day. The subject was a colored poppy on the reverse of a 25-cent piece minted through a patented process. An example of non-metallic composite coins (sometimes incorrectly called plastic coins) was introduced into circulation in
Transnistria Transnistria, officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), is an List of states with limited recognition, unrecognised breakaway state that is internationally recognised as a part of Moldova. Transnistria controls most of the narro ...
on 22 August 2014. Most of these coins are also non-circular, with different shapes corresponding to different coin values. For a list of many pure metallic elements and their alloys which have been used in actual circulation coins and for trial experiments, see
coinage metals The coinage metals comprise, at a minimum, those metallic chemical elements which have historically been used as components in alloys used to mint coins. The term is not perfectly defined, however, since a number of metals have been used to mak ...
.


Physics and chemistry


Flipping

To flip a coin to see whether it lands ''heads'' or ''tails'' is to use it as a two-sided
dice Dice (singular die or dice) are small, throwable objects with marked sides that can rest in multiple positions. They are used for generating Statistical randomness, random values, commonly as part of tabletop games, including List of dice game ...
in what is known in mathematics as a
Bernoulli trial In the theory of probability and statistics, a Bernoulli trial (or binomial trial) is a random Experiment (probability theory), experiment with exactly two possible Outcome (probability), outcomes, "success" and "failure", in which the probabilit ...
: if the probability of heads (in the parlance of Bernoulli trials, a "success") is exactly 0.5, the coin is fair.


Spinning

Coins can also be spun on a flat surface such as a table. This results in the following phenomenon: as the coin falls over and rolls on its edge, it spins faster and faster (formally, the
precession Precession is a change in the orientation (geometry), orientation of the rotational axis of a rotation, rotating body. In an appropriate frame of reference, reference frame it can be defined as a change in the first Euler angles, Euler angle, ...
rate of the symmetry axis of the coin, i.e., the axis passing from one face of the coin to the other) before coming to an abrupt stop. This is mathematically modeled as a finite-time singularity – the precession rate is accelerating to infinity, before it suddenly stops, and has been studied using
high speed photography High-speed photography is the science of taking pictures of very fast phenomena. In 1948, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) defined high-speed photography as any set of photographs captured by a camera capable of 69 ...
and devices such as
Euler's Disk Euler's Disk, invented between 1987 and 1990 by Joseph Bendik, is a trademark for a scientific educational toy. It is used to illustrate and study the dynamic system of a spinning and rolling disk on a flat or curved surface. It has been the subje ...
. The slowing down is predominantly caused by rolling friction (air resistance is minor), and the singularity (divergence of the precession rate) can be modeled as a
power law In statistics Statistics (from German language, German: ''wikt:Statistik#German, Statistik'', "description of a State (polity), state, a country") is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, a ...
with exponent approximately −1/3.


Odor

Iron and copper coins have a characteristic metallic smell that is produced upon contact with oils in the skin. Perspiration is chemically reduced upon contact with these metals, which causes the skin oils to decompose, forming with iron the volatile molecule 1-octen-3-one.A 'metallic' smell is just body odour


Regional examples


Philippines

In the Philippines, small, engraved gold coins called Piloncitos were excavated, some as lightweight as 0.09 to 2.65 grams. Piloncitos have been unearthed from
Mandaluyong Mandaluyong, officially the City of Mandaluyong ( fil, Lungsod ng Mandaluyong), is a first class Cities of the Philippines#Legal classification, highly urbanized city in the Metro Manila, National Capital Region of the Philippines. According to ...
,
Bataan Bataan (), officially the Province of Bataan ( fil, Lalawigan ng Bataan ), is a Provinces of the Philippines, province in the Central Luzon Regions of the Philippines, region of the Philippines. Its capital is the city of Balanga, Bataan, Balang ...
, the banks of the
Pasig River The Pasig River ( fil, Ilog Pasig) is a water body in the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ...
,
Batangas Batangas, officially the Province of Batangas ( tl, Lalawigan ng Batangas ), is a Provinces of the Philippines, province in the Philippines located in the Calabarzon Regions of the Philippines, region on Luzon. Its capital is the city of Batan ...
,
Marinduque Marinduque (; ), officially the Province of Marinduque, is an island Provinces of the Philippines, province in the Philippines located in Southwestern Tagalog Region or Mimaropa, formerly designated as Region IV-B. Its capital is the municipalit ...
,
Samar Samar ( ) is the third-largest and seventh-most populous island in the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan ...
,
Leyte Leyte ( ) is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerr ...
and some areas in
Mindanao Mindanao ( ) (Jawi Alphabet, Jawi: مينداناو) is the List of islands of the Philippines, second-largest island in the Philippines, after Luzon, and List of islands by population, seventh-most populous island in the world. Located in the ...
. Large quantities were found in
Indonesia Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of Indonesia, 17,000 islands, including Sumatr ...
n archaeological sites, suggesting that they may not have originated in the Philippines, but rather were imported. However, numerous
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
accounts state that the gold coins were mined and labored in the Philippines, such as the following from 1586:


See also

*
Bi-metallic coin Bi-metallic coins are coins consisting of two (''bi-'') metals or alloys, generally arranged with an outer ring around a contrasting center. Common circulating examples include the 1 euro coin, €1, 2 euro coin, €2, United Kingdom One pound (B ...
* Coin base weight *
Coin collecting Coin collecting is the collecting The hobby of collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining items that are of interest to an individual ''collector''. Collections differ i ...
* Coin counter *
Coin counterfeiting Coin counterfeiting of valuable antique coins is common; modern high-value coins are also counterfeited and circulated.Coin magic Coin magic is the manipulating of coins to entertain audiences. Money Magic, pp. 175-221. Because coins are small, most coin tricks are considered close-up magic or table magic, as the audience must be close to the performer to see the effects. Th ...
* Coin sorter * Coin standard *
Currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, Wikt:currens, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" is a standardization of money in any form, in use or currency in circulation, circulation as a medium of exchange, for example ba ...
*
Hanukkah gelt Hanukkah gelt ( yi, חנוכה געלט '; he, דמי חנוכה ', both meaning literally "Hanukkah money"), also known as gelt (), refers to money given as presents during the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish peop ...
Chocolate coin *
History of coins The history of coins stretches back to the first millennium BC/BCE. Notable examples of coins include the Lydian Lion coins, Persian daric and siglos, Tong Bei, the dirham and gold dinar. Coins are the major archaeological source of history. ...
*
Legal tender Legal tender is a form of money that Standard of deferred payment, courts of law are required to recognize as satisfactory payment for any monetary debt. Each jurisdiction determines what is legal tender, but essentially it is anything which wh ...
* List of currencies * List of circulating currencies * List of mints * List of most expensive coins *
Mint MiNT is Now TOS (MiNT) is a free software alternative operating system Kernel (operating system), kernel for the Atari ST system and its successors. It is a multi-tasking alternative to Atari TOS, TOS and MagiC. Together with the free system co ...
*
Money Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The primary functions which distinguish money are as ...
*
Seigniorage Seigniorage , also spelled seignorage or seigneurage (from the Old French ''seigneuriage'', "right of the lord (''seigneur'') to mint money"), is the difference between the value of money and the cost to produce and distribute it. The term can be ...
*
Token coin In numismatics, token coins or trade tokens are coin-like objects used instead of coins. The field of token coins is part of exonumia and token coins are token money. Their denomination is shown or implied by size, color or shape. They are oft ...
* Ten-cent coin


Notes and references


Works cited

*


Bibliography

* *


External links

* {{Authority control Currency