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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about monetary coins. For other uses, see Coin (disambiguation). "Coins" redirects here. For the bibliographic metadata standard, see COinS. Numismatics Currency CoinsBanknotesForgeryListISO Circulating currencies AfricaThe AmericasEuropeAsiaOceania Local currencies Company scripLETSTime dollars Fictional currencies Proposed currencies History Historical currencies GreekRomanChinaIndiaPersianTibetanThaiFilipinoMalay Byzantine Medieval currencies Production MintDesignersCoining MillingHammeringCast Exonumia Credit cardsMedalsTokensCheques Notaphily Banknotes Scripophily StocksBonds Terminology Numismatics portal vte A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal or 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. Coins are usually metal or alloy, or sometimes made of synthetic materials. They are usually disc shaped. Coins made of valuable metal are stored in large quantities as bullion coins. Other coins are used as money in everyday transactions, circulating alongside banknotes. Usually the highest value coin in circulation (i.e. 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. 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 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, or gold (and, rarely, other metals, such as platinum or 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, Maple Leaf, and Sovereign coins have nominal (purely symbolic) face values, the Krugerrand does not. Historically, a great quantity of coinage metals (including alloys) and other materials (e.g. porcelain) 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.[1] Contents 1 History 1.1 Bullion and unmarked metals 1.2 Lydian and Ionian electrum coins (circa 600 BC) 1.3 Croesus: Pure gold and silver coins 1.4 Achaemenid coinage (546–330 BCE) 1.4.1 Coinage of Southern Asia under the Achaemenid Empire 1.5 Indian coins (circa 400 BC–100 CE) 1.6 Greek Archaic coinage (until about 480 BC) 1.7 Classical Greek antiquity (480 BC~) 1.8 Apparition of dynastic portraiture (5th century BC) 1.9 Chinese round coins (350 BC~) 1.10 Hellenistic period (320 BC – 30 AD) 1.11 Roman period (290 BC~) 1.12 Middle Ages 2 Value 2.1 Currency 2.2 Collector's item 2.3 Medium of expression 3 Debasement and clipping 4 Other uses 5 Features of modern coins 6 Physics and chemistry 6.1 Flipping 6.2 Spinning 6.3 Odor 7 Regional examples 7.1 Philippines 8 See also 9 Notes and references 10 Bibliography 11 External links History[edit] Bullion and unmarked metals[edit] An oxhide ingot from Crete. Late Bronze Age metal ingots were given standard shapes, such as the shape of an "ox-hide", suggesting that they represented standardized values. Metal ingots, 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 in the early 6th century BC, coinage was yet unknown, and barter and to some extent silver bullion was used instead for trade.[2] The practice of using silver bars for currency also seems to have been current in Central Asia from the 6th century BC.[3] Coins were an evolution of "currency" systems of the Late Bronze Age, where standard-sized ingots, and tokens such as knife money, were used to store and transfer value. In the late Chinese Bronze Age, standardized cast tokens were made, such as those discovered in a tomb near Anyang.[4][5] These were replicas in bronze of earlier Chinese currency, cowrie shells, so they were named Bronze Shell.[6] Lydian and Ionian electrum coins (circa 600 BC)[edit] Coin of Alyattes of Lydia. Circa 620/10-564/53 BCE. The earliest inscribed coinage: electrum coin of Phanes from Ephesus, 625–600 BC. Obverse: Stag grazing right, ?????? (retrograde). Reverse: Two incuse punches, each with raised intersecting lines.[7] The earliest coins are mostly associated with Iron Age Anatolia of the late 7th century BC, and especially with the kingdom of Lydia.[8] Early electrum coins (a variable mix of gold and silver, typically with a ratio of about 54% gold to 44% silver) were not standardized in weight, and in their earliest stage may have been ritual objects, such as badges or medals, issued by priests.[9] The unpredictability of the composition of naturally occurring electrum implied that it had a variable value, which greatly hampered its development.[10] Most of the early Lydian coins include no writing ("legend" 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), site of the earliest known deposit of electrum coins.[7] Because the oldest lion head "coins" were discovered in that temple, and they do not appear to have been used in commerce, these objects may not have been coins but badges or medals issued by the priests of that temple. Anatolian Artemis was the ?????? ????? (Potnia Thêrôn, "Mistress of Animals"), whose symbol was the stag. 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.[11] The first coins to be used for retailing on a large-scale basis were likely small silver fractions, Hemiobol, Ancient Greek coinage minted by the Ionian Greeks in the late sixth century BC.[12] 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,[13] though due to their numbers it is evident that some were official state issues. The earliest inscribed coins are those of Phanes, dated to 625–600 BC from Ephesus in Ionia, with the legend ?????? ??? ???? (or similar) (“I am the badge of Phanes”), or just bearing the name ?????? (“of Phanes”). The first electrum coins issued by a monarch are those minted by king Alyattes of Lydia (died c. 560 BC), for which reason this king is sometimes mentioned as the originator of coinage.[14] Croesus: Pure gold and silver coins[edit] Croeseids Gold Croeseid, minted by king Croesus circa 561–546 BCE. (10.7 grams, Sardis mint). Silver Croeseid, minted by KING Croesus, circa 560–546 BCE (10.7 grams, Sardis mint) The gold and silver Croeseids formed the world's first bimetallic monetary system circa 550 BCE.[10] The successor of Alyattes, king Croesus (r. c. 560–546 BC), became associated with great wealth in Greek historiography. He is credited with issuing the Croeseid, the first true gold coins with a standardised purity for general circulation.[10] and the world's first bimetallic monetary system circa 550 BCE.[10] Herodotus mentioned the innovation made by the Lydians:[10] So far as we have any knowledge, they [the Lydians] were the first people to introduce the use of gold and silver coins, and the first who sold goods by retail —?Herodotus, I94[10] Coins spread rapidly in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, leading to the development of Ancient Greek coinage and Achaemenid coinage, and further to Illyrian coinage.[15] Standardized Roman currency was used throughout the Roman Empire. Important Roman gold and silver coins were continued into the Middle Ages (see Gold dinar, Solidus, Aureus, Denarius). Ancient and early medieval coins in theory had the value of their metal content, although there have been many instances throughout history of governments inflating their currencies by debasing the metal content of their coinage, so that the inferior coins were worth less in metal than their face value. Fiat money first arose in medieval China, with the jiaozi paper money. Early paper money was introduced in Europe in the later Middle Ages, but some coins continued to have the value of the gold or silver they contained throughout the Early Modern period. The penny was minted as a silver coin until the 17th century.

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