Before crypto, credit cards, and even paper money, coins were the de facto money of many societies. They’ve fascinated civilization for over 2,500 years, with thousands of coin collectors still collecting today. Why are they so desirable? Read on to learn more about the fascinating history of gold and silver coins.
What Are Coins?
Britannica defines a coin as “a piece of metal or, rarely, some other material (such as leather or porcelain) certified by a mark or marks upon it as being of a specific intrinsic or exchange value.” Coins were often made of precious metals such as electrum, gold, silver, copper, brass, and bronze. They were coveted by their owners and were often hoarded and buried for safety. Thanks to precious metals’ durability, along with ancient coin hoards, we have a wealth of ancient coin knowledge today.
The History of Gold and Silver Coins
The history of gold and silver coins begins around 650 BC, with ancient Lydians “coining” the first known coins in modern-day Turkey. As an alternative to bartering, coins were invented to authenticate payment with a universally identifiable, durable money. Some early examples of coins include Lydian Lions, Persian darics, and siglos.
Silver and gold coins are the most common and universally recognized throughout history. Mints around the world today still make millions of gold and silver coins, with the most recognizable being the American Silver Eagle Coin.
Why Are Gold and Silver Coins Valuable?
While money has evolved quite a bit since the ancient Lydians, gold and silver coins remain valuable. So how did gold and silver beat out the other early coin metals, like electrum, as the most valuable? One reason is that both have a relatively low melting point, which makes it easy to turn them into coins or jewelry.
One can melt gold over a flame, making it easy to work with and stamp as a coin. It is dense and has the highest corrosion resistance of all the metals. In fact, according to Science and Engineering, only a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid corrodes gold. The density of gold is 19.30 g cm making it the highest value for its unique aesthetic.
Silver is durable and malleable, too. Historically, it has remained valuable for its beauty, rarity, and durability. Today, silver is desirable because it is 85 times cheaper than gold and offers easy access to the precious metals market.
Are you ready to join the fascinating coin world? Bullion Express is a great place to start with our wide variety of silver and gold coins at competitive prices.