When were the First Coins Made?

A coin is a piece of metal of a given weight and alloy with the mark or stamp of those who issued it. The first coins were made in the seventh century B.C by the Lydians. They were a wealthy and powerful people living in Asia Minor.

These primitive coins were made of  “electrum”, which is a natural composition of 75 per cent gold, and 25 per cent and 25 percent silver. They were about the size and shape of bean and were known as “staters” or “standard”.

The Greeks saw these coins and appreciated the usefulness of a standard metal money, so they began to make coins, too. About 100 years later, many cities on the mainland of Greece and Asia Minor, on the islands of the Aegean Sea and Sicily, and in southern Italy had coinages of their own.

Gold coins were the most valuable. Next came silver and finally copper. Greek coinage lasted for about 500 years. The Romans adopted the idea and carried it on for about another 500 years. Then The art of coinage declined.

From the year 500 to about 1400, coins were thin and unattractive. But in the Fifteenth century, the art of coinage was revived. Metal became more plentiful. Skilled artists were employed to engrave the dies.

The first British coins were struck before the arrival of the Romans. By the Norman conquest, there were 70 mints operating in this country, but, by 1850, the Royal Mint was a monopoly and an established part of the Civil Service.

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