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The history of coins

History of coins

Do you know what holds the world together?

Trust and connection.

Do you know what made this possible?

The answer might surprise you: it's metals, especially silver and gold.

Yes, until the 5th century BCE, world trade was limited by the barter system. Trust was the biggest factor holding back further progress of global trade. When the clinking of metal was first heard, it sparked a revolution that continues even today. Gold and silver made standard coins possible and an easy way to gain trust and make trade smooth.

Around 6th/5th century BCE, coins emerged mysteriously. Legends abound, from Lydians to Demodike of Kyrme, but it was the Greek island of Aegina that sparkled with potential.

Coins began as electrum, silver, and gold tokens of trade. Coins soon became emissaries of commerce, traded across seas. The coins won't decay and gave reasons for people to trust even a faraway human.

Aegina, Samos, and Miletus ventured to Egypt through the bustling Greek trading post of Naucratis. When Lydia fell to the Persians in 546 BCE, coins journeyed to Persia, marking a pivotal moment in their history. Phoenicians and Romans joined the coinage revolution. In 326 BCE, Rome began minting coins, creating an empire of trade and currency.

Coins embarked on an Eastern voyage, carried by the Achaemenid Empire and Alexander the Great's conquests. Indo-Greek kingdoms crafted bilingual coins in the 2nd century BCE. In the 4th century CE, Samudragupta's coins blended conquest and culture, showcasing the artistry that coins could convey. In ancient China, gold coins shone during the Qin dynasty (221-207 BCE). The Han dynasty introduced silver coins and "deerskin notes," precursors to modern paper currency.

The journey of coins, from mysterious origins to global influence, is a testament to human ingenuity and the pursuit of simplicity. Cherish the story within your pocket. It helped build the world we have today.


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