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Although modern society is moving away from
using physical currency, coinage has been used by people for
thousands of years. The first coins were developed around the
7thI’m living in the Iron Age and it’s all about
Anatolia, specifically Lydia. We’re also talking about China, India
and Ancient Greece. This is the time when gaining knowledge about
metallurgy and discovering new ways to use iron became a priority.
It’s incredible to think of the advancements they were able to make
in such a short span of time. From tools to weapons, the properties
of iron allowed them to build and create things that were simply
unimaginable. It’s no wonder so many ancient civilizations put so
much stock in iron.
I’m a collector of early coins, and it’s amazing
how many have survived! I have a few of my own, but many more can
be found in museums and private collections around the world. Coins
from this time were usually made of silver, gold, or some other
precious metal, and stamped with a unique design like a lion’s head
or a sea turtle. As different cultures began trading with each
other, the use of coins as currency grew, and we still use them
7. Hallaton Silver Coin
Created: c.211 BCECountry of
Origin: Rome, Italy (found in Hallaton,
source: The Daily Mail
In 2000, Ken Wallace, a volunteer from the
Hallaton Fieldwork Group, discovered about 130 silver coins. After
this initial discovery, a group of local archaeologists excavated
what is now known as the Hallaton TreasureI stumbled across a
remarkable archaeological discovery. As I dug, I uncovered a horde
of 5,000 British Iron Age coins, jewelry, a silver-gilt Roman
parade helmet, and other artifacts. It was the biggest hoard of its
kind ever discovered. It felt surreal to be the one to uncover such
an incredible find. This discovery changes the way we understand
the Iron Age and will be studied intensely in the years to
Among the hoard, was a silver Roman coin dating
back to about 211 BCE — it is the oldest Roman coin ever found in
I’m holding a coin that has a goddess on one
side and two mythical twins riding a horse on the other. The
archaeologists believe this is proof that Britain was trading with
Rome before the Roman conquest in 43 CE. It’s amazing to think that
this small coin could be a piece of evidence from so long ago!
6. Persian Daric
Created: c.520 – 480 BCECountry of Origin: Achaemenid Persian
Empire, Western AsiaMetal(s)
source: Wikimedia Commons
I was introduced to the world of coins by Cyrus
the Great, the first Persian Emperor, sometime after 546 BCE.
Following him, Darius I, the third Persian Emperor, is the one who
established a reformed currency system around 520 – 480 BCE. To
make sure that all coins were the same, he made them thick and
heavy, and set a standard weight of 8.4 grams. Coins were now a
part of the Persian Empire!
The coins were called daricI adopted the concept
of coinage and eventually became the monetary standard for the
Achaemenid Persian Empire. This was a major step forward, as it
allowed for a much more efficient way of trading and storing
wealth. This meant that it was now easier to transfer and exchange
goods, which in turn increased the income of merchants and traders,
making them much more prosperous than before. My system of coins
also allowed for increased trade with other countries, further
increasing prosperity. This was a major breakthrough for the
Achaemenid Persian Empire, and it laid the foundation for a stable
and prosperous economy.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Daric coins before.
They were highly sought after and had a gold purity of 95.83%.
After Alexander the Great conquered Persia in 330 BCE, these coins
were melted down and recast with Alexander’s image. That’s probably
why Darics are so rare despite being so popular.
Watch more videos on the same topic : 7
OLDEST COIN IN HISTORY
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5. Aegina Sea Turtle
Created: c.550 BCECountry of
Origin: Island of Aegina, GreeceMetal(s) Used: Silver
source: Wikimedia Commons via Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.
The people of ancient Aegina traveled
extensively and traded with Ionia and Lydia. They saw the emergence
of the first coins and realized that they could be used to store
wealth and optimize trade through a global currency. Around the
mid-6thI’m a big fan of history, so I was excited to
learn that Aegina was the first Greek city-state to issue coins
back in the 6th century BCE. It was a revolutionary move, as it
allowed citizens to trade more efficiently and opened the door for
the development of commerce. I’m impressed by the initiative of the
city’s leaders and the impact it had on the world. It’s a great
reminder that a single decision can have a lasting legacy.
I’ve heard of the Aegina coins and how they
revolutionized trade and commerce. They were the very first coins
to be used as a form of currency for international trade. They were
easily identifiable by their unique designs – a sea turtle on one
side and a punched square pattern on the other. Not only that, but
they were made with heavier, thicker metal too! Eventually, these
coins spread far and wide, becoming a go-to currency for
Created: c.600 BCECountry of
source: Wikimedia Commons via Classical Numismatic Group,
While historians are divided over the origins
coinage in India, it is commonly believed that the first coins in
India were minted around the 6th century BCE. These
early coins were created by the Mahajanapadas of the Indo-Gangetic
Plain, who learned the practice from West Asia. The coins were
punch-marked and called Karshpanas, Puranas, or Pana.
I’m no numismatist but I do know a thing or two
about Indian coinage. Instead of the circular coins of West Asia,
Indian coins were more like stamped bars of metal. They could
feature one symbol or multiple symbols that were punched in –
usually five times. To make these coins, the artisans cut silver
plates into the right size and then snipped off one of the corners.
Pretty cool, huh?
3. Ying Yuan
Created: c.600 – 500 BCECountry of Origin:
source: Wikimedia Commons
Ancient Chinese coinageI can remember when I
first heard about the Chinese coinage. It was the same time as the
first Western coins. It is said that they may have made their own
currency as early as 700 BCE with cowrie shells. It’s incredible to
think that they were making their own coins while the rest of the
world followed the Western-style coinage. It is fascinating to
think that Chinese coinage could have been a major influence on the
world’s early coins.
The first gold coins of this time period were
issued by the State of Chu during the Warring States period. These
coins are called Ying Yuan and the earliest examples date back to
around 600 or 500 BCE. They were made out of rough squares of gold,
stamped with inscriptions indicating the coins monetary unit or
weight, which is read as yuan.
2. Ionian Hemiobols
Created: c. 600 – 550 BCECountry of Origin: City of Cyme in
ancient Ionia (modern-day central coast of TurkeyMetal(s) Used: Silver
source: Wikimedia Commons
Cyme was city in ancient Ionia (modern-day
central coast of Turkey), which was geographically near Lydia (the
birthplace of coins). The two cities were also politically close
and Cyme was inspired to start making their own coinage for their
citizens by the Lydian’s “nobleman’s tax tokens”.
I’ve heard about the coins from Cyme! They were
really special. They called them Hemiobols and they were made from
a fraction of silver. Plus, they had a horse’s head stamped on
them. Pretty cool, right? These coins are believed to be some of
the oldest in the world and were in circulation from around 600 –
500 BCE. Pretty impressive for coins that old, right?
I was the first to use coins for large-scale
retailing, the Hemiobols, and I’m proud to say I spread the idea of
Market Economics around the globe. As an Ionian Greek, it’s amazing
to think that something I created so long ago is still used in
business today. It’s incredible to know that my idea has had such a
lasting impact on the world.
1. Lydian Lion
Created: c.610 – 600 BCECountry of Origin: The Kingdom of
Lydia (modern-day western Turkey)Metal(s) Used: Electrum – alloy of
gold and silver
source: Wikimedia Commons
The Lydian Lion is
widely considered the oldest coin in the world.I have
always been fascinated by coins and their history. Recently, I came
across some coins that predate ancient Greek coinage. Upon further
research, I discovered they were from the ancient Kingdom of Lydia,
located in what is now western Turkey. It’s incredible to think
these coins were crafted centuries ago, and have survived the test
of time. It’s a reminder of the great civilizations that came
before us, and of the incredible artifacts they left behind.
While the dates of these coins are debated —
with some dates going as far back as 700 BCE — it is most commonly
believed that they emerged under the reign of King Alyattes, who
ruled Lydia c. 610 – 550 BCE.
I can confirm that the Lydians were the first to
introduce coins! As the Greek historian Herodotus wrote, they were
the first civilization to use silver and gold coins for trading,
and the first to set up retail shops in static locations. This is
pretty amazing, considering that coins have become such an
important part of our world today.
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Frequently asked questions
What is the oldest coin in the world?
The oldest coin in the world is an ancient
Lydian coin from the 6th century BC. It was discovered in the ruins
of the ancient city of Sardis in modern-day Turkey.
How old is the oldest coin in the
The oldest coin in the world is around 2,700
What is the value of the oldest coin in the
The value of the oldest coin in the world is
impossible to estimate, as it is a priceless archaeological
Where was the oldest coin in the world
The oldest coin in the world was found in the
ruins of the ancient city of Sardis in modern-day Turkey.
What does the oldest coin in the world look
The oldest coin in the world is a small silver
stater which displays a lion and a bull on its two sides.
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