Gold Coins and its History


Gold is found in a pure state on the surface of the Earth, mainly in the sands of rivers, known and used since the beginning of history. The great civilizations of antiquity, Egyptians, Assyrians, Etruscans, etc. they left us treasures of ornaments and jewels of gold. But it is probably in the area of Anatolia, which was formerly the kingdom of Lydia, in the region that stretches along the shore of the Aegean Sea, on the coast of present-day Turkey, criss-crossed by rivers whose names are remembered, the Meander and the Pactolo, the latter become the symbol of wealth, when he made his appearance the “monetary phenomenon”.


Herodotus wrote about 430 BC, about the Lidios”as the first people to mint gold and silver coins.” We therefore have reason to designate Lidia as the place where the coin was born, a fact on which archaeologists worked in the 20th century, on the site of the ancient Sardis , capital of the Kingdom, where they found small round ingots of a metal called “ electrum” or “electro”. It is not pure gold, but a natural alloy between gold and silver. It was found in abundance in the mountains of Lidia and above all in the alluvial deposits of Pactolo, which retained a reputation for wealth, which its present state no longer justifies.


Front of the coin of Crésus


Historians agree to fix the appearance of the coin around 650 BC, under the command of the King of Lydia, Ardys (652-615). Metal plates with deep marks were found at the time, which could be made from an object, such as the punch.

On the other side, stretch marks were perceived, little scratches similar to scratches. It is likely that some drops of Fusion electrum were glued to an anvil whose surface was rough.

A punch was then placed on the metal, whose extremity bore a drawing, which was struck with the help of a hammer, which printed the drawing on one side, and the striations of the anvil on the other.

The design, very basic, was sometimes the mark of a broken nail. Gold and Silver had been used for trade for centuries, but every nugget or ingot had to be controlled and weighed every time they changed hands. The punches with which the sellers marked them served to make them recognize those they had previously controlled or accepted.


Reverse of the coin of Crésus


Under the reign of Alyattes (610-561), a new form of Lydia currency appeared. The surface of the anvil was replaced by a hollow background with an engraved design. With the help of the hammer and the punch, the metal sank into the lower matrix, so that the design appeared in relief (which was the head of a lion). The punch itself left a very deep mark on the reverse side of the coin.

It was a hollow print of a square or rectangular shape, divided most of the time into four compartments, each presenting a motif whose relief formed an element of fixation.

The pieces of metal before minting corresponded to a standard weight.

The larger coins weighed approx. 10.90 grs; there were also fractions of these gold coins, weight and value. The third of a coin only showed the lion’s head, and the smaller divisions showed only one leg.

The lion was then the symbol of the royal authority, serving to guarantee the weight of the gold coins, which avoided resorting to the tedious practice of controlling the pieces whenever they changed hands in a commercial transaction. However, in the electrum, the proportions of silver and gold were not fixed; the intrinsic value of each currency could vary considerably. The currency of electrum could not be easily accepted apart from the same region where it was manufactured. For this reason it was quickly abandoned in favor of pure gold.

The first issuance of pure gold coins, on a large scale, took place under the reign of Lydia: Cresus (561-546), its name is also a symbol of opulence. So great was the wealth of the King of Lydia, that he could make an offering to Apollo at Delphi, that offering was of a great number of ingots and ornaments whose weight in gold was estimated at 4 tons. The coins of Crésus, minted in Sardis, contained about 98% in gold, that is, they were quite close to purity.

They had on their front the royal symbol: a lion’s head and a bull’s head facing each other. On the back, as in previous emissions, it carried only the hollow design made by the punch. Crésus also ordered coins to be minted in silver.

Ten silver coins equaled one gold.

Lidia’s wealth, not save Crésus at all. In 546 the army Lydian yield to the Persians of Cyrus. Then the issues of the lidia currency were interrupted.

Gold coins today are seen as a “Safe Investment” and they are minted by many different countries such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Austria and the very expensive Gold Krugerrand from South Africa. Australia mints Coins too

The main gold bullion coins Minted and traded World wide are:


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