Silver coins description
Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass-produced form of coinage. Silver has been used as a coinage metal since the times of the Greeks; their silver drachmaswere popular trade coins. The ancient Persians used silver coins between 612-330 BC. Before 1797, British pennies were made of silver.
As with all collectible coins, many factors determine the value of a silver coin, such as its rarity, demand, condition and the number originally minted. Ancient silver coins coveted by collectors include the Denarius and Miliarense, while more recent collectible silver coins include the Morgan Dollar and the Spanish Milled Dollar.
Other than collector’s silver coins, silver bullion coins are popular among people who desire a “hedge” against currency inflation or store of value. Silver has an international currency symbol of XAG under ISO 4217.
The earliest coins in the world were minted in the kingdom of Lydia in Asia Minor around 600 BC. The coins of Lydia were made of electrum, which is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, that was available within the territory of Lydia. The concept of coinage, i.e. stamped lumps of metal of a specified weight, quickly spread to adjacent regions, such as Aegina. In these neighbouring regions, inhabited by Greeks, coins were mostly made of silver. As Greek merchants traded with Greek communities (colonies) throughout the Mediterranean Sea, the Greek coinage concept soon spread through trade to the entire Mediterranean region. These early Greek silver coins were denominated in staters or drachmas and its fractions (obols).
More or less simultaneously with the development of the Lydian and Greek coinages, a coinage system was developed independently in China. The Chinese coins, however, were a different concept and they were made of bronze.
In the Mediterranean region, the silver and other precious metal coins were later supplemented with local bronze coinages, that served as small change, useful for transactions where small sums were involved.
The coins of the Greeks were issued by a great number of city states, and each coin carried an indication of its place of origin. The coinage systems were not entirely the same from one place to another. However, the so-called Attic standard, Corinthian standard, Aiginetic standard and other standards defined the proper weight of each coin. Each of these standards were used in multiple places throughout the Mediterranean region.
In the 4th century BC, the Kingdom of Macedonia came to dominate the Greek world. The most powerful of their kings, Alexander the Great eventually launched an attack on the Kingdom of Persia, defeating and conquering it. Alexander’s Empire fell apart after his death in 323 BC, and the eastern mediterranean region and western Asia (previously Persian territory) were divided into a small number of kingdoms, replacing the city state as the principal unit of Greek government. Greek coins were now issued by kings, and only to a lesser extent by cities. Greek rulers were now minting coins as far away as Egypt and central Asia. The tetradrachm (four drachms) was a popular coin throughout the region. This era is referred to as the hellenistic era.
While much of the Greek world was being transformed into monarchies, the Romans were expanding their control throughout the Italian Peninsula. The Romans minted their first coins during the early 3rd century BC. The earliest coins were – like other coins in the region – silver drachms with a supplementary bronze coinage. They later reverted to the silver denarius as their principal coin. The denarius remained an important Roman coin until the Roman economy began to crumble. During the 3rd century AD, the antoninianus was minted in quantity. This was originally a “silver” coin with low silver content, but developed through stages of debasement (sometimes silver washed) to pure bronze coins.
Although many regions ruled by Hellenistic monarchs were brought under Roman control, this did not immediately lead to a unitary monetary system throughout the Mediterranean region. Local coinage traditions in the eastern regions prevailed, while the denarius dominated the western regions. The local Greek coinages are known as Greek Imperial coins.
Apart from the Greeks and the Romans, also other peoples in the Mediterranean region issued coins. These include the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Jews, the Celts and various regions in the Iberian Peninsula and the Arab Peninsula. silver coins description
In regions to the East of the Roman Empire, that were formerly controlled by the Hellenistic Seleucids, the Parthians created a kingdom in Persia. The Parthians issued a relatively stable series of silver drachms and tetradrachms. After the Parthians were overthrown by the Sassanians in 226 AD, the new dynasty of Persia began the minting of their distinct thin, spread fabric silver drachms, that became a staple of their empire right up to the Arab conquest in the 7th century AD. silver coins description
Various governments mint, or authorize the minting of, silver bullion coins with a nominal face value in the national currency. The face value is nominal because the value stated on the coin is much less than the value of the silver in the coin. The most common world silver bullion coins, preceded by minimum guaranteed purity, and ordered by their year of introduction:
- 99.90% 1982 Mexican Silver Libertad
- 99.90% 1983 Chinese Silver Panda
- 99.90% 1986 American Silver Eagle
- 99.99% 1988 Canadian Silver Maple Leaf
- 99.90% 1990 Australian Silver Kookaburra (minted by the Perth Mint)
- 99.90% 1993 Australian Silver Kangaroo (minted by the Royal Australian Mint)
- 95.80% 1997 British Silver Britannia (from 1997, proof version only. Public issue from 1998)
- 99.90% 2008 Austrian Silver Vienna Philharmonic
- 99.90% 2009 Russian George the Victorious
Silver rounds silver coins description
Privately minted “silver rounds” or “generic silver rounds” are called “rounds” instead of “coins” because the US Mint and other government mints reserves the use of the word “coin” for Government Issued currency with a face value expressed in the national currency. The privately minted “rounds” usually have a set weight of 1 troy ounce of silver (31.103 grams of 99.9% silver), with the dimensions of 2.54 mm thick and 39 mm across. These carry all sorts of designs, from assayer/mine backed bullion to engravable gifts, automobiles, firearms, armed forces commemorative, and holidays. Unlike silver bullion coins, silver rounds carry no face value and are not considered legal tender. Similarly, both government and private sector mints issue silver bars for investors and collectors without a nominal face value.