Thursday, January 1, 2015

World’s Oldest Coinage

Coins extends from ancient times to the present, and is related to economic history, the history of minting technologies, the history shown by the images on coins, and the history of coin collecting. Coins are still widely used for monetary and other purposes.All western histories of coins begin with their invention at some time slightly before or after 700 BC. in Aegina Island, or according to others in Ephesus, Lydia, 650 BC. Ancient India in circa 6th century BC, was one of the earliest issuers of coins in the world.


Lions have been considered kings of the jungle, and symbols of kingly authority, from time immemorial. One of the most fascinating coins of all time, a coin that I believe is the first true coin, features one the most fascinating lions ever to appear on a coin.The coin illustrated above is a Lydian third stater, or trite,minted sometime around 600 BC in Lydia, Asia Minor (current-day Turkey), a country in close geographic and cultural proximity to the Greek colonies in Asia Minor.

These coins are pricey (typically costing in the $1,000 to $2,000 range), and though scarce are not especially rare,just in significant demand because of their history, the evocativeness of their design, their metallurgic characteristics, and their mystery. Other coins may vie for the title of the world's first coin, also from Lydia, nearby in Ionia, in the Middle East, and across the world in India and China, though none do so as persuasively.


The Lydian Lion is the one coin I'd personally call "The Coin." It directly preceded ancient Greek coinage, which through Rome begot all Western coinage, and which through the Seleukids, Parthians, and Sassanians begot all Islamic coinage. Indian coinage has largely been a product of Greek, Roman, and Islamic influences.Chinese coinage, though it probably developed independently, was succeeded by Western-style coinage in the late nineteenth century.Other countries in Asia, in Africa, and elsewhere have adopted the Western approach to coinage as well. It's not chauvinistic, and it's only mildly hyperbolic, to suggest that virtually all coinage in use today is the progeny of the Lydian Lion, that it's the Adam of coins.

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