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Gold History

Gold has been used as money for many reasons

A gold coin is a coin made mostly or entirely of gold. Gold has been used for coins practically since the invention of coinage, originally because of gold’s intrinsic value. In modern times, most gold coins are intended either to be sold to collectors, or to be used as bullion coins—coins whose nominal value is irrelevant and which serve primarily as a method of investing in gold.

Gold has been used as money for many reasons. It is fungible, meaning that it can be traded easily, with a low spread between the prices to buy and sell. Gold is also easily transportable, as it has a high value to weight ratio, compared to other commodities, such as silver. Gold can be divided into smaller units, without destroying its value; it can also be melted into ingots, and re-coined. The density of gold is higher than most other metals, making it difficult to pass counterfeits. Gold is extremely unreactive. The scarcity of gold stabilizes its value.

History

Egyptian Pharaohs began to commission gold tokens around 2,700 BC These gold tokens, of variable purity, were used primarily as gifts, not for commerce.

Many centuries later, King Croesus, ruler of Lydia (560–546 BC), began issuing the first true gold coins, in about 643 to 630 with a standardised purity, for general circulation. They were quite crude, and were made of electrum, a naturally occurring pale yellow mixture of gold and silver. The composition of these first coins was similar to alluvial deposits found in the silt of the Pactolus river, which ran through the Lydian capital, Sardis. King Croesus’ gold coins follow the first silver coins that had been minted by King Pheidon of Argos around 700 BC. Shortly afterwards, in 546 BC, Croeseus was captured by the Persians, who adopted gold as the main metal for their coins.

The Ying yuan was another gold coin minted during this time by the Chinese in the 6th or 5th century BC. Larger units of monetary value and exchange such as the talent were the ancient equivalents of the modern 400-troy-ounce “good delivery” gold bullion bar.

Gold coins then had a very long period as a primary form of money, only falling into disuse in the early 20th century. Most of the world stopped making gold coins as currency by 1933, as countries switched from the gold standard due to hoarding during the worldwide economic crisis of the Great Depression. In the United States, 1933′s Executive Order 6102 forbade the hoarding of gold and was followed by a devaluation of the dollar relative to gold, although the United States did not completely uncouple the dollar from the value of gold until 1971.

Gold-colored coins have made a comeback in many currencies. However, “gold coin” (in numismatic terminology) always refers to a coin that is (more or less) made of (real) gold, and does not include coins made of manganese brass or other alloys. Furthermore, many countries continue to make legal tender gold coins, but these are primarily meant for collectors and investment purposes and are not meant for circulation.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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